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‘Vehicle Recycling Excellence’ Awards for ALL

The Vehicle Recycling Excellence Awards (VREA) is well on the way to looking like it will be a terrific event on the 4th November 2022. To make this possible involves working with an experienced team in creating such great events. ATF Professional (ATF Pro) speaks to VREA co-founder and Managing Director of Stratford Projects, Matthew Davies (MD), who reveals a refreshingly candid view of what the Awards are setting out to achieve, and the aim to make them open to any size of company. In addition, he allays those normal fears about confidentiality and the judging process.


‘Vehicle Recycling Excellence’ Awards for ALL MD
Matthew Davies

ATF Pro: Thanks for meeting up, Matthew … albeit virtually … and I’m pleased we can take time to talk about the new Vehicle Recycling Excellence Awards. Would you like to paint a picture of what the Awards are all about and where you think they will be in, say, five years’ time?

MD: As you know, though your readers may not, my company is expert in business celebration. Sounds a bit pompous, but it simply means that we are very good at identifying gaps in the market, conceiving new projects and bringing successful business awards to market in celebration of the innovation and skills found in business sectors.  

The essence of a successful business awards project can be found in the simple idea of “community”. Around every successful awards project, you can find a mutually appreciative group of companies pursuing similar levels of excellence and innovation in their sector. Vehicle recycling is very typical of an industry sector community keen to move forward, raising standards, improving and retaining great personnel, and building performance.

We have launched the Vehicle Recycling Excellence Awards to gain a foothold in a fast-developing sector, where new challenges are faced and overcome daily through enterprise and innovation. There is no equivalent awards project currently in the sector, and by establishing this foothold, we give ourselves the opportunity of building the Awards over the next five years, making them the pre-eminent awards in the UK market. 

ATF Pro: Sponsors seem to be interested in what you are doing. Do you believe you have got the timing right for the Awards?

MD: I do. I think the sector is ready for a set of awards dedicated to recognising and celebrating what the industry is doing. We were delighted that ATF Professional wanted to recognise exceptional individuals – whether they were Unsung Heroes, Rising Stars or the Outstanding Individual of the Year. e2e Total Loss Vehicle Management then snapped up the Headline sponsorship and the presentation of the Gold award, closely followed by Ward sponsoring the Salvage Company of the Year category. We have a number of other potential sponsors discussing opportunities. However, there are still further opportunities to sponsor – whether that’s as a category sponsor, or maybe reception sponsor, or simply a sponsored table. If anyone is interested, they can visit the Sponsors page on the Awards’ website ( 

ATF Pro: We’ve talked to many companies about the Awards, and they have voiced both praise for the initiative and concerns over certain aspects. In particular, smaller companies fear that the judges may overlook them when their entries are compared with those of larger operations. Have you considered scale in your planning?

MD: It’s an understandable concern and, yes, we have considered it. Simply, no entry is worth less than any other. Equally simply, the judges will be appointed based upon their experience, their expertise, and their ability to view each entry in its proper context. It may be that the judges will want to decide that there could be more than one winner in a category, reflecting both scale and context. 

We want every company to believe they stand a chance of winning if they have achieved something of real note during the eligibility period, which runs from November 2020 until April 2022 – an eighteen-month period. What’s more, we have recognised scale in the Silver award for Outstanding Company, Initiative or Achievement of the Year, using headcount to define smaller, mid-size or larger companies.

ATF Pro: Judging itself posed a concern for some companies we’ve spoken to since the Awards were announced. Who will they be? How fair will the judging be? And how can sensitive information be restricted?

MD: On all the awards projects I’ve worked on I don’t think that I have ever launched a set of awards without these questions being raised. And they are good questions that I’ll try and answer reassuringly.

First, we choose judges of high standing with impeccable reputations. They are active in the sector and are the people that anyone in vehicle recycling will respect. The judges will be both UK-based and from overseas markets.

Second, each judge has to comply with a code of conduct. They cannot discuss the entries with anyone else; they cannot vote for any entry with which they have or might have had an involvement, and they cannot disclose or discuss the decisions made by the judges. If a representative of a sponsor company is a judge, they are not allowed to vote for any entry in the category they are sponsoring.

