IT'S been an amazing first year in the job for Clarence River Jockey Club chief executive Michael Beattie.
After a successful July Racing Carnival, the club has taken out two awards at the 2013 Daily Examiner Clarence Valley Business Excellence Awards - including the major prize.
"I have got to say, personally, because it's my first year with the club, I am a little humbled by it," he said.
"I am absolutely rapt with what we have achieved; the whole focus of the organisation this year was to really re-engage Grafton in terms of the July Racing Carnival.
"Firstly we had to put on high-quality racing and we did that, but then we had to make the racing experience more enjoyable for everyone and I believe that's what led us to this award.
"I'm really glad the team behind me have been recognised for what really is an outstanding job.
"And I am not only talking about the permanent staff we have got working there.
"We have in the vicinity of around 300 local people working during the carnival.
"I think the irony of the whole thing is that we were actually talked into nominating ourselves by one of those casual staff members."
The other major award, the people's choice award, was taken out by Farmer Lou's South Grafton.
More than 100 businesses entered the newly created People's Choice Award.
Marketing and promotions manager Erica Fletcher said she was happy with the level of participation by business and the excitement the awards generated in the community.
Awards committee chairwoman Sandy Stewart said she wanted to thank all of the sponsors and supporters of the awards.
Sponsors of the 2013 Awards were The Daily Examiner, Mareeba Aged Care, CHESS Employment, Clarence Valley Council, Yamba District Chamber of Commerce, Maclean Chamber of Commerce, North Coast TAFE, Nortec Employment and Training, 2GF, 104.7 and TLC 100.3FM.
Hospitality, Tourism, Events & Entertainment: Clarence River Jockey Club
Retail - less than five employees: Clarence River Seafoods
Retail - more than five employees: Spar Maclean
Trade, Industry and Manufacturing: Champions Choice Browbands
Professional Services less than five employees: Lower Clarence Funerals
Professional Services more than five employees: Fresh Dental Care
New Business Start Up, First 12 months: Maclean Stays
New Business Start-up, Up to two years: Impulsive Creation Hair Studio
Workplace Safety Award: Clarence River Seafoods
Better Access Award: Little Fish School of Rock
People's Choice Award: Farmer Lou's, South Grafton
Clarence Valley Excellent Business Award: Clarence River Jockey Club