SQMC announces quality awards for inspirational women “turning lead into gold”

As part of its World Quality Day celebrations, SQMC presented awards to two inspirational women working in the field of quality management.

As part of its World Quality Day celebrations on 13th November, the Scottish Quality Management Centre (SQMC) presented awards to two inspirational women from Inverness and Prestwick, both working in the field of quality management.

SQMC held its third-annual awards ceremony at its Dunfermline headquarters. The ‘Quality Professional of the Year’ award recipient was Shona Lynn, Quality Manager from Gael Force Marine Equipment based in Inverness. A new award the ‘Lead Auditor Student of the Year’ for session 2012-2013 was presented to Gail McKendrick from GE (Caledonian), based in Prestwick.

Originally from Glasgow, Shona has been a quality auditor for more than 20 years for companies including Halcrow and Johnson & Johnson. She has worked for Gael Force Marine for four years, single handedly setting up a quality management system for the firm which has 14,000 products on its books, enabling them to receive ISO 9001 accreditation with plaudits from the certification awarding body.

Gael Force Marine has been operating since 1983 and supplies marine equipment to markets throughout the UK and Europe. The company employs 150 people across four different sites and has recently acquired Varis Engineering based in Forres, a leading provider of marinas and pontoons, which will now be known as Gael Force Varis.

Shona now spends three days a week in Forres leading the transition for Gael Force Varis to Gael Force Marine’s management systems, processes and procedures and ensuring that ISO 9001 standards are maintained.

Presenting the award to Shona, Karen MacKenzie, Director of Programmes at SQMC said: “Shona was one of SQMC’s first students on the Lead Auditor course and is a commendable example of a quality professional. She truly deserves this recognition for all of her hard work as the only quality manager in her organisation, driving forward best practice, establishing the quality system, helping to secure ISO 9001 accreditation and continuing to maintain and monitor the relevant processes so that the firm retains its ISO 9001 accreditation. She really is like an alchemist, tuning lead into gold!”

“I recommended Shona for this award because of the exceedingly high standard of her work across a very diverse portfolio and multiple sites.”

Shona said: “I am very surprised and touched to receive this award from SQMC. It is a bit surreal as I started my quality training with SQMC more than 20 years ago. It’s always a pleasure to work with SQMC as, unusually, they provide ongoing support to students and Karen is always at the end of the phone if I need some advice. The fact that the training is delivered in layman’s terms and in a very practical and useful way is a real bonus.

“I would like to recognise the efforts of Stewart Graham, Managing Director and owner of Gael Force Marine for his support throughout the process of ISO 9001 accreditation as this was very valuable to me in getting things done.”

Gail McKendrick from GE Caledonian based near Prestwick airport was awarded the Lead Auditor Student of the Year prize in its inaugural year for her exceptional work and 98% pass mark on the final exam.

Gail has worked at GE Caledonian since 2011 when she completed the internal auditor course provided by SQMC. Gail is a Quality Auditor Engineer who coordinates the GE site to comply with several industry regulations including ISO standards, as well as standards for 13 aviation regulating bodies. She has recently moved into the role of Documentation and Conformance Leader with responsibility for 35 staff.

Gail completed her Lead Auditor training in March 2013 and said:

“Since completing the Lead Auditor course, my knowledge of the standard has been strengthened and I have gained confidence in the audit techniques previously developed through internal audit training.”

Karen MacKenzie concluded: “Gail was an outstanding student and her coursework was of an excellent standard. She demonstrated an exceptional understanding throughout the course, of management systems auditing – her performance in the exam was a reflection of that and her paper was a pleasure to read and mark!”

GE Caledonian has a history of more than 30 years and overhauls commercial aircraft engines from around the globe for well-known carriers such as Thomson and Qatar Airways.

Following the presentations, SQMC Technical Director, Ron Rivans hosted a briefing session entitled “ISO 9001 – What to Expect in 2015”. This two hour event provided a useful insight into how the significant changes planned for the upcoming revision to ISO’s most famous quality standard is likely to affect quality auditors when it comes into force.

SQMC is a unique British training organisation and, over 25 years, has progressed from being a think-tank of Stirling University’s Management Science faculty to become one of Europe’s leading providers of Quality Management Systems qualifications, globally accredited by the International Register of Certificated Auditors (IRCA).

Some of SQMC’s longstanding clients include Wolfson Microelectronics, Diageo, Caterpillar, FMC Technologies, Marine Harvest and Raytheon Systems.