British Ex-Forces in Business Awards returns to celebrate veterans’ second careers despite Covid delays

2020 British ex-forces in business
The 2020 British Ex-Forces in Business Awards is back on track following Government guidelines that live events can resume from October. The event announced its finalists from over 500 nominations across multiple impact-led categories, including Champion of Women and Employer of the Year.

The British Ex-Forces in Business Awards is a flagship programme that celebrates military veterans’ achievements in second careers. The finalists for the awards have been released today, and the winners will be revealed at an awards ceremony at the Grosvenor House Hotel, Park Lane on 20 October 2020.

The Awards ceremony gathers business leaders, veterans, top employers, current serving officers, politicians, journalists and other stakeholders to highlight the significant value that ex-military add to the UK economy. The event was initially meant to take place in May, but because of the coronavirus outbreak, organiser Disrupt Media Group found a way to keep the momentum going until the Government’s announcement on 17 July that business events can resume from October. 

Disrupt Media Group is now working with the venue, Grosvenor House Hotel, to implement measures that will enable the event to take place safely on 20 October.

The awards programme, of which Real Business is a media partnerrecognises the achievements of ex-forces personnel who are now excelling in their second careers.

By showcasing the military-gained attributes that have enabled their post-service success, the awards aim to demonstrate to employers the business value of hiring veterans. 

The thousands of servicemen and women who leave the Armed Forces each year create a rich pool of talent for employers, underpinned by skills and values that easily transfer into a wide spectrum of roles. Yet transitioning back to civilian life and establishing a meaningful second career can be challenging. Visibility of role models across different sectors is often lacking, and depictions of veterans in the media can fuel damaging misconceptions.

In a study by SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity, three in ten UK hirers said they’d feel reluctant to hire someone who served in the military. 

SSAFA is the official charity partner of the awards, and one of its key initiatives is a mentoring scheme for service leavers. Every year, SSAFA helps more than 73,000 people from the forces family “get on their feet”, including those currently serving, reserves, veterans and their families.

Lt. Gen. Sir Andrew Gregory was a former Chief of Defence People and now heads up SSAFA as CEO. “SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity, is very proud to be associated with this important event which celebrates veteran employment,” he said.

“I am very aware of the challenges that can be faced by service leavers during their transition, with employment a major challenge for many. It is very heartening to see so many employers acknowledging the skills and experiences of those who have served their country.”

The 2020 finalists were whittled down from a record-breaking 500 nominations, with the winners decided by a judging panel of military veterans headed up by Admiral Sir George Zambellas, former First Sea Lord and now chairman of several companies including Galaxkey. Other judges facing the difficult task of selecting just 20 winners from a huge breadth of talent include business leaders from Jaguar Land Rover, Morgan Stanley, Dell, Lloyds Banking Group, Serco, Stagecoach, Thales and Knight Frank.

“In operational planning, UK military people are comfortable asking ‘what’s changed?’, and then reacting accordingly,” Admiral Sir George Zambellas said. “Those same honest qualities of analysis and agility are needed now, as we face changed business environments in the COVID-19 era. So, I’m delighted that so many ex-forces men and women, who have chosen a life in business, have the cunning and resilience to succeed. I’m very proud to support them.”

Since launching in 2018, the Ex-Forces in Business Awards has become a crucial initiative for promoting a positive narrative nationally of veterans as great assets to employers across all sectors, and has led the way in increasing visibility of business role models for service leavers.

Last year, the awards showcased the second-career achievements of nearly 300 veterans and reservists at ceremonies in London and Glasgow attended by more than 1,400 business leaders and over 450 employers.

The awards are sponsored by A&P Group, Barratt Developments, FDM Group, Galliford Try, Marsh, Morrison Utility Services, Santander and Sopra Steria. Other supporters include the Officers’ Association, RFEA – The Forces Employment Charity, SaluteMyJob, the White Ensign Association and media partners Real Business, BFBS and Quest Magazine. Last year’s events raised over £60,000 for military charities. 

