07 December 2015

Manufacturing Champions 2015 winners revealed

Manufacturing Champions

The UK’s top manufacturing employees have been honoured at Works Management's Manufacturing Champions Awards in Manchester.

Ten winners showcasing innovation and a commitment to add value to customers were recognised across categories including Manufacturing Team, Community Champion and the Unsung Hero Awards.

Top talent included apprentice and Rising Star Award winner Jacob Hoster, who has blazed a trail in the delivery of cutting edge electron microscopes manufactured at Carl Zeiss Micoscopy, Cambridge

Creative flair was also on show from Employee-Led Innovation Award winner, Will Haynes of De La Rue, who created a safety and productivity enhancing unblocking machine for separating sheets of new polymer-based banknotes.

Champions winners flew the flag for manufacturers of drives, digital inks and aluminium for the aerospace industry.

The Manufacturing Champions Awards gathered nearly 300 manufacturing leaders to celebrate the men and women who make UK production lines sing as well as showcasing the exciting careers on offer in the sector

“Our winners are people schooled in ‘can do’. Innovating on a daily basis to overcome bottlenecks, defects and capacity constraints. And forever going the extra mile to bring added value to their products and services,” commented Max Gosney, group editor at Works Management magazine. “They showcase everything that’s great about British manufacturing and by promoting their achievements we hope to convince more mums, dads, and teachers that a career in manufacturing is something worth aspiring to.”

Full Manufacturing Champions Awards 2015 winners rostrum:

MANUFACTURING LEADER: Mick Straw, operations director, Hi-Technology Group

Sponsor: The Manufacturing Institute

The Judges said, “Mick has continually led from the front and has the versatility to communicate and inspire confidence across all levels of the business. He has a gift for getting the best out of people.”

COMMUNITY CHAMPION: Derrick Lewis, engineering manager, Schaeffler UK, Llanelli

Sponsor: EAL

The Judges commented that “Derrick lives and breathes engineering and manufacturing, and he’s going above and beyond to champion careers in the sector with local schools. Crucially, Derrick is supplementing this work with teenagers by working with younger children at primary schools. A lot of people talk about doing that, but very few actually do.”

MANUFACTURING TEAM: Alcoa Hydraulic Gap Control, Alcoa, Kitts Green

Sponsor: Buck & Hickman

When Alcoa needed to make a dramatic improvement in the performance of rolling aluminium plates at its hot mill in Kitts Green, Birmingham it faced a make or break choice – buy a brand new hydraulic control system to replace one that had been fitted in 1996, or deliver a system using existing parts via an in-house team. The company chose the latter course. The implementation team applied self-learned ‘agile project management’ to ensure that a robust and safe system could be delivered on time and on budget while all the team members continued to do their day to day jobs.


Sponsor: Brammer

A Highly Commended certificate was awarded to Magdalena Kolacz, senior foundry metallurgist at Alcoa, Kitts Green.

The overall winner was Will Haynes, engineering technician, De La Rue, Loughton who designed and developed a polymer unblocking device that could save his employer more than £250,000 a year in the printing process.

RISING STAR: Jacob Hoster, Carl Zeiss Microscopy

Sponsor: Atlas Copco

A Highly Commended certificate went to Sian Douglas, operations graduate at BAE Systems, Glasgow.

The overall winner was Jacob Hoster, apprentice at Carl Zeiss Microscopy, who has blown away senior colleagues with his aptitude for creating top quality images on the manufacturer’s electron microscopes, demonstrating a maturity beyond his years.

UNSUNG HERO: Gary Ashby, senior process technician, Fujifilm, Broadstairs

Gary turned the unfashionable potwash area of Fujifilm’s factory into the pride of the plant. Our judges said: “Gary has a real talent for getting the best out of others and his love of the job appears infectious.”

SAFE WORKPLACE CHAMPION: Richard Heffernan, health and safety advisor, Fujifilm, Broadstairs

Sponsor: Arco

Richard went the extra mile to bring the Fujifilm plant in line with CoMAH safety legislation. The Judges said, “Richard is clearly passionate about safety and this enthusiasm runs through all his actions. His commitment has been translated into great respect from his colleagues and we were particularly impressed by the positive reviews from a broad range of stakeholders.”


Sponsor: PEME

The Maintenance Team at Siemens, Congleton impressed judges with a series of solid business advances by implementing ground-breaking initiatives which include a commitment to involving operators in total productive maintenance activities.

SUPPLY CHAIN CHAMPION AWARD: Bryan Beck, Plastipak Packaging, Wrexham

Sponsor: Fujifilm Speciality Ink Systems

Bryan Beck wins the Supply Chain Champion Award for his compelling PET (polyethylene terephthalate) appreciation training programme, which has won plaudits and profits for the Wrexham-based manufacturer of plastic containers.

ENERGY CHAMPION: Ken Tidd, Alcoa, Kitts Green

The Judges commented: “There is a well-conceived and sustainable energy strategy in place on this site with evidence of significant improvements already made and further savings targeted. Changing the culture over energy is all about getting as many people engaged and empowered as possible, and Ken is making an enormous contribution to this.”

Max Gosney

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