Third, they must keep information confidential, and they agree to do that right from the start of judging. 

Overall, we are very proud of the impartiality of the judging process, and anybody who intends to enter can feel confident that the judging is fair to all.

ATF Pro: What suggestions do you have when it comes to submitting an entry form for consideration by the judges, and what advice can you give?

MD: The purpose of the written document is to allow every entering company to tell their story, in their words, in their own way. We try not to be overly prescriptive, but we do give light guidance in each category description – and I’m grateful to the editorial team at ATF Professional for helping us add that guidance. 

There are also dropdown pages from the Categories tab on the Awards website (, which explain how to enter in simple terms and give useful advice on how to prepare an entry. The old adage that “every picture is worth a thousand words” holds good for awards entries. Judges really do appreciate both good photographs and video sequences that illustrate entries, so I can’t emphasise enough how important it is to provide good quality visual material in support of an entry.

We are aware that preparing a good, written entry is a skill and, for those companies who feel they need that extra help, there are companies that specialise in preparing submission documents. Boost Marketing is one such company, and while we have no financial involvement with them, we do recommend them on our website for their independent advice on entries.

If you would like further guidance, please feel free to get in touch with us at the Awards office on 01789 777612 or ATF Professional on 01432 355099.

ATF Pro: You mentioned categories earlier, and I wonder if you could clarify how the category list was arrived at?

MD: Creating a new awards project is a bit like taking an empty bowl and adding all the ingredients you think might make for a great recipe for success. But we are not expert in vehicle recycling – we are expert in running awards. We had to look for advice to make sure that we were tipping the right ingredients into the bowl, not just any old stuff. That advice, as you know, has come from the editorial team at ATF Professional, and we are very grateful for it.

The advice from ATF Professional made us look carefully at the list of categories and the terminology we were using. I think we originally had around 30 categories, which steadily reduced down to the 15 we have currently. Then we added some Silver awards that can only be made by the judges, which look at individuals that deserve special recognition and at outstanding companies in the sector, whether they are small, medium or large organisations. But it’s the entries in those 15 industry categories that are important. Without them, there will be no Silver or Gold awards.

ATF Pro: Those are reassuring words, Matthew, so thank you for providing the additional information. I know you’ve been in the Awards world for a long time and I just wonder what it is that makes awards celebrations so enduring?

MD: I have run over 1,000 awards events in my career, and the human desire to be recognised for achievement glows brighter now than ever. Alastair Campbell, Tony Blair’s scourge of the media, once said this to a business audience. While he was in the Government, he despised the idea of business awards as being gratuitous, mutual pats on the back for old mates. It was only when he left Government that he realised business awards were an effective antidote to mediocrity and served a truly useful purpose in raising standards.

Everybody likes to be a winner: everybody likes to take that proud walk on stage to receive their award; and everybody likes the afterglow of success.

I believe the Vehicle Recycling Excellence Awards will do a thoroughly good job of raising standards and recognising innovation, enterprise and performance across the sector and I wish every entrant huge success.

‘Vehicle Recycling Excellence’ Awards for ALL p

To find out more about the Vehicle Recycling Excellence Awards please visit or call Helen Warrilow at the Awards office on 01789 777612 or ATF Professional on 01432 355099.

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The views and opinions expressed on ATF Professional are solely those of the original authors and other contributors. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of the editor, publisher or staff of ATF Professional.



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Owain Griffiths

Owain Griffiths

Head of Circular Economy at Volvo Cars

Owain joined Volvo Cars in June 2021 to lead Circular Economy in the Global Sustainability Team. The company has committed to being a circular business by 2040 and has financial, recycled content and CO2 based targets for 2025, all of which Owain is working across the company to make happen. Owain previously worked for circular economy consultancy Oakdene Hollins where he advised businesses on evidence led circular economy implementation. 

Turning into a circular business and the importance of vehicle reuse and recycling.

The presentation will cover the work Volvo Cars is doing to achieve 2025 but mainly focus on the transformational work towards 2040 and the business and value chain changes being considered. Attention will be paid to the way vehicles are being dealt with at the end of life and the complexities of closing material and component loops. Opportunities and challenges which Volvo Cars is facing will be presented including engagement with 3rd parties and increasing pressure from stakeholders.