The Catering Insight Lifetime Achievement Award pays homage to an individual who has devoted their entire career to the catering equipment sector and given outstanding service to the industry.
That can certainly be said of this year’s recipient, Bill Downie, MD of Meiko UK, who began his catering equipment sector career back in 1977 with John Kelly & Son (Kitchen Engineers) under the guidance of Bob Macnab, before moving to Dubai late in 1979 as general manager of Al Otaiba Foodservice Equipment.
Returning to the UK in 1986, and after a brief spell as a hotel owner in his native Scotland, he was persuaded back into the catering equipment industry in 1988 when he became MD of supplier Carron Strands.
He worked on an agency basis with Meiko, where he was destined to spend nearly 23 years as the UK MD.
Retiring next April, Downie has overseen Meiko UK’s growth from its launch in 1994 with 10 employees to today’s 88 staff members.
Friends and industry colleagues have deluged Catering Insight with praise and well wishes for Downie, saying that he has been ‘unfaltering in his support’ and that ‘his industry knowledge, encouragement, friendship and generosity is limitless’. He will be profoundly missed from the industry after April.