With the nomination deadline passed, it is now up to the Scottish Highlands and Islands Rural Economy (SHIRE) jury to take on the difficult task of deciding who will win the 10 trophies.
Chris Kerr, who leads the team at Harper Macleod law firm in the Highlands, Islands and Moray, will chair the jury for SHIRE 2021, as he did for the first SHIREs in 2019.
But if judging the winners this year is more of a challenge with more participants than two years ago, it is one that he is looking forward to.
He said: “It was with some trepidation that we launched the awards this year, having had to deal with a pandemic since the last edition, but we had no fear that they would be so well received.
“We are delighted to have had more applications than ever before, and looking through the long list there is a fantastic array of businesses and organizations, showing the breadth, diversity and of course the resilience of the economy. modern rural.
“I’m really looking forward to meeting virtually with such an esteemed group of judges to go through each category and dig into the submissions.
“It sounds like a cliché, but as it so often is, it’s because it’s true – it’s always very difficult to pick a winner when you see so many deserving entrants.
“If the last event is going to happen, there will be a lot of back and forth before the judges come to a consensus. You may unwittingly find yourself fighting for a candidate who for some reason – and you can’t always put your finger on it – has an aspect of their business that struck a chord.
“However, I’m sure we’ll make the right decisions at the end and then it will be a matter of keeping it a secret until the big night.”
Yvonne Crook, co-founder of the Highland Tourism community interest group and co-owner of Good Highland Food, also feels privileged to take responsibility for choosing this year’s winners.
“I feel honored to have been invited to join the jury for this year’s SHIREs Awards,” she said.
“The Highlands and modern rural islands are a vibrant part of Scotland with tremendous talent and energy, and the potential to advance the country’s economy through the recovery of Covid and towards a sustainable and sustainable future for the region.
“As a judge for the awards, I will be looking for innovative initiatives from inspiring leaders who have gone the extra mile to help the Highlands and rural Scottish islands thrive, and look forward to meeting everyone involved. at the virtual conference and awards ceremony soon.
The jury also includes Chris Gaffney, Group CFO with Johnstons of Elgin, Captain Calum Grains, CEO of Lerwick Port Authority, and Steve Barron, Publishing Director of Highland News & Media, which is hosting the event in partnership with Harper. Macleod. .
The SHIREs Awards will be held online Thursday, November 18 from 6:30 p.m.
To find out how to participate, visit www.hnmedia.co.uk/the-shires-conference-awards/
The awards ceremony will be preceded by the second SHIREs conference, which will also be held virtually, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. To register and for more information on the speakers and topics under discussion, visit https://events.harpermacleod.co.uk/