And the Oscar goes to …

Good old Maslow and his hierarchy of needs reckoned that people are motivated in different ways and once the need for money has been addressed you get into the need for love and acceptance and then esteem whereby you’re respected by your peers. I can recognise that which is why I’ve been really chuffed on the odd occasion that I’ve won some industry or other award. I reckon that I’ve been there four times.

Methocel food award: between 1984 and 1988 I was the Product Marketing Manager for a group of chemicals which included Methocel cellulose ethers. They have a broad application from building products to pharmaceuticals and in 1987 we launched them for use in food in the UK and other European countries. It was a comprehensive and generally successful launch and we entered it for a Dairy Crest/Food FIPP magazine merit award. We won two! We won the award in the marketing category and we also won the overall award. The team behind the launch included Alan Henderson (technical), Ian Davenport (sales) and Kathy Kocher (communications) along with me and I remember we were able to take a cash amount as prizes. It then seemed ap[appropriate that we went out for dinner at the Ristorante Accademia del Gusto, an excellent up market Italian in Zurich.

Packaging News award for Linx: the best exhibition for the packaging industry in the UK used to be PPMA and Linx had a stand there in the years (1996-2000) that I was Director of Sales & Marketing. There was a dinner along with the show at which the annual packaging awards were given out and in 1999 we entered in the global business category. I’m not sure how many entrants there were and very often it’s the interpretation of the brief which enables you to win. The criteria for winning included having a global organisation which was difficult for us as we sold via distribution. I finessed that by referring to it as a ‘virtual’ organisation. It was in the early days of the Internet so this must have struck a chord because we won.

Lib Dem council group of the year: I was leader of the Lib Dem group on Cambridgeshire County Council from May 2007 to April 2010. We numbered 23 out of a total of 69 and were generally a challenging opposition to/thorn in the side of the ruling Tory Group. At the Party’s Spring Conference awards were given out to council groups who performed well and we entered for the Council Group of the Year award in 2009. We didn’t win but we did get a Special Commendation. I remember in the document which I submitted to support our bid quoting Martin Curtis, a leading Tory, ‘the trouble with the Lib Dems is they’re too political’ and the late Martin Ballard, Labour group leader, ‘too intellectual and not enough common sense’. It was good to get the award and it reflected well on a very strong team which included my deputy Peter Downes, political conscience Kevin Wilkins and staunch environmentalist Alex Reid.

European Business Award for Macsa: on the EBA web-site it says ‘the European Business Awards is one of the most prestigious accolades a company can receive, as well as one of the world’s largest cross-industry, cross border business competitions’. Well I’d take that with a pinch of salt but there’s some truth in it and Macsa, with whom I’ve worked in various roles for about 25 years, has entered the contest several times. The way that it’s generally worked is that it has decided to submit an entry but then at the last minute finds that it’s run out of time and doesn’t have the resources to put one together. That’s where I come in and I’ve helped them a number of times. Last year Macsa won the Award for Innovation in the Euro 26-150 million turnover category. I remember putting the bid together and focusing on Macsa’s twin priorities of support for Industry 4.0 and its eCoding approach to Plastics Waste Management. I didn’t get to go and accept the award but as a boss of mine once said ‘it’s amazing what you can achieve if you don’t mind who gets the credit’.

I guess that’s it. I’m not sure there’s an award for part-time business coach of the year. But fingers crossed I will earn the Covid survivor award.

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