Meet the Judges

 

Mike Isherwood

Managing Director at APD Communications

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Mike Isherwood

APD Communications

Mike has worked in the IT and Telecommunications industries throughout his career. He has used technology to help both commercial and pubilc sector organisations to reduce cost, increase efficiency and deliver better operational outcomes. As a control room geek, Mike loves being in control rooms and helping them to save lives through technology. 

Why did you want to be a judge for the Control Room Awards

Because I want to learn about and recognise the amazing people within emergency services' control rooms in the UK.  And I want to help celebrate their life saving and life changing achievements.

What did you most enjoy about participating as a judge in the Control Room Awards?

Reading through the entries.  It was great to see such passion shining through from organisations, managers, and colleagues to recognise amazing achievements from dedicated and passionate colleagues. 

What were the biggest challenges as a judge in the Control Room Awards?

Some of the stories were heartbreaking.  And trying to choose between amazing and slightly more amazing is pretty hard to do… 

What are you most looking forward to on the evening of the Control Room Awards? 

Meeting the people behind the stories!

What would you like to say to everyone who has been nominated or shortlisted for an award?

You’re AWESOME!  And THANK YOU for your amazing work and tireless service.


Sue Noyes

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Sue Noyes

The Ambulance Staff Charity

Chair of the national Ambulance Staff Charity and former Chief Executive of East Midlands Ambulance Service

Sue has had a long career in the NHS. A Chartered Accountant by background, she has worked as Finance Director in a variety of  NHS organisations, and then became Chief Executive at EMAS in 2013, where she lead an organisation-wide transformation programme. Some of her proudest legacies are in relation to the development of staff support networks. 

Having built a portfolio career over the last two years, she is now Chair of two charities, including the national Ambulance Staff Charity and Coventry College, a newly merged further education college. Sue is also a Lay member at her local CCG, and is launching her own personal coaching business later this year. She is passionate about working with, and supporting those, in the public and charity sectors. 

Why did you want to be a judge for the Control Room Awards

I was delighted when I was asked to become a judge for the awards – it was an opportunity to be part of an event which really honours the invaluable work done by control room staff.

What did you most enjoy about participating as a judge in the Control Room Awards?

I felt we worked really well together as a team – it was a great day, good humoured, but with a common drive to honour the work of our control room staff. It was remarkable how quickly we gelled as a team!

What were the biggest challenges as a judge in the Control Room Awards?

The sheer scale of the challenge – so many outstanding examples of selfless public service, either individual incidents, or over a long career – It was impossible to read all the entries and not be moved by what these amazing people had done. A very humbling experience.

What are you most looking forward to on the evening of the Control Room Awards? 

Im really looking forward to meeting the shortlisted nominees – I think particularly those where there is a connecting thread between them, for example those services who worked collaboratively on some of the major incidents we suffered last year. It will be a very, very memorable evening.

What would you like to say to everyone who has been nominated or shortlisted for an award?

Thank you so much for all you have done – your contribution has made a difference to the lives of individuals, some of whom would no longer be here if it weren’t for your bravery, compassion and professionalism. Be very proud of what you have achieved – we are very proud of you.


Ian Thompson

CEO at British APCO

Ian was a police officer for 30 years, retiring in July 2016 after service with Thames Valley Police and North Yorkshire Police.

His service was a mix of operational and project roles based around the use of technology in the service.  Ian worked in several control rooms during his career, starting with local control rooms, through divisional rooms and eventually in the much larger Force Control Room where he spent time as the Control Room Manager and in the role of Force Incident Manager.

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Ian Thompson

British APCO

One of the highlights of Ian's career was as a sector commander for the Tour de France 2014 when the first stage, the Grand Depart, took place in Yorkshire.  An enormous amount of planning and work went into a great couple of days, which Ian spent in a temporary control room, while friends, family and colleagues enjoyed the event in the fine weather.

Why did you want to be a judge for the Control Room Awards

BAPCO is all about working to improve public safety technology for everybody.  Our members are people who work in Public Safety, many of them in control rooms.  We know they are a vital part of keeping the public and their colleagues safe and in delivering the best service.  What they do often goes unrecognised. When we heard about the awards and APD’s passion for making them open to all, we wanted to support them in any way we could.  Being accepted as a judge is a great honour.

