'Selfless' Mike recognised as industry star

Geoff Norcott, Host of the Utility Week Stars Awards, Kate Davies, Chief Operating Officer for EU Skills and Mike Sutherland from SSEN's Inverness depot being presented with his award

Geoff Norcott, Host of the Utility Week Stars Awards and Kate Davies, Chief Operating Officer of EU Skills present Mike Sutherland with the Supernova Award for Long Service, sponsored by Talent Source Network

Mike Sutherland from the Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) Inverness depot has been presented with Utility Week’s Supernova Award for Long Service in his 44th year of dedicated service and commitment to SSEN.

Joining as an apprentice in 1974, Mike, from Culbokie on the Black Isle, has worked in variety of roles across the Highlands as a linesman, a tree cutting project manager and, in his current role as Project Manager in the Network Construction team.

Mike’s commitment to going the extra mile to serve customers shone through at the awards ceremony in Manchester on Friday, with the annual event billed as ‘a celebration of the heroes of the utility sector who go above and beyond’.

Judges were struck by Mike’s efforts, particularly for vulnerable customers, and how he has consistently gone the extra mile. A spokesperson for the judges said:

“He is someone who thoroughly deserves to be recognised for the great contribution he has made to both the industry and the community. A wonderful role model and ambassador.”

Stories shared by Mike’s colleagues in his nomination for the award, include him digging out roads during a storm to deliver bottled gas and a generator to a terminally-ill customer; delivering flowers to a customer who had recently lost her husband, and caring for a customer who had suffered a severe stroke.

Reflecting on his award, Mike said:

“It’s a privilege and an honour to walk away with this award after a fantastic day in Manchester. I am delighted for the region as this award isn’t just about me, it’s about everyone across the entire Highlands and Islands team. I’d like to thank Colin Pirie, Ronnie MacDonald, Pamela Harvey and my colleagues for putting me forward.

“For me, it isn’t about going above and beyond, it’s about doing what I feel is the right thing to do and making sure our customers are cared for and supported when they need us most. I’m delighted to take this award home to my wife and girls, who have supported me along the way as I disappeared for days during storms, sometimes missing important events and occasions at home. It’s all worth it as I’m glad to say I still love my job as much as I did when I joined 44 years ago as an apprentice.”

Colin Pirie, Head of Region for the Highlands and Islands, added:

“Mike is without doubt the most dedicated, conscientious person I have ever met in my 28 years with SSEN. He genuinely cares for everyone he meets. His selfless attitude and his devotion to customers, colleagues (especially young people and trainees) and his family is well known. He is an example to us all. 

“Mike is a great colleague but more importantly a great friend to all of us in the Highlands.”

Since their launch of the Utility Week Stars Awards in 2014, the annual event has grown to become the de facto celebration of dedication, ingenuity and teamwork in the UK utilities sector.

SSEN picked up another gong on Friday, as the SSEN Safety, Health and Environment team won the Health and Safety Champion Initiative for the roll-out of SSEN's influencing behaviours programme and safety licence across the organisation.

SSEN was also shortlisted for the Big Bang Award for Innovation: Customer-facing for the introduction of its vulnerability mapping tool, and the Hero Award: Team for its South Caledonia region’s storm response during ‘the Beast from the East’ weather front in February this year.

About the author

Van on rural road

Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks

We're responsible for maintaining the electricity networks supplying over 3.7 million homes and businesses across central southern England and north of the Central Belt of Scotland. We own one electricity transmission network and two electricity distribution networks, comprising 106,000 substations and 130,000 km of overhead lines and underground cables across one third of the UK. Our first priority is to provide a safe and reliable supply of electricity to the communities we serve in Scotland and England.

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