The winners of the 2015 ALMR Operations Managers Awards have been announced, recognising talent at Mitchells & Butlers, Admiral Taverns and Thwaites.
The award for area manager of the year went to Martha Ingham of pub and restaurant operator Mitchells & Butlers while business development manager of the year was Caren Geering of pub company Admiral Taverns.
David Bigio of pub company Thwaites was named as 2015’s Rising Star which is awarded to the finalist who displayed the right qualities throughout the judging and showed potential for future development. He was a finalist for business development manager of the year.
The winners were announced in front of 1,200 guests from across the bar, club and pub sector at the awards presentation at the ALMR Christmas Lunch at Old Billingsgate in London yesterday. The three winners are pictured with Nick Bish, founder of the ALMR Operations Managers Awards, and Kate Nicholls, the ALMR’s chief executive.
The winners demonstrated enthusiasm, professionalism and passion for licensed retail during an extensive judging process comprising written paper, in-the-field assessment with mentor judges and a gruelling interview.
Nick said: “This has been another great competition with impressive finalists right across the spectrum – now from casual dining brands, the late-night operators again and of course the market-leading mainstream managed and leased businesses.
“The energy and professionalism of the awards finalists is self-evident and hugely reassuring for the future trajectory and reputation of our industry.”
Kate added: “This year’s finalists represent businesses that encompass the entire spectrum of licensed hospitality, from managed pub companies to nightclubs and restaurants. Congratulations to this year’s winners who, along with previous Ops Awards winners, exemplify the fantastic career paths and progression the sector provides from bar to boardroom.”
The other finalists for area manager of the year were Alessandro Bertie and Simon Miles from Casual Dining Group, Sarah Pibworth of Mitchells and Butlers, David Layton of Novus Leisure, Howard Nye from Anglian Country Inns and Russell Quelch of The Deltic Group.
For business development manager of the year, the other finalists were Martin Bailey from Everards, Edwin Pope of Admiral Taverns, Richard Foster from Star Pubs and Bars, and Stephen Carr, Dominic Doran, Jason French, Caroline Griffiths and Steve Morris from Enterprise Inns.
They were observed by the judges in a series of on-site visits before undergoing an intensive three-day strategy and leadership MasterClass led by Chris Nichols from Ashridge Consulting at the Alveston Manor in Stratford-upon-Avon.
Caren, who works with and supports 43 pubs and their licensees in South Wales including Cardiff, Newport and Swansea, was described by Admiral Taverns as “instrumental to our business and its development in the region” since she joined over three years ago.
Kevin Georgel, CEO of Admiral Taverns, said: “The ALMR Awards shine a spotlight on this talented level of management and we are delighted that Caren’s hard work, dedication and commitment has been recognised externally with this important accolade.
“At Admiral Taverns, the strength of the relationships that our talented BDMs have with our licensees underpins our proven strategy of empowering licensees to run their pub their way at the heart of their local communities.
“Caren’s experience in trade and ‘can do’ approach is invaluable in ensuring that the licensees she works with have the full support they need to run successful businesses, and on behalf of all of us at Admiral Taverns I would like to congratulate her on this achievement.”
The awards were sponsored by Britvic, Molson Coors, Sky, Orderella, Monster Energy, Guinness, Red Square Vodka, Strongbow Cloudy Apple, Nestlé Professional, LiveRes and Halewood International with Crabbie’s. Many had their own bars including Halewood (pictured) serving up Whitley Neill Gin and West Cork Irish whiskey.