The winners of FWD’s Gold Medals took the applause of the entire wholesale sector as they received their awards in London last night. The seven individual winners, whose jobs range from delivery driver to depot manager, were chosen by the judges for their skill, commitment and enthusiasm over the last year, and their contribution to the success of their employers and their customers.
Gold Medal Customer Support winner Rob Owen, Executive Development Chef at Creed Foodservice, has revamped customers’ menus, organised product development days, and presents new cooking techniques to chefs. He really gets under the skin of his customers’ businesses. One said: “The innovations he brings have been truly amazing, and his enthusiasm is contagious.”
The Depot Team Member award went to Gita Patel of Gilsons Foods, who has been with the company for 43 years. Winner of the Gold Medal Cash and Carry Manager was Brett Vigelskas of Costco Leeds. Despite running Costco’s smallest depot, Brett made Leeds its sixth most profitable.
The Gold Medal for Delivered Depot Manager went to John Attwater of Bately’s Coventry. John joined Bestway Wholesale five years ago to set up the group’s first chilled distribution hub. The depot now turns over £20m a year, up 11% year on year thanks to John’s organisation and planning skills. He has implemented a staff rewards scheme and restructured the picking process to improve efficiency and reduce waste for both the depot and its customers.
Maxine Brown of Lomond Fine Foods took home the Gold Medal Telesales Executive Award. The judges were impressed by Maxine’s tireless enthusiasm and knowledge of her product list as well as her customers.
The Delivered Wholesale Driver Medals was won by Perry Cordell of Bidvest Foodservice. Based in Wakefield, Perry delivers 600 cases a day on an average 160-mile route. His smooth driving style means he’s 25% more fuel efficient than the average driver, which results in enormous savings. His ability to sell to customers is a huge asset and in one case his rapport with the customer has seen sales grow by 10% since he’s been delivering to them.
The Young Wholesaler of the Year award went to Sarah Whiddett of Bidvest Foodservice. In less than three years Sarah has made her mark not only on Bidvest but also on the entire wholesale channel. Her drive to put the customer at the heart of decision making, development and corporate strategy has certainly paid dividends and her team’s research projects have helped shape key business decisions and initiatives. She’s often to be found at industry briefings presenting data and insight, and her skill at bringing food trends to life is a testament to her ability to drive innovative thinking.
The full winners were as follows:
Gold Medal Wholesale Service to Retail sponsored by Ferrero – Palmer & Harvey
Gold Medal Wholesale Service (Independent) to Caterers sponsored by Unilever Food Solutions – Birchall Foodservice
Gold Medal Wholesale Service (Multiple) to Caterers sponsored by Unilever Food Solutions – Bidvest Foodservice
Gold Medal Customer Support sponsored by Boost Drinks – Rob Owen, Creed Foodservice
Gold Medal Cash & Carry Depot Team sponsored by AG Barr – Bestway Wholesale, Tottenham
Gold Medal Green Wholesaler – Bidvest Foodservice
Gold Medal for Digital Innovation supported by Imperial Tobacco – JJ Food Service
Gold Medal Cash & Carry Depot Team Member sponsored by Cott Beverages – Gita Patel, Gilsons Foods, Leicester
Gold Medal Cash & Carry Manager sponsored by PepsiCo UK – Brett Vigelskas, Costco Wholesale, Leeds
Gold Medal Delivered Depot Manager sponsored by him! – John Attwater, Batleys, Coventry
Gold Medal Telesales Executive sponsored by Pritchitts – Maxine Brown, Lomond Fine Foods, Glasgow
Gold Medal Delivered Wholesale Driver sponsored by Bolt Learning – Perry Cordell, Bidvest Foodservice, Wakefield
Gold Medal Young Wholesaler supported by JTI – Sarah Whiddett, Bidvest Foodservice
Pictured above: host Brian Conley keeps guests entertained. We’ll have full and extensive coverage of the awards in December’s Wholesale News.