Winners Lift Their Trophies at the Biggest Ever LEEA Awards 2023!

The Lifting Equipment Engineers Association (LEEA) presented the winners of the LEEA Awards 2023 with their trophies at the prestigious Awards Dinner on 21st November, held at the Rum Warehouse in Liverpool. The winners of the annual awards recognising excellence in the lifting industry are as follows:

  • Craig Morelli Award – Best Trainer: Jasen Doyle – Industrial Training International LLC.
  • Industry Leader Award (sponsored by LHI Magazine): Ashley Thacker of Ranger – Lifting Rigging Safety.
  • Innovation (Product) Award (sponsored by Guardian): Rope Watcher – CERTEX UK.
  • Innovation (Service) Award: Inspection Department (Lifting Equipment) – Saudi ARAMCO.
  • Kevin Holmes Award – Excellence in People Development: Crane Operators & Riggers Development – Saudi ARAMCO.
  • Lifting Equipment Technician: Chris Belka of Sparrows Offshore Services.
  • Lifting Operation Award: MGF/Ainscough (Anfield Stadium) – MGF/Ainscough.
  • Rising Star Award (sponsored by Bridger Howes): Mark McClure of WH Scott & Son Engineers.
  • Safety Award (sponsored by Rigging Services): Lifting Planning Aid – Sheffield Forgemasters.
  • Sustainable Award: Powertex Products – Lifting Solutions Group.

With comedian, presenter, actor and singer, Jason Manford joining the 380 guests from around the world, including Australia and Saudi Arabia, the fifth annual LEEA Awards continued the tradition of being a big night of celebration and social networking. Over £4000 was raised on the night for LEEA’s chosen Charity, the MNDA (Motor Neurone Disease Association).

Ross Moloney, CEO at LEEA, said: “Congratulations to all the award winners and finalists for such impressive achievements. Winning a LEEA Award is not easy, which makes it a tremendous achievement, particularly as among the almost 100 entries received this year, the standard was higher than ever.”

He continued: “This year was our biggest awards event ever, making it unsurpassed for networking and relationship building. I would like to thank the applicants, judges, sponsors and all the guests for making this yet another great industry night and hope that the winners inspire lots of great entries from members for the LEEA Awards 2024.”

Full details of the winners of the LEEA Awards 2023 are as follows:

In the Craig Morelli Award – Best Trainer, judges were looking for a trainer from the LEEA Accredited Training Scheme who has received outstanding student feedback and who is an exemplary employee.

The winner is: Jasen Doyle of Industrial Training International LLC.
Jasen’s passion for training and care for the students is clearly evident. Admired by his fellow trainers, office staff and customers, he epitomises ITI’s values and is a lifelong learner. Jasen demonstrates a methodical and engaging approach to training delivery. Receiving more than 300 evaluations from students, he maintains a net promotor score of 94% based on whether students would recommend him to train others. A score of 80 is considered world-class.

Jason Manford (Left) and LEEA CEO Ross Moloney (Right) appear in those positions throughout photos in this article. Maxine Morelli (Center) accepts on behalf of Jasen.

Jasen is willing to innovate and look for new ways to improve the student and trainer experience. Through his efforts, ITI is trialling a new grading method that ensures accuracy and speed, allowing quicker feedback to the student as well as saving our trainers significant time. He was one of the first trainers to embrace blended learning environments, catering to in-person and live virtual students in a classroom at the same time.

The judges said: “Jasen provided impressive support documentation suggesting a well-rounded trainer with a high level of communication skill”… “Experience, competence, communication skills, client support – a very good nominee”.

Runner up: Ricci Varley of CERTEX UK.

The Industry Leader Award – Sponsored by LHI Magazine recognises and celebrates a leader in the membership who has been extremely effective in improving and growing their firm. The candidate needed to show evidence of leadership and dynamism, which resulted in company growth.

The winner is: Ashley Thacker of Ranger – Lifting Rigging Safety.

Ashley is driven by an immense desire to build something better, coupled with a sense of entrepreneurialism and enthusiasm that has been unrivalled both at Ranger Lifting as a company, and in the Lifting Industry.

Guy Harris (LHI) and Ashley Thacker (Ranger)

He contributed to raising standards through his work with Australian Standards, input to the establishing of a national ASQA approved Cert IV ASQUA and the LEEA Regional Council in Australia. Taking on leadership roles with LEEA would prove to be challenging from a career perspective. Ashley constantly puts his neck on the line and vocalises his passion for industry change.

The judges said: “It’s clear he is aiming high with an above average submission”… “A clear leader and inspiration to his team and demonstrated LEEA industry regional leadership”… “Ashley is a great and enthusiastic leader in his business activities and promotion of LEEA”.

