A manager of a Shropshire-based lubricants company, which is celebrating its 150th birthday this year, has won a prestigious national award for the industry.
Owen Lloyd, 27, from Shrewsbury, capped a memorable year personally by being named the United Kingdom Lubricants Association (UKLA) Young Employee of the Year. He is the first employee of Shrewsbury-based Morris Lubricants, one of Europe’s leading independent lubricants companies, to win a UKLA award for 19 years.
The accolade follows Owen’s promotion to group purchasing manager at Morris Lubricants and its sister company GB Lubricants in Gateshead earlier this year.
One of the first two graduates to join Morris Lubricants’ new graduate recruitment programme in in 2016, Owen spent a year working in different departments to gain a greater understanding of the company and how the business operates in home and international markets.
He then secured a full-time role as a buyer in the company’s procurement team and was promoted earlier this year.
Having achieved the UKLA Certificate of Lubricant Competence, he has also completed a Diploma with the Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply. This course has covered areas such as the business needs in procurement and supply, negotiating contracts and managing supplier relationships.
Over the next year, Owen will look to achieve Chartered Membership by completing further modules, such as global commercial strategies and future challenges for the profession, which will help him with his new role and further his professional development.
“It was fantastic but a real surprise to win the award alongside my colleagues and peers within the industry,” said Owen, an agricultural engineering graduate of Harper Adams University. “It is nice to be recognised for the work I’ve done.
“Morris Lubricants has been investing in training for myself and other young employees for many years and it’s great that the company has given me such a responsible role within the company. Now I have an opportunity to help other new graduates develop into the industry.”
Owen is responsible for buying all the raw materials from around the globe for Morris Lubricants and GB Lubricants. “I really enjoy not only working with everyone at Morris Lubricants, but also dealing with our suppliers who are based around the world,” he said.
“Despite the uncertainty around Brexit, the company is looking forward to an exciting future. Technology is ever-changing in this industry and we will have to adapt to consumer trends – as we have done successfully for the last 150 years – and continue to search for new opportunities worldwide. Our exports have been very successful and now account for one third of our business.”
Speaking about the Young Employee of the Year award, Deborah Grigg, manager of UKLA Secretariat, said: “All the applicants were very strong this year, so Owen did exceptionally well to be the overall winner.”
Morris Lubricants’ managing director Chris Slezakowski described Owen as a great ambassador for the company who had influenced several key strategic business decisions.
“Owen has set an exemplary example as one of the first graduates introduced to our company and his success has driven the decision to recruit another intake of young employees. He will be heavily involved with the training and mentoring of the new graduates and has expressed a desire to inspire them to be future leaders of Morris Lubricants, which he himself aspires to become.
“I believe that Owen is not only a key member of our team but will also be influential in leading our business and overcoming the future challenges of our industry, about which he is passionate.”