Airport Chief Executive scoops top awards at Institute of Directors Scotland Awards

Gordon Dewar, Chief Executive of Edinburgh Airport, was named Director of the Year for businesses with turnover of more than £35 million at the IoD Scotland Awards in Glasgow last night.
Chosen for his motivational leadership, focus on customer service and commitment to enhancing Edinburgh Airport, Gordon took home the top award following a record-breaking year for Scotland’s busiest airport.
In addition to the top award, Gordon was also took home the Edinburgh, Lothians & the Borders Regional Director Award.
With 2014 seeing the airport’s busiest year ever in terms of passenger numbers, new business and investment, Gordon’s leadership, influence and expertise has continued to steer the airport to achieve unprecedented success, with long-haul passenger traffic up almost 90% last year.
Gordon was instrumental in securing a £150 million investment from the airport’s owners and Board to underpin a five-year investment programme. In the last 12 months, he has empowered teams across the airport to deliver ground-breaking, industry-leading investment projects with customer service placed firmly at the centre.
From new X-ray systems in security to new self-service technology to speed up the passenger check-in process, Gordon is heavily involved in developing all aspects of airport operations.
Congratulating Gordon on his achievement, Sir John Elvidge, Chairman of Edinburgh Airport, said: “After celebrating the busiest, most successful year ever for a Scottish airport, to be recognised with not one but two awards is fantastic validation of Gordon’s hard work and dedication.
“Having recently been named Director of the Year at the Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce Business Awards, it’s fantastic he is being recognised for his hard work to improve Scotland’s connectivity with the rest of the world.
“Gordon’s commitment and passion for his role is clear to see. He motivates and inspires teams across the airport to achieve success every day and we’re extremely proud to call him our Chief Executive.”

More information from:
Stuart Young, Communications Officer, Edinburgh Airport
07730 148022 or
About Edinburgh Airport:
Edinburgh Airport is Scotland’s busiest airport. More than 40 airlines serve 100-plus destinations and over 10 million passengers passed through the airport in 2014 – the busiest year ever for a Scottish airport.
July 2014 was the airport’s busiest month ever with over 1.1 million passengers travelling through its terminal.
It is the fifth largest in the UK, in terms of passenger numbers, and employs over 5000 people, contributing hundreds of millions of pounds to Scotland’s economy.
Edinburgh Airport was named best in Britain, and top three in Europe, for passenger satisfaction, at the Airport Service Quality (ASQ) Awards for 2012 and ‘Best European Airport (5-10m passengers)’ at the ACI EUROPE Best Airport Awards for 2012. It has also won Scottish Airport of the Year at the Scottish Transport Awards in 2013 and 2014.

Customer service: the Edinburgh Trams

When I sat down with passenger focus earlier this month to discuss our first ever passenger satisfaction survey I was anxious and excited in equal measure. This survey is a crucial benchmark for Edinburgh Trams and gives us a excellent way of comparing our passenger satisfaction with our peers and competitors. The key headline, we scored 95% means, a great deal for our organisation. For 2014, it puts us fantastically close to the top of transport operators in the UK across tram, rail and bus. I am delighted, but not surprised about this result.

For me, the result is down to one thing; Edinburgh Trams staff. The survey captures all elements of the journey from cleanliness to safe driving and friendliness of staff to management of disruption. Every staff member up and down our organisation has had an input into this result and it is a tribute to them how our passengers have chosen to score the service. It doesn’t surprise me because I know how good the team is and I see it every day. I’d personally like to thank every one of the Edinburgh Trams team for their input.

