The Fork Lift Truck Association Annual Awards for Excellence 2011 reached an emotional climax on Saturday as the highest honour of the evening – the Lifetime Achievement Award – was awarded posthumously to Brian Nealon of Bendigo Mitchell.
A capacity audience rose in unison to honour one of the Association’s greatest champions, Brian having served the FLTA, as both Chairman and President. In presenting the Award, FLTA President John Chappell recognised Brian’s pivotal work in “laying the foundations for the Association’s success.”
Sons Alastair and Duncan accepted the solid bronze ‘Archie’ on their father’s behalf in front of a capacity audience which included those who knew their father best: family, friends, colleagues and customers.
Now in its 17th year, the Awards serves as a “Pick of the Year” for materials handling products and acknowledges those who strive to raise standards throughout the fork lift truck industry. As ever, winners on the night represented every facet of the business: from apprentices to industry stalwarts, and manufacturers to ancillary equipment suppliers.
With the assistance of BBC Radio 2’s Sally “Traffic” Boazman, representatives from the event’s Sponsors (Albury Asset Rentals, Doosan Infracore, GNB Industrial Power, Hitachi Capital, Mitsubishi Forklift Trucks and Samuk lift Trucks), presented the evening’s other ten Awards.
Traditionally, the Awards final four product categories are the most hotly contested… and this year was no exception as a record number of finalists vied for the top spot.
Manufacturers Hyster (Environment), Cat (Ergonomics), Mitsubishi (Safety) and Linde (Innovation) emerged victorious from a series of open, public votes with a much coveted, bronze ‘Archie’ statuette their reward.
A number of individuals were also recognised by the Association for their award-winning work, including: Adam Payne of Barloworld Handling (Apprentice of the Year), Tracy Zissler of Rushlift (Employee of the Year) and Paul Nichol of United Forktrucks (Services to the Fork Lift Truck Association).
The evening saw Peter Wooldridge of Flexi Narrow Aisle presented with the Award for Services to the Fork Lift Truck Industry in recognition of his groundbreaking innovations. Described by the FLTA as “an innovator and entrepreneur, whose expertise – both as an engineer and as a businessman – has helped to change the face of the fork lift truck industry… and not once, but twice,” Peter was presented with the award on behalf of the FLTA by Peter MacLeod of ShD magazine.
In an unusual twist, this year’s Design Achievement Award went to iVT International, an organisation that does not design anything except the layout of magazines. Its innovative annual publication, Advanced Lift-Truck Technology, was recognised for its encouragement in the field of fork lift truck design.
“Awards 2011 has been another resounding success,” says FLTA Chairman Martyn Fletcher. “By shining a spotlight on all that is good in materials handling industry, we have helped – for more than 17 years – to encourage throughout the fork lift truck industry… and beyond.
“In responding to the real issues facing fork truck users, each of our ‘Pick of the Year’ finalists and winners represents a significant advance in ensuring materials are moved more safely, more efficiently and with less impact on the environment. It was a celebration in so many ways, with a genuine party atmosphere reflecting a renewed optimism in our industry.”