In a glittering ceremony at the Oxford Belfry Hotel last night, the prestigious Service Dealer Awards were presented.
The categories and winners were:
GARDEN MACHINERY DEALER OF THE YEAR
Sponsored by Husqvarna. Presenting Award: Ken Brewster, UK Sales & Marketing Director
Winner - Garlick Garden Machinery Ltd, Preston
Ken Brewster & Chris Garlick
The judges said, "Garlick Garden Machinery was established in 2013 by Chris Garlick, then just 21 years old. The dealership is progressive and embraces new technologies like robotic mowers and cordless products. Garlick has good use of Social Media channels and the customer feedback was extremely strong."
Finalists – Hertfordshire Garden Machinery Ltd, Bramfield; Green Stripe Garden Machinery Ltd Market Rasen
FARM MACHINERY DEALER OF THE YEAR
Sponsored by Kramp. Presenting Award: James Buchanan, Field Sales Manager
Winner - RVW Pugh Ltd, Powys
Emma Leah and Mary Evans receive their Award from James Buchanan
The judges said, "This family business established in 1978 has grown across its 3 branches. It is well documented that the large machinery sales are still suffering and Pugh’s has been very much bucking the tractor sales trends this year. Pughs is a strong business that attracts sales in a not so typical ag area."
Finalists – Burdens Group, Sutterton; B&B Tractors, Warsop
FORESTRY EQUIPMENT DEALER OF THE YEAR
Sponsored by STIHL GB. Presenting Award: Steve Parkin, National Sales Manager.
Winner - Strathbogie Forest & Garden Limited, Aberdeenshire
Pete & Emma McArthur with Steve Parkin
The judges said, "Following on from a purpose built new showroom and website in 2016, Strathbogie offer a variety of quality manufacturers. Pete and the team combine traditional knowledge whilst embracing change by leading the way in robotic mower sales. They stick to selling on quality and not on price and to cap all that the customer feedback was superb."
Finalists - Gustharts, Seaton Burn; Forest and Arb, Winchester
PROFESSIONAL TURFCARE DEALER OF THE YEAR
Sponsored by TurfPro. Presenting Award: Steve Gibbs, Editor of Service Dealer & TurfPro
Winner - George Browns Ltd, Leighton Buzzard
Kevin McConnell, Derrick Pratt and Andrew Brown with Steve Gibbs
The judges said, "George Browns has demonstrated long term consistency with regular improvements. They stock a great variety of products, message well through Social Media and have obtained some great customer feedback this year."
Finalists - Balmers GM Ltd, Wakefield; Thomas Sherriff & Co Ltd, Jedburgh
ATV / QUAD DEALER OF THE YEAR
Sponsored by Catalyst Computer Systems. Presenting Award Mike Cameron, Systems Sales Manager
Winner - Stratton ATV Ltd, Perth
Mike Cameron and Craig Wainwright-Fisher
The judges said, "Stratton show a good understanding of multiple markets and tailored solutions within the ATV sector. As a relatively new company they have a neat showroom, perform well and are respected locally."
Finalist - Congleton Garden Machinery Ltd, Congleton
STAR OF THE DEALERSHIP
Sponsored by Garden Trader. Presenting Award: Ron Miller, Dealer Communications Manager
Winner - Tony Ralph, Ripon Farm Services Ltd, (Service manager at the Ottringham branch)
Ron Miller with Tony Ralph
The judges said, "As a Service Manager, Tony has a key role to play. His very quick career progression within such a well-respected dealership speaks volumes about his great customer service and sales skills. The customer feedback reinforces this and when he takes a well-earned holiday he is often asked after by customers. This is the type of service that separates our industry out from the cheaper alternatives."
Finalists - Brian Mitchell, Cyril Johnston & Co Ltd, (Head of Retail Sales); Justin Thomas, Arwel's Agri Services Ltd, (Parts Manager)
APPRENTICE OF THE YEAR
Sponsored by Bagma. Presenting Award: Brian Sangster, President of BAGMA
Winner - Grant Roberts, Cornwall Farm Machinery Ltd
Brian Sangster with Andrew Herring, Account Manager at Kramp who accepted the award on behalf of the absent Grant Roberts
The judges said, "When we think of apprentices, we think of the service side of the dealership but Grant Roberts was the recipient of the John Deere Parts Tech Apprentice of the Year awarded by John Deere officials at their visitor centre in Mannheim, German this summer. Grant is also a finalist in the 2017 Cornwall Apprenticeship Awards."
Finalists - Rhydian Davies, Arwel's Agri Services Ltd; Lewis Harrison, Russells Group
OVERALL DEALER OF THE YEAR
Sponsored by Kramp. Presenting Award: Des Boyd, Sales Director
Winner - Strathbogie Forest & Garden Limited
Duncan Murray-Clarke and Des Boyd join Pete & Emma McArthur to celebrate their Overall Dealer of the Year win
The judges said, "Pete McArthur and his team are held in high regard by their principal suppliers – and in offering an unrivalled back-up service they don’t discount wildly to match on-line pricing. Their product knowledge is second-to-none and they support a top-notch website. In our view they are worthy winners."
OUTSTANDING CONTRIBUTION AWARD
Presented by Chris and Trish Biddle
Winner – David Kirschner
Chris and Trish Biddle with David Kirschner
Chris Biddle said, "David has spent a lifetime in the landbased engineering industry, principally in service support. He was Service Manager at Renault Tractors, transferring to CLASS UK when the German company acquired the brand.
"In 2007, David was closely involved in the creation of the industry LTA Scheme (Landbased Technicians Accreditation) which was launched to a packed house at the Motor Heritage Museum.
"In recent years he has been a Consultant to our industry’s Landbased Engineering Training and Education Committee (LE-TEC), and heavily involved in the implementation of the Government’s new Trailblazer Apprenticeship Scheme.
"David himself is the embodiment of an engineering miracle, his heart controlled by sophisticated remote monitoring, but that has not held him back from being one of the most effective ambassadors this industry has ever seen."