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, Steve Loughton, who has spent an incredible 45 years at the cutting edge of the catering equipment sector.
He began his journey at Garland Catering Equipment, spending 23 years learning his craft and working his way through the ranks.
Subsequently he had stints as managing director of companies including Kitchen Brains, Caterparts, Welbilt, Standex, Jestic and Hoshizaki – his resume reads like a who’s who of major catering equipment manufacturers and suppliers.
Those who have known him throughout the years confirm that he has made a massive contribution to the industry (including being the longest serving CESA chairman in recent history), that he has been a pleasure to work with – kind, sincere, always offering nuggets of wisdom, and indeed that he is a ‘legend’.
Even though he officially retired just last month, he remains firmly connected to the industry through his own business and mentoring consultancy firm.
Following a standing ovation, Loughton said: “There are a huge number of people in this room that have helped me to achieve what I have achieved within the industry.
“Companies and individuals that I’ve worked with, dealers that have supported companies I have worked for and supported me, sometimes through some pretty tough times, I thank every one of you.”
Paying tribute to the catering equipment sector as a “fantastic industry”, he hopes “to be around for a while yet, helping and mentoring people to realise their full potential”.
Furthermore, he generously praised Catering Insight, saying: “For many years we in the industry were asking publishers to give us coverage and magazines for the equipment side of the industry and they never would, they said it wasn’t worth it. So congratulations to these guys for doing just that.”