So what are we doing well? Our passengers have told us:

  • Overall satisfaction is very high at 95% (with 70% very satisfied)
  • We score well on value for money and the safety of the driving
  • Punctuality scores highly
  • Our profile of passenger is quite young (32% in 16-25 age group) and subsequently we have a high use of technology for getting service information
  • Our young passenger profile means 11% of passengers were travelling on a free pass which compares with 28% of bus users

Our mantra from the start has been simple, excellence for Edinburgh. When I sat down with my team and a blank piece of paper over two years ago, we simply had to be different from our competitors; the answer was passenger experience. Now a good tram interior and reliable service are prerequisites. What we set out for was more than that; the passenger interaction our staff have with our customers. That could be a driver waiting those extra 15 seconds for a passenger to buy a ticket or a well informed onboard staff member who can navigate somebody beyond Edinburgh trams. Our ambassadors for Edinburgh training programme took that one step further. We collaborated with businesses and attractions in Edinburgh so our people had first had experience and understanding of the tourist market and the different attractions and services on offer to visitors. This gave us a unique offering and our people continue to deliver superb customer service every day. The investment in training and recognising that our passengers want a staff member on every tram, is key. It has also led to an extremely low rate of fare evasion, which is helpful.

This approach is what sets us apart from our competitors. The quality of the service and the approach of our whole team of TSA’s, drivers, controllers, managers and support staff, have delivered these superb results. But we are not being complacent. As I write, we are testing a different approach to journey times, which we hope will allow us to put in a new timetable before the summer. Our early testing is showing there could be improvements of up to 5 minutes at certain times of day. A full review of the results will be needed before we make any permanent changes.

This is a good first attempt but we won’t stop our focus on improving until we score 100%. We are listening to our customers intently and with a number of positive changes on the horizon during 2015 I’m confident we can achieve even more.

Intern Blog: Week Four

Hi everyone! I can’t believe it is already Week Four of my work placement at the Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce. The time is flying in and every week I am learning something new!

I joined the Chamber at a particularly exciting time as they were in the midst of preparations for the 4th Annual Business Awards. The Awards are the biggest event of the year for the Chamber and are hosted at the Sheraton Grand Hotel and Spa.

In my first week I was given the task of promoting the Awards in the final run up to the event by writing a press release for the website and designing some graphics to advertise the event on social media.


I was then invited along to the monthly Chamber Catch Up event, which was being held at XV Queen Street. This gave me an opportunity to work on my networking skills and meet with some very exciting companies. The venue also provided a unique setting for the event with its fascinating decor, including taxidermy squirrel lamps!

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Last night I also attended the High Flyers Club event where a speaker from Glidden Design talked about social media and branding. The event was held at the MBM Commercial offices on Princes Street with a stunning view of Edinburgh Castle.

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Both of these events have been great experiences and a chance to mix with really interesting people. I look forward to attending more of these events in the future!

Our New Intern


Hi! Thanks for reading! My name is Caitlin and I have just started my internship at the Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce. Currently I am studying a BA (Hons) Event Management degree at Queen Margaret University as one day in the near future I hope to establish a career in the Tourism and Events industry.

I have always been interested in the arts but after a brief ode to a career in music; I discovered that actually the Events world was my true passion. My introduction to events began, when I was offered the opportunity to work at the Usher Hall as part of their educational scheme, Young Promoters. The Young Promoters programme aimed to support young people who had an interest in learning how to promote events in the arts. Over the course of the two years that I worked with the Usher Hall I learned to design, plan and coordinate several successful events featuring music from young, local artists.

Having previously volunteered at the Edinburgh International Film Festival, Edinburgh’s Christmas Light Night and the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo, I have now been given the opportunity to undertake a 10-week work placement, to gain experience and insight into the event management profession. This placement also gives me the opportunity to gain credits for my degree.

The Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce was already of great interest to me as it is an established organisation within the heart of the city centre and when my lecturer Prof. Joe Goldbatt FRSA introducded me to the organisation, I jumped at the chance of working with them.

I am on my third day now and I already feel like part of the team. I have enjoyed the tasks I have faced so far and look forward to what lies ahead!

Follow me on LinkedIn, it would be great to connect with you!

Herald article – Celebrating Success by David Birrell, Chief Executive Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce

As over three hundred guests gathered last week at the Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce Annual Business Awards, you could sense the growing anticipation of those shortlisted as well an overall feeling of pride about the strength and depth of business talent in our Capital City.

The richness and the diversity of businesses and organisations there on the evening could have been repeated across the country where awards included excellence in creative marketing, innovation and international trade.

