Finalists revealed: Scottish Ex-Forces in Business Awards

Following delays caused by Covid-19, the world’s leading celebration of veterans in second careers is returning to Scotland. Today we reveal the finalists for these unique awards.



The finalists for the second annual Scottish edition of the Ex-Forces in Business Awards, the world’s largest celebration of veterans in second careers, are today revealed, showcasing the value that military-gained skills and values bring to employers in Scotland.

The thousands of servicemen and women who leave the Armed Forces each year create a rich pool of talent for employers, yet transitioning back to civilian life and establishing a meaningful second career can be challenging. Visibility of role models across different sectors is often lacking, and depictions of veterans in the media can fuel misconceptions. In a SSAFA study, three in ten UK hirers expressed reluctance at hiring a service leaver.

Since launching in 2018, the Ex-Forces in Business Awards has become a crucial initiative for promoting a more positive narrative of veterans as assets to employers across all sectors, and has led the way in increasing visibility of business role models for service leavers. Last year’s awards showcased the second-career achievements of 300 veterans and reservists at events in London and Glasgow attended by more than 1,400 business leaders and 450 employers, and raised over £60,000 for military charities.

Following delays caused by Covid-19, the prestigious awards programme is back on track. The 2020 edition of the British Ex-Forces in Business Awards took place in the O2 Arena on 23 June 2021, and the Scottish Ex-Forces in Business Awards will return to the DoubleTree by Hilton Glasgow’s Grand Ballroom on 19 August. It will be an especially special occasion as the first gathering of Scotland’s veterans community in 18 months.

“It’s been a very challenging year and a half for so many people, and we’ve all watched in awe as our amazing NHS and Armed Forces have come together to help the nation through the Covid-19 crisis,” said Ben Rossi, founder of the Ex-Forces in Business Awards. “The Armed Forces are particularly renowned for their resilience, which remains firmly embedded in service members as they embark on second careers. 

“We’re delighted that we’re now able to reignite our campaign to promote the exceptional, yet often overlooked, talent pool formed by military service leavers, and bring together the veterans and business communities once again, in a Covid Secure environment, to showcase the huge value our veterans add to Scottish business and the wider economy.”

The finalists were whittled down from over 260 nominations, with the winners being decided by an independent judging panel made up of 20 military veterans including Charlie Wallace, the Scottish Veterans Commissioner, Tim Allan, President of the Scottish Chambers of Commerce, and senior business leaders from major Scottish employers such as Edrington, Wood, BAE Systems, Addleshaw Goddard and Edinburgh Airport. SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity, is the official charity partner of the awards.

Lt. Gen. Sir Andrew Gregory, CEO at SSAFA, said: “SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity, is delighted again to be the charity partner of the Scottish Ex-Forces in Business Award, a unique and truly inspiring event. I congratulate all those who have been shortlisted for an award, you should all feel incredibly proud of yourselves.

“As a former Chief of Defence People, and now Chief Executive at a charity which operates a mentoring scheme for service leavers amongst its other vital services, I am very aware of the challenges that can be faced by service leavers during their transition, with employment a significant issue for many.  Hence It is very heartening to see so many employers acknowledging the skills and experiences of those who have served their country.”

The Finalists

ADVOCATE OF THE YEAR

Air Navigation Solutions
Andrew Farquhar, Amey
Daryl Benson, Talent Heroes / Squad
Emma Davies, Joint Force Alba
George Ross, Scottish Widows
Stuart Vine, BlackRock

BUSINESS LEADER OF THE YEAR

Alexander Murray, Heriot Watt University
Billy Myers, DTGEN
Bruce Thornton, North Air
Craig Strachan, BORR Drilling
Derek Petterson, PGC Group
Jim Yorston, Key Facilities Management International
William Filson, Baker Hughes

ENGINEERING EXCELLENCE AWARD

Duncan Robertson, Renewable Oil Services
Matthew Pendle, Marley 
Paul Cartmail, Tayside Aviation
Richard Robinson, Mott MacDonald 
Ryan Ciesielski, National Grid
Stephen Buchan, EV Offshore
Tim Sullivan, Roughan & O’Donovan

ENTREPRENEUR OF THE YEAR

Brett Townsley, Omniscient Safety Innovations 
Debbie Strang, Shetland Distillery Company 
Ian McGowan, Barrier Networks
Mark Armstrong, MA Ventures
Matthew Wardner, Inverroy Crisis Management
Richard Edwards, The R&D Community
Scott Weir, Pillow Property Partners 

INNOVATOR OF THE YEAR

Anthony Duncan, Edinburgh Health and Social Care Partnership
Craig Douglas, Simple Media Solutions
Douglas MacLachlan, Falcon Foodservice Equipment
Jeremy Pemberton-Pigott, Talent Strengths
Robert Diver, Praesidio

INSPIRATION OF THE YEAR

Christopher Boyle, Ensafe
David Mossop, E.ON
Kevin Downie, KDPS
Louise Ross, Dumfries and Galloway Council
Michael Burgess, Loganair
Michael Weir, The Scottish Parliament

MILITARY VALUES IN BUSINESS AWARD

Alec Mackenzie, Delta Management Group
John Duncan, Total Exploration and Production UK
Lynden Haywood, Fujitsu
Niven Phoenix, Kura Human Factors
Peter Yetton, Glasgow Caledonian University
Rennie Mitchell, Babcock International
Ross Richardson, Roadwise Driver Training CIC
Tim Wigham, Exceed

NEW SERVICE LEAVER OF THE YEAR

Gus MacLeod, JP Morgan Chase & Co.
Hayden Grant, HJG Removals 
Joshua Fernie, Gardline
Kevin Stocks, Johnstons of Elgin
Liam Clarke, PayPal
Robert Charrington, DHL Parcel

OUTSTANDING ACHIEVER OF THE YEAR

Alix Capper-Murdoch, Miss Auto Know
Brian McCarry, Flender
Craig Coupar, Edge Testing Solutions
Derek Roy, Brightsolid
Ian Jones, University of Aberdeen
Paul Gibson, Coretrax
Wes Boulstridge, University of Strathclyde

RISING STAR OF THE YEAR

Alan Dunkley, Emerson Automation Solutions
Ben James, Baillie Gifford
Dave Riley, Wincanton
Gareth Earle-Payne, Caledonian Sleeper
Kevin Young, Red ICT
Martin Wood, We Buy Any Car
Stephen Turner, ATL Turbine Services

ROLE MODEL OF THE YEAR

Brian Mercer, Semco Maritime
Justin Trick, CAE Defence and Security
Mark Hughes, DHL Parcel
Scott Findlay, Galliford Try
Shaun Moat, Moray Digital
Stephen Higginbottom, Viridor

TEAM LEADER OF THE YEAR

Brian Banks, Mowi Consumer Products
David Falla, M-Four 
Derek Jenkinson, RB Safety Consultants
Graham Redpath, HSO
Paul Johnston, Air Navigation Solutions
Rachael Pacey, Solab IT Services
Symon Needham, Clyde Training Solutions

YOUNG LEADER OF THE YEAR

Duncan Mackintosh, KTL
Nadia Wilson, Nordea Bank
Ross Day, Baker Hughes
Stephen Offord, Gael Force Group
Theo Jaeger, Assured Group

Previous