BRITAIN'S best in fleet were rewarded yesterday at the industry's 'Oscars', the annual Fleet News Awards.
The 16th Awards highlighted the hard work, expertise and innovation that drives Britain's fleet industry and keeps UK business on the move.
More than 1,300 people attended the event, held at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London's Park Lane and hosted by newsreader and TV personality Sir Trevor McDonald.
Fleet decision-makers received awards in six categories this year – the Fleet Risk Management Award, European Fleet of the Year, UK Fleet of the Year and three fleet manager categories.
The first winner of the night was Phillippa Caine, company secretary for Corgi, who took the Fleet Risk Management Award, sponsored by Kwik-Fit Fleet.
Caine has championed safety issues throughout her fleet career, despite spending only around a third of her time running the fleet of 180 cars.
She has kept occupational road risk high on the agenda and has employed an independent auditor to carry out a road risk audit.
The judges said she had shown an unswerving, long-term commitment to the highest principles of health and safety and compliance and she was congratulated for her unparalleled safety record.
In the Fleet Manager of the Year sub-100 vehicles category, sponsored by Avis Rent A Car, the judges named Margaret Welsh, fleet manager at Croft, as the winner. They recognised that her passion for the role had enabled her to effectively multi-task to cope with aspects of the job and ensure a focus on best practice from which some larger fleets could learn lessons.
Paul Concannon, fleet and purchasing manager at Fountains, received the Fleet Manager of the Year 101-400 vehicles award, sponsored by BMW Corporate Sales.
Despite intense competition, he was a clear winner in the hard-fought category for his immense achievements in the past 18 months, using a 'change nothing, improve everything' policy to produce real-world savings and improve efficiency.
In the largest fleet manager category, Fleet Manager of the Year 401-plus vehicles, sponsored by BT Fleet, Susan McDonald, head of strategic sourcing at ntl group, took the honours. Despite a year of immense challenges, she kept tight control of her fleet and introduced a series of new initiatives that reflected her tenacity and enthusiasm.
Moving on to European Fleet of the Year, sponsored by Volkswagen Fleet Services, the judges named the winner as Diane Miller, European fleet manager, NextiraOne, in recognition of a massive multinational project to create a single European fleet policy across 16 countries and covering 3,000 vehicles.
Finally, in the UK Fleet of the Year category, sponsored by Mazda Motors UK, HM Customs and Excise and its fleet manager John Webb took the prize. Webb was congratulated for encouraging an industry-leading level of professionalism at the heart of a highly-complex fleet.
A total of 28 awards were handed out at the industry night of the year, including the prestigious Fleet Manufacturer of the Year award, sponsored by Manheim Europe, which went to Volkswagen for the third year running.
The Platinum Award for long-term service to the fleet industry was presented to the Association of Car Fleet Operators.
John Maslen, editor of Fleet News and chairman of the judging panel said: 'The Fleet News Awards are seen as the fleet industry 'Oscars' and recognise the best practice and high quality of service in the British fleet industry.
'Even being shortlisted for these awards was a great achievement for those involved and winning a immensely difficult in the face of very stiff competition.'
The judging panel was made up of 12 leading figures in the fleet industry.
Maslen added: 'Together the judges operate a combined fleet of several hundred thousand vehicles and they have immense knowledge of the fleet industry.
'Therefore, to win over this distinguished panel is a major achievement. Our winners are thoroughly deserving of this praise in the intensely competitive fleet market.'
Manufacturer Awards (Cars) – Sponsored by Europcar
Manufacturer Awards (Vans) – Sponsored by TLS Vehicle Rental
Supplier Company Awards
Fleet Manager Awards