Steve Coates wins FEA's Outstanding Contribution Award

At the recent FEA Conference, Steve Coates was honoured with the FEA’s 2023 Outstanding Contribution to the Catering Equipment Industry Award

Steve Coates was honoured at the recent FEA conference with the 2023 Outstanding Contribution to the Catering Equipment Industry Award. The award was presented by Paul Anderson, FEA chair, at the conference's gala dinner on Thursday 16 November, at Chesford Grange Hotel, Kenilworth. 

Anderson, who described Coates as “inspiring, insightful and gritty,” added that friends, family and colleagues also found him to be astute, strong, direct, supportive, passionate, generous, fun loving, and someone with bold clarity of thinking. Anderson cited Coates’ success in founding the Advance Group, which now has a turnover of £20million+ per year and highlighted his support for young work seekers, his love for his family and his efforts for a variety of charities. 

As a member of the Foodservice Equipment Association's board, Coates has been a prime mover in several key events, including the restructuring of the association and, a few years later, its rebranding, from CESA to FEA.  His latest project is FEA's new Foodservice Carbon Professional (FCP) accreditation, which had been launched earlier that day during the conference. Anderson said Coates had been a passionate driving force in pushing FCP through, for which he thanked him enormously. 

Coates, who was joined at the dinner by his wife Felicity and their children Dani and Tom, said, "I'm so proud to accept this prestigious award.  I can honestly say it's a highlight of my career." 

Apprentice of the Year

This year the Apprentice of the Year, sponsored by John Gilbert, has been expanded to recognise anyone who has undertaken great learning or professional development.  The 2023 Award, which was presented during the gala dinner by John Gilbert and Simon Frost, was won by Morris Fowler of Falcon Foodservice Equipment.  His application exemplified how training and on the job experience can make a huge contribution, both to the individual's personal development and to the company itself.  Judges noted how, as well as playing integral roles in NPD, Morris had brought his hobby, modelling, into the workplace, using his skills at 3D printing to protype small parts to fast-track development and testing of new products.  Two entrants were Highly Commended in the Apprentice Award, they were Jakob Baumgart and David Ashbridge, both from Aggora. 

Chair's Award winners

Also during the gala dinner,  Anderson announced the winners of the 2023 Chair's Awards, which recognise individuals and organisations whose distinguished service has enhanced the foodservice equipment industry.  They were David Parsons of Winterhalter UK, Stephen Goodliff of Contacto; Tim Morgan of The Publicity Works; the late Fabio Gargantini, former secretary general of EFCEM (European Federation of Catering Equipment Manufacturers); Dr Samantha Mudie of Reading University; Kate Gould of Caterops; CFESA (the USA's Commercial Food Equipment Service Association); Chris Playford of Foster Refrigerator; and Steve Witt of Ecofast Environmental UK. 

 The Foodservice Equipment Association (FEA) is the independent, authoritative voice of the foodservice equipment industry, representing nearly 200 companies who supply, service and maintain all types of commercial catering equipment - from utensils to full kitchen schemes. 

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