And in his time in the job he had striven to meet the same high standards in his time in the job.
He told the audience: “I congratulate you for even being in the room tonight. In the near-two years I’ve been editor of The Star and Telegraph I’ve seen first-hand the work ethic that the good people of South Yorkshire pride themselves upon, and which you demand of others. That you demand of me as guardian of your newspaper.
“I had a vision when I arrived at The Star: I wanted to provide the city with the very best multi-media news service in regional publishing, bar none.
“My team has taken The Star to become Johnston Press’ biggest regional daily in England, second only to The Scotsman for audience numbers across print, mobile and online - busting the one million unique users in any given month for the first time in January of this year.
“We’ve a phenomenal growth story to tell.”
He highlighted major successes in the region including its devolution deal, backed by a £300m growth deal. Doncaster Sheffield Airport was 10 years old - and with the opening of a £56m link road in January it was set to soar past Leeds-Bradford within five years. If the University of Sheffield’s AMRC2 project came to fruition it could create 2,000 new jobs and pump £60m into the local economy every year, he added.
And Rolls Royce had landed in February with a £110m turbine blade-casting factory - further strengthening the region’s manufacturing credentials.
He added: “I really could go on about all of the amazing things that you achieve day in, day out. But tonight’s not about me. It is about all of you. So if you aren’t lucky enough to take away an award I hope you can take something from what I’ve said up here.
“Have a vision and be brave. Your business will benefit; your people will benefit; the city region will benefit but most importantly of all - you will benefit.”