Whilst a great evening of celebration, we were reminded that even more effort could be invested to inspire and support each other across the ever widening range of businesses we have in Edinburgh. Examples include those with a proven track record trading internationally, coaching and guiding those businesses embarking on new foreign markets. Peer to peer mentoring is already delivering great results and with a growing number of senior managers amongst our membership volunteering to participate, this is expected to grow strongly in 2015.

A valuable source of support is sharing non competitive market insight and data. If information is power then sharing information is the most powerful way to use it. Within the Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce we have already established several Inspiring Groups focussing on the key business enablers. These groups are already providing a catalyst for greater sharing of knowledge, challenging traditional ways of working as well as sparking new ideas encouraging innovative solutions and new routes to market. This same principal applies equally to the whole of Scotland where there are already great examples of working together with the focus on growing the overall sizes of our markets.

On the evening of our Business Awards, we were also reminded of our wider responsibilities as individuals and businesses to support the communities in which we operate. Success and pride can be measured in many different ways and it is equally important to celebrate the contribution a business makes to others as well as their own shareholders. As we witnessed with our Awards entries, greater involvement in the community not only inspires employees but also helps in establishing the values of the business and the brand.

As our evening of celebrations continued, there was every reason to be proud and as the audience left there was an overwhelming feeling that we should not only celebrate more often but to do that bit  more each day to support and encourage each other. With so many opportunities ahead, I am sure that the competition next year will be even tougher and there will be even more reasons to feel a great sense of pride in being part of a great Capital City business community.

David Birrell

Chief Executive Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce

Awards Logo Star

Countdown to our Annual Awards

With only two working days left until the Edinburgh Business Awards 2015 excitement is at fever pitch. This year the #ECCAwards will take place at the Sheraton Grand Hotel and Spa at 7pm Monday 2nd March 2015.

The Awards have once again seen a significant increase in the overall number of entrants. David Birrell, Chief Executive of Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce said, “I would like to congratulate everyone who has taken time to enter. It is great to see so many businesses and individuals from our Capital City with positive stories to tell. We have a huge breadth of experience, talent and resource here in Edinburgh.”

Guest speakers at the glamorous ceremony will be Gavin Oates, owner and MD of Tree of Knowledge (Winner of Young Entrepreneur of the Year award 2012) and David Duke, CEO and Founder of Street Soccer Scotland will also speak on the night. David was named as The Sunday Times ‘Change Maker’ of the Year in 2012 and is an international speaker on social change and enterprise. We cannot wait to hear from them!

The Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce is delighted to be collaborating with a range of prestigious sponsors this year including City of Edinburgh Council, Mearns and Company, The Armed Forces Reserves Scotland, Transport for Edinburgh, Santander, Skanska, The Royal College of Surgeons, Insureness, Central Radio Taxis, Vision Events, Royal Bank of Scotland, and CommsFM.

For further information please email or for information regarding future sponsorship opportunities please email


Big Changes in 2015: Heehaw the Video Production Company

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2015 is bringing about some big changes here at Heehaw. We’ve wound down our digital, web and print work, and we’ve returning to our roots; redeveloping Heehaw from Digital Agency to Video Production Company. It’s been a fantastic decade of building brands, understanding audiences, and creating bespoke communications for our clients, but now we’re taking all of that vital experience and focussing it on our core strength; our video, film and animation production work.

Our video department has had a fantastic 2014, building some new relationships with some fantastic companies, as well as creating brilliant new work for clients we’ve worked with for years. 2015 got off to an excellent start with a film trip to Hong Kong and we’re in the middle of producing exciting video projects for Standard Life, SSE, Destination Stirling, ICAS and the City of Edinburgh Council. We’re also working on a documentary about the legendary night club The Hacienda!

We’ve got a shiny new production office in Great King Street lined up and we can’t wait to get our gear in there and the big screen on the wall!

If you already work with us the likelihood is you’ll already know how excited we are about this move because we won’t have been able to shut up about it, but if you aren’t one of our clients, and you want to know more, just give us a shout and we’ll fill you in.  Please do check out our new showreel:


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