A hush fell across the room in the Concert Hall, Reading, as three departmental stars waited nervously to discover who would be crowned Reading Buses ‘Star of the Year’ for 2017.
A deafening roar greeted the announcement that the judges had chosen Maks Pruszewicz, 56 from Calcot, as ‘Star of the Year’ in a closely fought contest.
Maks, who was named ‘driving star of the year’ for showing ‘outstanding care’ towards a young lady taken ill on his bus as well as his overall excellent everyday performance, was in competition with two other departmental stars, Will Dawson, who was named ‘engineering star of the year’, and Michelle Westwell, ‘support star of the year’.
Congratulating all three departmental stars, Martijn Gilbert, Reading Buses Chief Executive Officer, said it was also ‘well done’ to everyone attending the celebration.
“You have all been invited due to the fantastic work you have done over the last year,” said Martijn. “We are delighted to be able to recognise that with this special ceremony.
“Maks is a fantastic choice for star of the year and he will be our ambassador over the next 12 months, helping to represent us at industry events as well as out on the road, being his usual cheerful self.”
Maks was noted by all members of the management team for showing ‘unrelenting’ customer focus each and every day as well as being caring towards colleagues and the company.
Will, 21, from Tilehurst, was named engineering star of the year for his outstanding commitment to customer service and excellence in engineering.
He was praised for his ‘great all-round can-do’ attitude and working to an exceptional level over the festive period. Will won star of the month in both January and July.
Michelle 47, from Winnersh, was named support star of the year for her commitment to continuous improvement in payroll processes, internal customer focus and resolving external issues with creativity and tenacity.
She won her star of the month award in February after resolving some tricky issues and making sure the problem was resolved ready to make the payroll deadline.
Each star was announced to the assembly and presented with a commemorative certificate and gift as a roll call charted the stars through the year.
For the first time, the Reading Buses celebration of their workforce was held at the Concert Hall in Reading town centre. And this year, as well as being joined by His Right Worshipful The Mayor of Reading, Councillor Mohammed Ayub, and Reading Buses Chairman, David Sutton, the group was joined by Reading FC legend, Michael Gilkes – a gesture to support the partnership between Reading Buses and Reading FC.
The glittering ceremony recognises those employees who have achieved something ‘amazing’, with retirees, long-servers, charity fundraisers, volunteers and people gaining qualifications, all present.
But stars of the month, including Maks, Will and Michelle, took centre stage.
The event was generously sponsored by Reading Buses partners Gas Bus Alliance, Scania, Optare, Dawsons Rentals, Nimbus, Ticketer and Altro Flooring.