SAOS ‘Next Generation’ award goes to Kate Drever of Aberdeen Grain

Kate Drever Next GenKate Drever was recognised at the SAOS conference yesterday as ‘one to watch’ for the work and accomplishments she has achieved so far at Aberdeen Grain and through the Co-op Staff Forum facilitated by SAOS. George Lawrie, SAOS Chairman, presented her with the award.

Kate joined Aberdeen Grain five years ago with very little experience of grain laboratory work or crop storage.  Since then, her knowledge and skill base have reached a level where she leads the team and is exceptionally well-respected, both within the supply trade and also with Aberdeen Grain members. During harvest time, Kate has the difficult job of informing members when their produce is of a lower specification than they expect. Her excellent demeanour and obvious knowledge ensure that, rather than being contentious, these conversations allow the member to understand the issues and help to improve their product in the future. Bearing in mind that in many cases this is done under intense harvest time pressure, this is a testament to Kate’s overall character and professionalism.

During harvest, Kate is in charge of around eight lab staff; split over two shifts during a 12 – 14hr intake period, but she still finds the time to produce a very detailed and informative summary of the day’s intake, allowing the business to function to a very high standard. This additional work for the benefit of Aberdeen Grain and its members is very much aligned to the co-op’s ethics and principles.

Through the Co-op Staff Forum run by SAOS, Kate has developed her overall knowledge of co-ops and their governance, and she demonstrates a real passion and understanding for co-operative working.

Presenting the award, George Lawrie, SAOS Chairman, commented: “Kate’s role is clearly critical to the success of Aberdeen Grain and her hard work and commitment to improving communication with members and the overall business are a real credit to her. In an era when young people are sometimes perceived to have a poor work ethic, it’s great to have proof that this is far from the case.”

The Next Generation Award forms part of SAOS’ work looking at ways to encourage, motivate and recognise younger people involved in agricultural and rural co-ops. Nominees for the award must be 40 years of age or younger and must have made an impression on the industry with their leadership, vision and commitment to co-operation. As part of the award, Kate will be invited to attend next year’s Oxford Farming Conference in January 2018.”

Stephen Young, SAOS Project Manager, who was closely involved with the award process commented: “We were delighted to receive some very high quality nominations, and to hear of great work being done throughout the industry. It’s clear that there are lots of young individuals out there making a real difference in their co-ops and it was really heartening to hear about them.”