Mercedes-Benz Vans has recognised the top-performing people from across its dealer network who have helped to keep customers moving during the pandemic.
The brand’s annual awards were presented in a virtual format for the first time this year.
Broadcast live from a studio in Salford, the event was hosted by sport, radio and TV presenter Colin Murray.
Sharing the stage with him – but appropriately distanced – was Mercedes-Benz Vans managing director Steve Bridge, who bows out in January after 20 years with the company to take the helm at new Dealer eStar Truck & Van.
“The pandemic has presented a huge challenge for all of us, and tonight is all about thanking those heroes who have helped us get through it,” Bridge said. “We’re here to keep businesses moving, and the way we’ve supported our customer base through this crisis, during which 97% of our network remained open, has been absolutely phenomenal.”
Among those singled out for awards recognition were Gary Hawkins and Joe Toplis, both members of the parts team at South Wales dealer Euro Commercials. Hawkins took the Stronger Together prize after spotting another dealer’s late Friday night ‘shout out’ for help on the Van Stars platform and coming to its aid with urgently needed ambulance parts and technical advice. Toplis, meanwhile, received a Community Hero trophy for his efforts in collecting warm clothing and bedding on behalf of the homeless.
The Customer Dedication – National Fleet honours went to Carl Molineux, a general after sales manager at eStar Truck & Van, who received a glowing testimonial from customer Yodel for arranging the urgent repair of a number of its vehicles.
Mobile technician Matt Osborn, of Rygor Commercials, won the managing director’s Special Recognition Award for creating a makeshift bed in his van so he could remain on site and be instantly available to his hard-pressed customer when needed. As a reward for his commitment, Mercedes-Benz Vans will be providing Osborn with a new vehicle with special bed conversion.
Bridge added: “We are professionals and in recognition of the crucial importance of the transport sector were categorised by the Government as key workers. Indeed, you could even describe us as the fourth emergency service. Most companies will tell you the customer is at the centre of all they do, but Van Stars shines a light on those who really live by that commitment, day in day out. It’s a great privilege to honour our heroes of 2020.”
The full list of winners was:
Community Hero: Joe Toplis, Euro Commercials
Unsung Hero: Kate Ruberry-Shoemack, Rygor
Van Stars Champion: Lee Haworth, Ciceley Commercials
Stronger Together: Gary Hawkins, Euro Commercials
Customer Dedication – National Fleet: Carl Molineux, eStar Truck & Van
Customer Dedication – Independent Retail: Miles Tremlett, Intercounty Truck & Van
Team 2020: Motus (Orwell Truck & Van/S & B Commercials)
Managing Director’s Special Recognition: Matt Osborn, Rygor Commercials