In front of a capacity crowd, awards were presented across 11 categories, rewarding achievements the length and breadth of the materials handling world, from apprentices to lifetime achievers.
Now in its 16th year, the Awards have proved enormously influential in encouraging fork lift truck companies throughout the UK to strive for ever higher standards.
As ever, the final four product categories – the Association’s “Pick of the Year” – were the source of the night’s fiercest competition, with companies vying for the top spot in a series of open, public votes.
In a typically close-run contest, Cascade Corporation (Environment), Mitsubishi Forklift Trucks (Ergonomics), Abex (Safety) and RAVAS Europe B.V. (Innovation) emerged victorious.
Individual winners included Luke Elmer, a graduate of the University of West England, who picked up a Design Achievement Award for his Vibralert system, which warns pedestrians of nearby forklifts. Introducing the Award, FLTA President John Chappell hoped the Award would encourage further development of the idea, fulfilling its potential to save lives.
The evening’s climax saw Kevin Lofting, founder of Albury Asset Rental, collect the coveted Lifetime Achievement award. In a heartfelt speech, Association Chairman Martyn Fletcher described how Kevin worked his way from modest beginnings to become one of the industry’s brightest and best-known stars.
After dinner, guests were treated to comedy from Radio 4 star Mervyn Stutter, followed by jazz music, a casino and dancing until the small hours in the aptly-named “Lola’s Bar”.
Chief executive of the FLTA David Ellison says: “After such a difficult year for the industry, we were tremendously encouraged and pleased to see such a high calibre of winners.
“Similarly, the guests were in a mood to celebrate, and the atmosphere has been fantastic. We’ve had an exceptionally positive response, selling out in record time. It’ll be a real challenge to beat it next year!”
Here is a full list of winners and their categories:
Apprentice of the Year Mark McRobert (Northern Forklift Scotland Ltd)
Employee of the Year Nathan Gardner (from Stantone Mechanical Handling Ltd)
Services to the FLTA Richard Hayes
Services to the Industry Günter Fritzsche (of Jungheinrich)
Safe Site Anglesey Aluminium Metals Ltd
Environment Cascade Corporation UK
Ergonomics Mitsubishi Forklift Trucks UK
Innovation RAVAS Europe B.V.
Lifetime Achievement Kevin Lofting
Fork Lift Truck Association
Tel: 01256 381441