Runner up: Glenn Ward of IMES International.

The Innovation (Product) Award – sponsored by Guardian goes to a member that has launched a new product to market since 2022. Applicants were encouraged to show clearly how their solution solves challenges in a new and innovative way.

The winner is: Rope WatcherCERTEX UK.

This device introduces an advanced capability to detect indications of wire rope wear and breakages. By utilising magneto-inductive methods (MRT), both internal and external faults within the rope can be thoroughly assessed. With this product installed, the user has complete peace of mind at all times that their ropes are safe to use and free from defects.

Luke Crouch (Guardian Fall) and Scott Wilcox (Managing Director, Certex UK)

The judges said: “This innovation is industry changing as it allows constant monitoring, flagging alarms in case of any defects developing. With this product installed, the user has complete peace of mind at all times that their ropes are safe to use and free from defects”… “My 100 marks go to CERTEX for this innovative and comprehensive monitoring system”.

Runner up: BOLT on line tension meterCrosby Group.

The Innovation (Service) Award is for services launched in the last year that push the envelope in terms of innovation.

The winner is: Inspection Department (Lifting Equipment)Saudi ARAMCO.

It is a significant priority in the Saudi ARAMCO system to ensure both workers’ safety and the efficiency of daily lifting operations. Such an objective cannot be met unless a strict inspection system is adopted and implemented within daily operations.

Inspection Department (Lifting Equipment) – Saudi ARAMCO

Adopting a new QR digital inspection system makes it easy for both service providers and Saudi ARAMCO to access any needed inspection record in addition to evaluating the performance of the inspector or inspection company. QR stickers attached to the equipment link the checklist to the inspection report and populates the equipment information automatically. One exceptional aspect of this new system is the ability to create a digital dashboard to track significant Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). This provides a set of data to assess inspector performance and ensure equipment integrity, which is assessed on a regular basis by Saudi ARAMCO Management. KPIs include inspection workload carried out by the service providers’ inspector as well as the rejection rate. Such a dashboard enables Saudi ARAMCO to take the appropriate action if service quality degrades.

The judges said: “One of the best Digitisation (projects) within ARAMCO Inspection Dept., which is the ‘need of the day’ to avoid the forging of inspection stickers”… “A good move forward”.

Runner Up: Mandatory MRT crane rope inspectionsSelect Plant Hire

The Kevin Holmes Award – Excellence in People Development is for a dedicated team or an individual who has supported colleagues in developing their career in such a way that they clearly deserve industry wide recognition.

The winner is: Crane Operators & Riggers DevelopmentSaudi ARAMCO.

ARAMCO’s people development programme comprises multiple layers of integrated training and certification systems to ensure the highest levels of competency. The programme consists of different levels that provide lifting team specific training courses – from a basic crane course, to advanced and specialised crane functions. The strength of this training programme is derived from not only classroom training, but also field supervision and monitoring, which requires each crane operator to compete specific competency tasks.

Crane Operators & Riggers Development – Saudi ARAMCO

In addition to providing a solid training programme, ARAMCO’s certification system for such a safety-critical role is another key block in the people development foundation. Their certification programme effectively contributes to safe operations by ensuring the qualification of people.

The judges said: “Phenomenal investment in their people to ensure the highest safety standards”… “It is clear ARAMCO takes people development very seriously”… “A very comprehensive training programme. Impressive”.

Runner up: Adam Thompson of Stenhouse Lifting Equipment.

Lifting Equipment Technician is the award for colleagues in the industry who are actively engaged in day-to-day equipment engineering. The judges were looking for a brilliant technician who has done great things.

The winner is: Chris Belka of Sparrows Offshore Services.

Chris has been nominated in recognition of his dedication to lifting equipment serviceability and safety, as well as the contributions he has made to Sparrows Offshore and the wider industry.

Chris Belka of Sparrows Offshore Services

Chris began his lifting engineering career in 2010 on an intensive trainee scheme, direct from school. Displaying a keen drive to learn and develop during this period, after a time Chris  was authorised to lead his own offshore thorough examination scopes. Chris worked his way through the ranks and was awarded the position of Senior Examiner on a contract for a significant marine / heavy lift company. Throughout his career, Chris has been self-driven and excelled in his personal development. He has successfully achieved several LEEA Diplomas / Advanced Programmes and is now enrolled in the ‘Supporting Structures Diploma.’ Chris is recognised as an important asset to the company and a credit to the Lifting Equipment Industry.

