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Wonder Women: Female hardware experts lead the way at this year’s Institute Awards 

For the first time in the Institute of Architectural Ironmongers’ (IAI) history, all of the winners at the IAI Awards are female architectural ironmongers.

The best industry professionals and most promising newcomers within the international door hardware industry were recognised at an IAI awards ceremony on 28 April.

The IAI Fellowship Award is always given to an individual who has shown a longstanding and ongoing commitment to the IAI over at least 10 years, and who is still actively involved within the industry and Institute.

This year’s winner was Teresa McQuay, managing director at JEB Supplies. Teresa was presented with the Fellowship Award for her commitment to staff training and development through the Guild of Architectural Ironmongers’ (GAI) education programme.

After completing the GAI Diploma herself and becoming a Registered Architectural Ironmonger (RegAI) in 2005, reaching the highest level of professionalism in the door hardware industry, Teresa continued to work closely with the GAI to encourage others to gain the globally recognised qualification. Every member of customer facing staff at Teresa’s company now holds the GAI Diploma.

The Paul Lewis Award for Customer Service is given to an individual, group or company that has made an outstanding commitment to customer services throughout the year. The award is sponsored by Royde & Tucker, and this year went to Sarah Lewis, specification manager at Lorient.

Sarah was chosen as the winner because of her commitment to educating customers about the importance of fire door hardware. Part of this involves visiting architects, specifiers and builders’ merchants across the country delivering CPD presentations.

The GAI Award for Services to the Institute is always awarded to a current IAI member who has made a recent and visible contribution at branch level. This year’s winner was Amanda Haley, technical and marketing director at Ian Firth Hardware.

Amanda has been involved with both the Institute and the Guild since 2001. When she completed her GAI Diploma she became a member of the north west IAI branch and has been delivering CPD presentations to its members for over 10 years. Amanda is now chair of the branch.

The Promising Ironmonger of the Year award went to Samantha Thatcher, office and marketing manager at SDS London.This award is given to the brightest ironmongers in the early stages of their careers. They could be involved in scheduling, estimating, sales or a combination of them all, and the award also recognises they have the charisma and personality to inspire others.

Samantha joined SDS London in 2011 with no knowledge of ironmongery. She has gone on to demonstrate her commitment to learning by recently completing the GAI Diploma and regularly attending IAI branch meetings. Samantha is now the customer service office manager in charge of a team of six, while also maintaining the social media and email marketing of the company.

Jo Milne-Rowe, the newly appointed chair of the IAI, said;

“Year upon year we see the remarkable levels of commitment shown by the Institute members. It is a joy to celebrate the outstanding individuals that we have in our industry and use them to give the next generation of ironmongers something to aspire to.”

The IAI Awards were given at a dinner following the Institute’s AGM, an event that also included CPD opportunities for Institute members and an Ironmongers’ Village area with new door hardware products on display.