What did you most enjoy about participating as a judge in the Control Room Awards?

I enjoyed the opportunity to read all of the fantastic nomination forms and to consider the stories they told. It made me remember what an important role people have in control rooms and the incredible strength of character and ability it takes to deal with the incidents we were told about. To be able to spend time talking about the nominations with my fellow judges was a real privilege.   

What were the biggest challenges as a judge in the Control Room Awards?

Knowing just how to ‘judge’ a nomination. What makes one person better than another? One incident more important than another? I had to think very carefully about how to assess a person’s actions, their situation and the impact they had on other people. It was like nothing I had ever done before.

What are you most looking forward to on the evening of the Control Room Awards? 

Celebrating the work of everybody in control rooms, including those who were nominated, and our brilliant finalists.  It will be fantastic to meet them all and their supporters, and to thank them for what they do. It will also be good to meet up again with my fellow judges and all of the people who have made the awards possible.   

What would you like to say to everyone who has been nominated or shortlisted for an award?

Thank you and congratulations. Be proud of what you do, who you work alongside and the service you provide. I know they will say they are ‘just doing their job’ and that makes them even more special.
 


Barry Zielinski

General Manager of Public Safety and Defence at telent

Barry left the Military in 1999 after nine years’ service in the 1st RHA Royal Artillery, and in that time, quickly reached the rank of Acting Sergeant. During this career, Barry was awarded the Best Gunner award, and for many years, he represented his regiment at both long distance running and rugby.

Having developed strong ICT skills, in 1999 Barry decided to leave the military and joined Marconi in its prime, and made the most of the millennium as a Senior ICT Engineer in London. In 2001, Barry helped win Marconi’s first major emergency services' ICT Services contract with Merseyfire & Rescue Service which, 17 years on, is still in place.

Despite the many challenges of Marconi becoming the much smaller telent business, it has continued to grow throughout his 19-year career, providing critical support services to the emergency services sector, specifically in the Command and Control and Airwave services arena to a national level. In 2015, Barry took on full responsibility for the running the Public Safety and Defence business as General Manager in telent, which he now successfully runs today with many emergency services customers.

Why did you want to be a judge for the Control Room Awards

On a day to day basis, and in a professional capacity, telent always supports the emergency services by what it provides. We don't always get the time to step back and appreciate the critical side of the service and recognise those that truly contribute to the safety of the public.  As such, I didn't want to miss the personal opportunity to do that in these first awards of their kind.  

What did you most enjoy about participating as a judge in the Control Room Awards?

I enjoyed reviewing the many fantastic nominations, and really appreciated the work that had been done by many of the nominators in defining these unsung heroes. I also enjoyed sharing joint views and reaching a collaborative decision on all finalists with my fellow judges who came from varied backgrounds.

What were the biggest challenges as a judge in the Control Room Awards?

Selecting the finalists from so many very emotional and heart-wrenching nominations. We really had to adhere to the criteria, even when you knew there was probably more to all cases.

What are you most looking forward to on the evening of the Control Room Awards? 

Personally meeting the finalists and replaying their individual nominations, and being part of the first event of its kind on the night of celebration.

What would you like to say to everyone who has been nominated or shortlisted for an award?

You should all be really proud of the fact you have been nominated for your individual contributions to the emergency services for the Control Room Awards. I would like to thank you all personally, and from telent, for the fantastic service that you continue to provide to the public on a day to day basis. Well done all!

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Barry Zielinski

Telent


Chris Dreyfus-Gibson

Vice Chairman at International Critical Control Rooms Alliance

Chris is a consultant with PA Consulting Group specialising in policing and critical control rooms, working with the emergency services, transport organisations, and the wider public and private sectors. Chris has a particular focus on contact management strategies and business design to support service delivery in organisations which deliver critical and public safety services.

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Chris Dreyfus-Gibson

ICCRA

Chris is a former senior police officer with experience in counter terrorism, operations and response policing, and was formerly Head of the Force Control Room for British Transport Police.

He is also the founding Vice Chairman of the International Critical Control Rooms Alliance. 

Why did you want to be a judge for the Control Room Awards

Control rooms are at the heart of mission critical organisations. Everything an organisation has to deal with in helping keep the public safe passes through skilled call handlers and despatchers. Very often they are the “first on scene” not only supporting those caught up in an incident, but also the frontline responders. 
But because they are invisible, their efforts often go unrecognised.

