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The ALMR is delighted to announce the Finalists in the 2017 Operations Managers Awards.

They are, from the casual dining and managed operators sector:

Adam Sykes, Fullers

Alan Campbell, Nicholson's Pubs, Mitchells & Butlers

Alan Kay, JD Wetherspoon

Dave Harrison, Deltic Group

Emma Deabill, Yo! Sush

David Jenkins, JD Wetherspoon

Leane Patching, New World Trading Co

Richard Bond, JD Wetherspoon

Samantha Smith, Living Ventures

Tim Sparrow, Be At One

Trevor Peach, TGI Friday

And from the leased or franchised business operators:

Billy Guthrie, Greene King

Craig Nevins, Star Pubs & Bars

Simon Thornton, Fullers

Phil McWilliam, Star Pubs & Bars

Salle Wroblewski, Ei Group Plc

Stephen Birkett, Admiral Taverns

Yvonne Fraser, Greene King.

The judges report that the standard of entries again demonstrates that the entire sector owns some exceptional talent, underpinning the importance of the Operations Managers Awards and the recognition and development of the best operations managers within the UK’s hospitality industry.

The judges have accepted 18 individuals to the final stages of the Awards. After the four Mentor Judges had marked each paper they felt these were the right group to be the Finalists in the next stages of the Awards.

Andrew Thompson, Mentor Judge and formerly operations director for Punch added: “It continues to impress all of the judges how today’s operations managers evolve to support and develop both managed and leased businesses. They have an ever-growing role within these businesses and the very best make a significant impact on each outlet within their area and are a credit to the companies they represent.”

Nick Bish, founder of the Awards, commented: “We have always believed that operations managers are the lynch-pin of modern, thriving multi-site retailing and the Ops Awards programme recognises, celebrates and develops the best individuals in the sector.

“In addition, what delights us is how the Awards have evolved beyond the ‘traditional’ pub sector and is now the benchmark for very many companies that are leaders in the casual dining sector and beyond.”

The entry paper judging sees the nominations whittled down to the ‘Finalists’. Individuals are then closely assessed on a day’s worth of routine business visits by one or other of the Awards’ Mentor Judges before they head to Leicestershire for the highly regarded Operations Managers MasterClass. This is led, for the thirteenth successive year, by Chris Nichols and is leavened by inspiring sessions from industry greats that have included Rupert Clevely, Nick Pring, Simon French, Roger Whiteside, Kris Gumbrell, Peter Hansen and Stephen Gould.

After a final, gruelling, day of interviews in front of the Mentor Judges and eight leading operators from the sector, the winners will be decided and announced at a stand-alone evening ceremony at the London’s Pullman Hotel on Monday November 6. Ticket details for this event will be available in the coming weeks – so to be kept abreast of the arrangements please email

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