The 2020 finalists

ADVOCATE OF THE YEAR 

Christopher FairlessThe Unique Group International 
Darren Lloyd, Kuehne + Nagel 
Dean Beaumont, Experian 
Ellen Harrison, Boeing Defence UK 
Gemma Jones, Amazon 
Philip Jackson, Siemens 
Pippa HannabyBarclays 
Richard Nelson, Morrison Utility Services 
Ross MacKenzieKier 
Sarah PylypJaguar Land Rover 

BUSINESS LEADER OF THE YEAR (Large Company) 

David McGinleyA&P Group 
Gerraint Oakley, Platform Housing Group 
James PittickCanon 
Kerryanne Wilde, CERT (UK) 
Len PannettVisagio 
Matthew Eyton-Jones, CERN Pension Fund 
Mike WraggNielsen 
Richard Jones, Sodexo 
Rob Lord, BT Global 
Stuart Morgan, Amazon 

BUSINESS LEADER OF THE YEAR (SME) 

Alex Sharpe, China Fleet Trust 
James Hilton, PVI 
John Wiley, Herrco Cosmetics 
Louise Chaplin, Eton Bridge Partners 
Matt King, SAFI Valves 
Michael VincentClearView Communications 
Peter Moody, Gap North East 
Rob DartnallSecurity Alliance 
Steve Thornton, Forces Cars Direct 

CHAMPION OF WOMEN AWARD 

Caroline Paige, CazTac 
Emma Morgan, Amazon
Jules Parke-Robinson, Ricoh 
Karen Daly-GherabiThe Springboard Consultancy 
Katie Lavin, UBS 
Marion PerstonMorrison Utility Services 
Michelle PartingtonMentis Training and Consultancy 
Nicki Bass,Resilience at Work 
Rachel ScandlingBarclays 

EMPLOYER OF THE YEAR 

2Excel Aviation 
Amazon 
Atkins 
Company X Consulting 
Eton Bridge Partners 
Inzpire 
Marsh
Morrison Utility Services 
Openreach 
Serco 
Travis Perkins 

ENGINEERING EXCELLENCE AWARD 

Andy Baines, Lynx 
Chris HavenhandHyperoptic 
Darren Minty, RINA 
Gary Woods, JLL Integral 
Graeme Cringle, Adler and Allan
Jim Heaney, Optilan 
Jonathan Li, SP Energy Networks 
Mark Jason EllisBombardier Transportation 
Michael Williams, MIDAK Engineering 
Peter Carlin, FDM Group 

ENTREPRENEUR OF THE YEAR 

Alan Dempsey, GF Genovate 
Andrew Powell, route2work 
Christopher PallettAxel Group International 
Ikenna AkukaliaAdada Care Services 
John Harvey, The Protector Group 
Lee Horton, Athena Security Solutions 
Mark Long, Ignite Consulting 
Michael SeggieLakeland Fleet Managment 
Robert Hughes, Robert Mann 
Scott Cowan, Africa Legal  

EX-FORCES INITIATIVE OF THE YEAR 

Barclays 
Barratt Developments 
Forces CV Services 
Forces Equine 
Frontier Risks Group 
LifeWorksRoyal British Legion Industries
RV1 Group 
Salesforce 
Services To Film 
UBS  

INNOVATOR OF THE YEAR 

Adam Hill, Oncimmune 
Chris Jones, Homelync 
Gary Woodhead, CurveBlock 
Jaymin Mistry, PA Consulting 
Julian Barker, British Land 
Marc May, SYKE 
Matthew McNeill Love, Honeypot Dating 
Michael McCabe, Intelligence Fusion 
Paul NuthDriving Miss Daisy 
Richard Walker-MorecroftJGOO 

INSPIRATION OF THE YEAR 

Aima Owen, Openreach 
Danny Shanahan, Seven Technologies Group 
David BenceSubSea Craft 
Dougie LeacyBell Integration 
Jonas Fieldhouse, GE Healthcare Partners 
Kevin BazeleyGE Aviation Systems 
Lisa Marr, Barclays 
Peter Docker, Why Not Un 
Sam Worthington-LeeseHawker Typhoon Preservation Group / TUI 
Samuel T. Reddy, TriExForces Group 

LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENTAWARD 

Anthony Knights, Knights Group Worldwide 
Christopher Norton, 2Excel Aviation 
Gary Headland, Lincoln College Group 
Gerard O’Donovan, Noble Manhattan Group
Ian Phoenix, NHS Digital 
Justin Packshaw MBEJoro Experiences / Bruhn NewTech
Lynn Roddy, Home Instead Senior Care Tavistock & Tamar Valley 
Mark BurbyAviation Partners 
Rear Admiral Roy Clare CBE, Chelmsford Cultural Development Trust / Good Things Foundation
Stephen Heard, Hertfordshire Community NHS Trust  