These awards are a great way to celebrate the amazing work and dedicated contribution of the unsung heroes of the control room.

What did you most enjoy about participating as a judge in the Control Room Awards?

The diversity and quality of nominations was truly inspiring; they were a real privilege to read. I have spent a lot of time in control rooms and have always noticed the close teamwork and camaraderie which is required to work in such a critical area. The nominations really brought this to life and it was a joy to read not just about particular incidents and events, but about how individuals have worked together, inspired, and supported each other.

What were the biggest challenges as a judge in the Control Room Awards?

Sifting nominations to a shortlist and selecting a single category winner was a really difficult task. Every category triggered quite lively debate on the judging panel. 

What are you most looking forward to on the evening of the Control Room Awards? 

The evening will be a time to celebrate some very significant contributions within control rooms and also in the wider community. I’m very much looking forward to being able to personally thank those who have been shortlisted. And I hope those attending will also find it a useful experience to network with other control room colleagues who share their passion and commitment to public service, which in the control room world we don’t get the opportunity to do often.

What would you like to say to everyone who has been nominated or shortlisted for an award?

We had over 200 nominations across all the categories. Being nominated shows the positive impact an individual has had on their colleagues; so that in itself is a wonderful achievement. It was a genuine challenge to narrow down the nominations, so all those who have made the shortlists should be immensely proud of themselves.  


Cheryl Rolph OBE

Former Assistant Chief Fire Officer and Director of Networking Women in the Fire Service 

Cheryl has worked in Fire and Rescue Service for 36 years, starting her career as a control operator before the onset of computers! She spent 17 years in a control environment, progressing to become a Senior Manager delivering control services, where she was extremely proud to serve both the community and the Fire and Rescue Service.

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Cheryl Rolph OBE

Networking Women in the Fire Service

Thereafter, Cheryl took a change of direction and went into Policy and Performance, before being appointed as an Assistant Chief Officer and then to Chief Executive on an interim basis, the first women and ‘non-uniformed’ leader of a Fire and Rescue Service. Over the past 17, Cheryl has taken the lead across a variety of areas including people references, HR training, learning & development, communications and occupational design.  Her biggest passions are people, their talents, their abilities, and their motivational factors, as well as the FRS.  Cheryl takes a great interest in diversity & inclusion, and since 1997, has been an active member and now Director of 'Women in the Fire Service'.

Having taken early retirement since a diagnosis of Breast cancer and M.S, Cheryl now uses her love of sport and fitness to raise vital funds for charity, whilst volunteering for Macmillan, being a school governor and training to be a celebrant.

Why did you want to be a judge for the Control Room Awards

I was extremely flattered to have been asked to undertake this role and proud to be the Firei and Rescue Service representative on the judging panel, which has a great breadth of experience amongst the blue light services.  

What did you most enjoy about participating as a judge in the Control Room Awards?

Reading through the nominations made me feel so proud and humble, seeing the differences and impact control staff had made to their communities, their colleagues and their individual services/forces.  I was also struck by how proud colleagues (and some members of the public) were who made the nominations.

What were the biggest challenges as a judge in the Control Room Awards?

Formulating a shortlist and deciding on a winner.  Whilst it might be a cliché, everyone who was nominated is a winner.  In the eyes of all the people who made the nominations, their nominee deserved the recognition of their contribution and/or act.  For me also, I participated in the judging panel remotely, and so I missed out on the live debate.

What are you most looking forward to on the evening of the Control Room Awards? 

Sadly, I won’t be able to join you all on the night due to previous commitments. However, had I been able to attend, the opportunity to publicly acknowledge the importance of control staff, who deliver an exceptional service in what is a very tough job. I hope the after party is good fun and that the publicity afterwards cements these awards as a permanent fixture in blue light services calendars.

What would you like to say to everyone who has been nominated or shortlisted for an award?

I would imagine that most, if not, all will say, ‘well we are part of a team’, or ‘it wasn’t just me’ or ‘I was just doing my job’ or some other self-deprecating or modest comment.  I would like you all to take a deep breath, feel the pride of being nominated/shortlisted or winning and recognise your worth.  As the unsung heroes in headsets, you are just as much front line, you are so worthy of this recognition.