The judges said: “Chris has shown his technical capabilities and prowess in the inspection industry, and is a credit to Sparrows Offshore Services”… “Impressed with the range of his skills, knowledge and technical competence gained in such a short time”… “This makes me proud to be part of our industry, Chris appears to go above and beyond.”

Runner up: Paul Culham of Sunbelt Rentals.

The Lifting Operation Award recognises an incredible lifting operation. The award is aimed at engineering teams that have completed lifting that has defied challenges such as space, inclement weather, height, size or weight.

The winner is: MGF/Ainscough (Anfield Stadium) – MGF/Ainscough.

An incredible piece of lifting, the project involved joining the Anfield Road extension to the existing Main Stand to increase the Liverpool FC stadium’s seating capacity by 7000 seats.

MGF/Ainscough (Anfield Stadium)

Logistical challenges to prepare the pitch with suitable protection mats for the crawler crane positioning, access for scores of HGV and emergency access vehicles were overcome using 3D planning imagery. The crane headroom for this challenging lift was as low as 100 mm and there was a restricted crane travelling distance of 800 mm. Special lifting beams and frames were designed and manufactured specifically for this project. This was an immensely complex lifting operation, well planned and managed by a multi-disciplined team.

The judges said: “Clear evidence of a complex lift with meticulous planning involved”… “Outstanding planning and operation of a tricky lift, both getting the old roof cut and lowered, and raising the new roof with very small margins of error”.

Runner Up: Dominic Morgan of Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy.

The Rising Star Award – Sponsored by Bridger Howes goes to a colleague, wherever they are in the business, who is showing real excellence, with evidence of excellent performance, demonstrable progress and high expectations for the future.

The winner is: Mark McClure of WH Scott & Son Engineers.

Mark’s consistent performance always exceeds expectations. His great work ethic, with an attention to detail, inspires other engineers at the company. A conscientious employee with excellent communication skills, Mark is highly valued by the company, supporting and enabling others to succeed in the industry.

Mark McClure (WH Scott & Son Engineers) and Richard Howes (Bridger Howes)

The judges said: “Mark’s nomination is very strong, showcasing his dedication and professionalism. These attributes are perfect for a nominee of the Rising Star Award”… “Some good examples of excellence in safety leadership”.

Runner Up: Georgia Stevens of Sunbelt Rentals.

The Safety Award – sponsored by Rigging Services is aimed at any intervention that has clearly and directly made our industry safer, such as a new product, or internal processes that have effectively managed risk.

The winner is: Lifting Planning AidSheffield Forgemasters.

A web-based lifting calculator that ensures complete safety and correct selection / application of slings and other lifting gear using D/d (Diameter:diameter) ratio as a key parameter. This initiative has been rolled out across the company’s 64-acre spread of operations including: Melt Shop, Foundry, Forge, Machine Shops, Pattern Shop and Finishing areas. The initiative has virtually eliminated lifting gear failures since its inception, which is a very worthy contribution to eradicating fatalities and injuries in the lifting equipment industry.

Lifting Planning Aid – Sheffield Forgemasters, with Paul Fulcher (owner and Managing Director of Rigging Services) second from right.

The judges said: “A simple piece of process being applied to simplify lifting tasks and reduce errors in the calculation of sling loads”… “Loads such as this require very detailed lift planning and this system does exactly that”… “Creating such a lifting calculator must have improved safety and confidence in Forgemaster’s lifting operations”.

Runner Up: Adjustable Lifting CageSelect Plant Hire.

The Sustainable Award is for a member who has created a solution, service or product aimed at reducing environmental impact.

The winner is: Powertex ProductsLifting Solutions Group.

Powertex textile slings and lashings are made from recycled polyester. Traditionally, slings and lashings have been made of fossil-based virgin polyester yarn (VPY), with a high carbon footprint, but recycled polyester yarn reaches approximately 90% of the strength of VPY and by adding extra recycled yarn, the final results fully comply with all relevant standards and regulations, without compromising on quality or safety.

Powertex Products – Lifting Solutions Group

Research confirms that up to a staggering 75% decrease in CO2 emissions for round and webbing slings is achieved when using recycled polyester. Web-lashings contain metal components that contribute to the larger share of its total CO2 emissions. Still, the total production of recycled polyester web-lashings sees a 42% reduction in its carbon footprint.

The judges said: “Fantastic to see Powertex has introduced a sling that can be made from recycled material and still meet standards. Hopefully we will see more of these across the industry”… “Clear reduction in waste by reusing fibres to make new slings”… “Powertex is using recycled materials to produce webbing and round slings, and achieving a reduction in carbon footprint.”

Runner Up: Inspection Tag Recycling SolutionsStenhouse.

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