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A cracking convention

A cracking convention

The recent Signs Express convention, which took place at the Radisson Blu hotel in Derby during November, was a bustling affair, combining a daytime conference with an evening awards ceremony.

The convention, which was themed around the concept: Working together to make the boat go faster!was sponsored by nine industry suppliers, including Amari, Epson, Metamark, Pinetree Enterprises, Sign Elite, Sign Making Tools, Sign Pro Systems, Trade Signs and Western Sign Systems, all of whom fielded stands around the conference room.

Deborah Hall, a journalist and broadcaster who has carved out a unique career in corporate business presentations and who presented an interactive format of seminars and thought provoking case studies, facilitated the day’s proceedings. Speakers included members of the Signs Express head office team and Anne Hitch from Signs Express (Peterborough), plus representatives of Amari, Epson, Metamark and Trade Signs, as well as Lee Devenish from Driver Hire, and Emerson Welch and Scott Banks from Touch Systems.

A lively and informative day, which everyone agreed had provided the best convention experience to date, was followed by an equally lively and enjoyable evening, that began with a champagne reception, followed by a gala dinner, and, after delegates and their guests had enjoyed a spectacular five course meal, it was time for the serious business of the evening – the presentation of seven awards.

This year saw the inauguration of a new award for productivity for which there were three nominees – the Signs Express centres in Harlow, Southampton and Falkirk, with Signs Express (Falkirk) scooping the award.

The next award, also new this year, was designed specifically to recognise innovation. The finalists this time were Signs Express centres in Glasgow, Peterborough and Lincoln, with Signs Express (Peterborough) being declared the winner in respect of the innovative ‘a map for all’ project’ that it completed on behalf of the RNIB

The most collaborative franchisee award enables franchisees to vote for a fellow franchisee and thus perfectly represents the ‘working together’ theme of the conference. Chris and Julie Hardy of Signs Express (Bedford) were delighted to receive the award along with with the other two finalists, Stuart Harrison of Milton Keynes and Matt Bevis from North East Lincs.

Signs Express’ Managing Director Craig Brown presented the most prestigious award, The Franchisee of the Year, to the Signs Express (North East Lincolnshire) Centre, which has enjoyed its best ever trading year, with Manchester and Warrington being named as the two runners-up.

There were also individual sign awards in three categories, which were judged by an independent panel comprising representatives from the BSGA, Epson, Metamark and Sign Directions.

Signs Express (Leeds) won the award for the Best Exterior Sign in respect of its work for the Royal College of Music, a project that the judges felt showed a high level of design ingenuity, firstly in the interpretation of the original brief for something ‘out of the ordinary’ and then by adapting the initial idea in line with budgetary restrictions, without losing any of the intended impact.

The winner of the Best Vehicle Graphic was Signs Express (Lincoln) who produced a host of individual but equally appealing liveries for PC Coaches’ fleet, which nonetheless all formed part of a cohesive whole.

The award for the Best Sign Project made Signs Express (Leeds) a double winner, as it further confirmed its ability to handle large jobs, as well as smaller ones, by enlisting the assistance of other Signs Express centres when necessary. Its work for Airedale involved the manufacture and installation of a multiplicity of signs, across different sites, while remaining true to the company’s corporate identity.

This year also marked the departure of Frank Eliel and David Corbett, the founding directors of Signs Express who are retiring after starting the company 24 years ago. Frank and David, who have left a strong legacy of success, paving the way for the new management team, comprising Craig Brown, Tony Marsh, Peter Sayles and Jonathan Bean. received rapturous applause and a standing ovation as they were called to the stage to receive a surprise parting gift of a super car track day.

Signs Express is already busily planning its 2014 event, which will be a double celebration, as it also marks the company’s 25th anniversary.

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