This category is presented every year to one or more individuals known for their hard-work, loyalty and devotion to duty.
In many cases, the ‘unsung heroes’ are the ones who keep the wheels turning against all the odds; no transport operator can do without such people – even though they often slave away for years with no recognition save their own satisfaction in a service delivered and a job well done. In other cases, the heroes are people who help the wider industry through their work for supporting companies and organisations.
In 2010, there were two winners.
Elaine Hanglin, Hardings International
Elaine has worked in the industry for over 20 years and currently is currently employed as a Group Sales Manager. People over the years who have had the chance to work with her will see somebody who is extremely passionate about the job and what it involves, spending time on very detailed research to make every group’s tour that bit special.
Dedication and attention to detail is second to none, working above and beyond the call of duty, to ensure every tour runs like clockwork.
Elaine's dedication is shown by her commitment to travel with most of the groups she works with, and she becomes the tour manager/courier, overseeing the smooth running of each tour for her group. Her boss told us, “if we could clone her we would....over the years, she has given many people fantastic holidays, weekends away and day trips."
The judges thought that Elaine's dedication and hard work offered a perfect illustration of what they meanby an 'unsung hero'- the thousands of staff whose effort and eye for detail make the industry work and deliver quality service to the millions of passengers carried by coaches every year.
Mark Hollis, National Express Limited
Mark is a guy who’s really at the sharp end of the coach travel. His job is to manage a service support centre that looks after the smooth running of the huge network of express services. The centre is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week and is responsible for the 1300 departures that the company runs every day.
The centre is the first point of call for drivers in trouble and for customers, especially outside office hours. He is a communicator, a change specialist and somebody who generates respect from everyone he deals with.
In nominating him for this award, National Express praised Mark's dedication and hard work, particularly during the bad weather this winter - and the time, effort and commitment he puts in to the safe and reliable running of a national coach network.
The judges were very impressed indeed by the nomination provided for Mark by his bosses at National Express: he is clearly doing a fantastic job in a hugely demanding role. They were particularly taken by Mark's efforts - often outside office hours - to improve the standard and style of reporting within the company - so helping communications between the planners and the marketeers and those running the service at the sharp end: invaluable feedback, which will help to improve the reliability and quality of National Express services even more in future.
Who could be nominated?
Any person working for a coach operator continuously for the last 12 months, who can show service in a management and/or supervisory role of more than five years.
… and by whom?
Readers of Coach and Bus Week magazine were asked to nominate people within their own organisation or with another operator who, in their view, qualified for this recognition.