Joanne Probert of The Orchid Group and Joe Smith of Enterprise Inns have been named area manager and business development manager of the year in the ALMR’s Operations Managers Awards. A third award, of highly commended, in the category of business development manager, was made to Simeon Baker of Punch Taverns, in recognition of the qualities displayed throughout the awards process. ALMR Chief Executive, Nick Bish, announced the winners in front of more than 200 ALMR members and senior industry executives at the Association’s Autumn Event at the Royal Armouries, Leeds on 25 September. The two winners impressed the judges not only with their professionalism, industry knowledge and resourcefulness but also their ability to build effective teams and to get the most from their people to build the business. “Every year I say that the Operations Managers Awards process gets tougher and the quality of the finalists and winners gets higher,” said Bish. “This year’s results confirm this. “This competition is the toughest in the whole of the licensed sector, and must be one of the most exacting across any industry. The finalists’ have worked through a tough Entry Paper, have been accompanied and assessed for a whole day ‘in the field’ and finally been closely questioned by three panels of industry leaders. “In the middle of this is the three-day MasterClass, held at Ashridge Management College, and this provides the finalist with a bespoke training and development course that builds the business and leadership skills of all of the finalists.” Bish added: “The role of operations manager is one of the most demanding in the sector and crucially so in the difficult business climate we are facing now. These Awards seek out and recognise the abundance of talent that the industry has. "The individuals we have seen are packed with energy, flair and an utter commitment to the success of their businesses – be they managed or leased. “With Joanne and Joe, we have two outstanding winners of the prestigious ALMR Operations Managers Awards,” Bish concluded.