Industry stars recognised at OFTEC’s new look 2014 Awards for Excellence

The best talent in the oil heating industry was showcased at OFTEC’s 2014 Awards for Excellence event yesterday (24 June) with both installers and manufacturers recognised for their achievements.

Attended by more than 170 industry guests, this year’s Awards saw David Ewins from Cornwall-based Davanna Heating Ltd beat off stiff competition to pick up the title of Boiler Installer of the Year, with Stephen Owen of SC Owen in Reading receiving the award for Servicing and Commissioning Technician of the Year.

David Ewins who was also crowned Boiler Installer of the Year in 2007 and runner up in 2006, said at the event: “Over the 20 years I have been running the business, I have always pushed for the highest professional standards and to be recognised for this by OFTEC means a lot. The award further strengthens the work that we do and will undoubtedly benefit the business going forward.”

Oil Tank Installer of the Year    was won Lee Stafford of LWL Heating in Brighton, while Daniel Pannell of Pembrokeshire Housing Association Ltd was highlighted as Trainee of the Year.

Daniel said: “Winning this award is massive. I didn’t know I’d been entered for it until my boss told me two weeks ago so it’s a real surprise and a confidence boost. I’m working towards becoming a fully qualified plumber and this will definitely help me along the way.”

Innovative Product of the Year was won by Irish firm Dunraven Systems Ltd in County Louth for its OilPal web-enabled remote oil monitoring application.

For the first time since the Awards were launched in 2003, the categories included a Lifetime Achievement award which was presented to OFTEC founder Colin Sutherland MBE.

Mr Sutherland was recognised for his dedication to improving industry products and standards, including his work in spearheading the Competent Persons Scheme and establishing the Sutherland Tables in 1976 which have since become a recognised source of comparative UK domestic heating costs.

The remaining 2014 Awards for Excellence categories were won by:
Best Technical Support       Worcester Bosch Group
Best Member Website        Grant Engineering UK Ltd
Best Training Centre          METAC Training, County Laois, Ireland

The Awards took place at Nailcote Hotel and Leisure Club near Coventry, as part of  OFTEC’s new look ‘Big Event’ which included a trade show, seminar programme and Member mini conference.

Speaking at The Big Event, OFTEC director general Jeremy Hawksley, said: “This year’s Awards for Excellence proved bigger and better than ever before and the standard of entries reflects the abundance of talent we have in the industry. I would like to congratulate all our winners and the excellent contribution they have made to the oil heating market.

“Our industry undoubtedly faces challenges going forward but with the current competitive price of oil, which is predicted to remain low, and a revival in oil boiler sales, we remain optimistic about the future. OFTEC will continue its valuable work at all levels, from the Government to the consumer, to safeguard and progress the oil heating industry.”

The Big Event mini conference saw guest speakers John Huber, president of the National Oilheat Research Alliance (NORA) in America, and Mike Foster, chief executive officer of the Energy Utilities Alliance (EUA), a not-for-profit trade association which helps to shape the future policy direction within the UK energy and utilities sector, share their views on the market.

A full seminar programme for technicians ran alongside the mini conference, featuring Neil Schofield, head of government and external affairs at Worcester Bosch Group, who gave his thoughts on the market for renewables.

The morning’s events were followed by a buffet lunch and the Awards ceremony which was compered by comedian Sean Collins.