A much-loved stalwart of the potato industry was posthumously honoured with an award for his services to the sector last month.
The late Mark Pettigrew won the British Potato Industry Award at BP2017. It was accepted by close friend Gary Collins on behalf of his family.
Mark died in September following a short illness.
“I have had the pleasure of knowing Mark for almost 30 years, all of which Mark spent in various roles within Smiths Crisps and PepsiCo,” said Gary.
“Mark will be fondly remembered, particularly for his last role as Sustainability Manager. In this role, he managed the ‘50 in 5’ initiative, which saw a 50 per cent reduction in the carbon footprint of all potato production for Walkers and a 50 per cent water reduction in East Anglia over five years.
“These were bold targets, but Mark in his usual style just got on with it and forged ahead, making business connections that put PepsiCo is good stead for the future.
“Aside from this huge achievement, Mark was a key member of the development of the Cool Farm tool and helped to push forward with abated nitrogen, a key component to aid the reduction of the carbon footprint.
“Mark’s continual energy and drive for success, coupled with his laid-back approach and ability to always see the funny side of everything, was a breath of fresh air.
“For Mr Pettigrew to receive this award is a fitting tribute.”
Jim Aitken, ‘Above and Beyond’ award
Also honoured at the event was Jim Aitken, a senior agronomist for Branston Ltd. in Scotland, who received the Above and Beyond award at a reception at the AHDB Potatoes stand at Harrogate.
As senior agronomist, Jim liaises closely with the Branston’s Scottish grower group, whose potato growing covers around 2,500ha.
Jim continues to drive the technical agenda across his grower base, and is well respected among his peers.
James Truscott, managing director at Branston Ltd. said: “Jim is passionate about getting the best out of potatoes and making sure the end consumer does too.
“He is well known and respected within the industry. Never one to shy away from a problem, he tells it as it is and will always challenge growers and colleagues if he believes they are falling short of his expectations and is continuously looking to drive improvement.
“He’s always happy to share his knowledge with others. Over the past 12 years, Jim has trained and mentored several young people joining the industry and passed on his skills and years of experience
“With his support, many have gone on to become successful agronomists within the potato and vegetable industry.”
AHDB Potatoes continues to support the industry’s leaders in marketing, innovation, research and development and, by presenting this award each year, it recognises the dedication and entrepreneurial spirit of those high achievers who have made outstanding contributions to the overall GB potato industry.