MILITARY VALUES IN BUSINESS AWARD 

Andrew Bass, Deloitte 
Brian Bambrick-SattarSyneos Health 
Jonathan Rees, Home Office 
Karl Simons, Thames Water 
Mark Duggan, The Pallet Network 
Mike WiggRosslyn Data Technologies 
Phil Wright, Brinks Global Services 
Roger Morton, Bovis Homes 
Sam InstoneAES 
Stuart Dolan, BAE Systems Marine 

NEW SERVICE LEAVER OF THE YEAR 

Cheryl Burgess, Openreach 
David Orr, NCC Group
Edward Coward, Kuehne + Nagel 
Lorna Collins, RINA 
Nathan Davis, Utley 
Nick Garland, CDW / Sunnies 
Richard Wilkins, Atkins 
Sean WingroveCore Technology Systems 
Steve Kelly, FDM Group 
Stuart KeighleyMorrison Utility Services 

OUTSTANDING ACHIEVER OF THE YEAR 

Alan Gilfillan, Bovis Homes 
Andrew Neil, RPS Partnership 
Chris Wardle, Expense Reduction Analysts 
James Harrison, Virtual Clarity
Josie Preston, The Ritz Club 
Lee Shepherd, Amazon 
Mickey Rooney, JLL 
Richard Hay, Kuehne + Nagel 
Stephen MaclennanNorth of England Protection and Indemnity Association 
Tracie Sharp, Co-op Funeral Care 

RESERVIST OF THE YEAR 

Andrew Bailey, Co-Op Pharmacy 
Cristan Massey, IT Lab 
Gareth HetheridgeRolls-Royce 
James Cox, Atkins 
James Heaton-Smith, Defence Infrastructure Organisation
James Turner, Compass Group UK&I 
Lt Cdr Jon WhealeBarclays 
Philip Day, Laing O’Rourke 
Robert SkeggsEton Bridge Partners 
Steve Cottrell, Morrison Utility Services 

RISING STAR OF THE YEAR 

Ben Potts, UBS 
Holly FerneyhoughAtalian Servest 
James Moore, Morgan Philips Group 
Karl Crosbie, Morrison Utility Services 
Laurie Reynolds, Aviva 
Luke BonnettFrazer-Nash Consultancy 
Neil Usborne, FDM Group 
Nick Galle, Wilson James 
Paul Owen, Wesleyan 
Rob TarnBovis Homes  

ROLE MODEL OF THE YEAR 

John Cockburn, Eton Bridge Partners 
Andy TiterickxJacobs 
Steve Lane, Capita 
Kevin Miller, FES FM 
Eddie Simpson, Abertay University 
Sharon McCann, Solent NHS Trust 
George VlachonikolisHeadington School, Oxford 
Adrian Tilley, Ocean Software 
Martin Fielding, Raytheon UK 
Helen Buffett, Technogym  

SERVICE LEAVER OF THE YEAR 

Alex Yates, Leidos 
Andrew Lowe, Sodexo 
Daniel Moran, ManpowerGroup Solutions 
Dominic Collins, CBRE 
Duane HasnipGAM London 
Edward Hill, Booking.com 
Glenn Sutherland, Babcock International 
Michael Areola, Airbus 
Paul Gardener, Atkins 
Stephen Gailey, Exabeam  

TEAM LEADER OF THE YEAR 

Adam Casey, i3Works 
Alan McPherson, Cromwell Tools 
Daniel Saxton, TUV Rehinland UK 
George GelstonTithegrove 
Jonathan BeeverBarclays 
Mark Hardman, Sodexo 
Peter Hopes, RBS 
Phillip Oulton, BT 
Rich Jones, Atkins 
Will Pearson, First Bus 

YOUNG LEADER OF THE YEAR 

Ben BardsleyBardsley England 
Callum CoombesSafepoint 
Dean Fennell-Connell, Conduent 
James WagstaffMTC Training 
Jonathan Cheeseman, Bishop Grosseteste University 
Oliver LeemingCBRE 
Ralph Cooke, Nusteel Structures 
Richard CoulthardAuden Financial Services 
Steven Bicker, Amazon 
William Pickering, JLL  

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