​Finalists announced for third annual Making the Difference Awards

Submitted by Amelia O'Hanlon | 18/12/2017

The Vertas Making the Difference Staff Awards shortlist has been announced for the 2018 event.

Over 230 nominations were received from across the Vertas business and considered by a judging panel made up of the CEO and Board of Directors. The process allowed the panel to carefully deliberate on a vast array of nominations to arrive at three finalists for each of the ten categories.

The event, which is fully-funded by Vertas’ supply partners, including DCS as headline sponsor; takes place at Kesgrave Hall, Milsoms on Friday 2nd March 2018. The event sets out to celebrate the ongoing commitment and unrivalled passion shown by the individuals and teams working across the Vertas Group; which includes services such as catering, cleaning, grounds maintenance and design, security, energy management, graphic design, print and much more.

The shortlisted nominees for the Making the Difference Staff Awards 2018, are:

Employee of the Year

  • Edward Smith, Risk and Resilience Manager (Oakpark Security, part of the Vertas Group)
  • Elizabeth Palmer, Head of Kitchen at Forest Academy, Brandon
  • Trish Middleton, Head of Kitchen at Hampden House PRU, Sudbury

Team of the Year

  • Cromer Academy Catering Team
  • Mildenhall College Catering Team
  • Vertas Security Team

Lifetime Achievement

  • Andrew Farr, Catering Contract Manager
  • Bridget Gibson, Office Manager
  • Debbie Stranix, Head Chef at Endeavour House, Ipswich

Colleagues Champion

  • Ashley Copping, Management Accountant
  • Beth Andrews, Energy Contract Manager
  • Lauren Ramsey, Business Support Administrator

Customer 1st

  • Norman Perry, Landscape Projects Designer
  • Sarah Ackers, Head of Kitchen at Boxford CEVC Primary School, Sudbury
  • Wood Ley Community Primary School Catering Team, Stowmarket

Going the Extra Mile

  • Mark Francis, Regional FM Manager
  • Sam Allum, Head of Kitchen at Rattlesden CofE Primary Academy, Bury St Edmunds
  • Sarah Sadler, Head of Kitchen at Guildhall Feoffment Community Primary School, Bury St Edmunds


  • Craig Byford & Susan Mahoney, Business Services Development Team
  • Jenny Howlett, Head of Kitchen at St Edmund’s CP School, Bungay
  • Mark Dunningham, Graphic Design Manager

Inspiring Leaders

  • Claire Cannings, Catering Manager at Endeavour House, Ipswich
  • Danny Markham, Risk and Quality Co-ordinator
  • Paul Woodward, General Manager for Verse Facilities (joint venture between Vertas and West Suffolk Councils)

Specialist of the Year

  • Garry Pickering, Grounds Chargehand
  • Jess Ablitt, Management Accountant
  • Victoria Fox, CAD Technician


  • Andrew English & Paul Booker, Regional Property Managers
  • Colin Lambert, Site Manager at Gunton Primary School, Lowestoft
  • South Area Cleaning Managers

Ian Surtees, Vertas Group Limited’s Chief Executive Officer, said:

“The Board of Directors and I are thrilled to announce our 2018 Making the Difference Staff Awards finalists.

“With over 230 nominations received from staff, clients and customers, this shortlisting process was our most challenging yet. We carefully reviewed each of the nominations and after much deliberation successfully found three finalists in each of our ten categories.

“Now a staple part of the Vertas calendar, our third annual ceremony looks set to be the biggest and most exciting event yet. I warmly wish the very best to all those who have been shortlisted and I thank my dedicated colleagues for their ongoing commitment to the Vertas Group.”

Paul Stacey, DCS’ Director, said:

“As a sponsor of last year’s ‘Making the Difference Staff Awards’ and seeing the great and inspiring work that Vertas staff achieve, we have taken the headline sponsorship for 2018 event.

“Having enjoyed a highly successful partnership with Vertas in recent years that has gone from strength-to-strength, we look forward to continuing our close working relationship with Vertas to achieve mutual goals and build a stronger future for both businesses.”

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