Countdown celebrates cream of the crop at annual awards

Store Manager of the Year, Checkout Operator of the Year and Forklift Operator of the Year titles presented at 2016 awards dinner

30 August 2016: Countdown celebrated outstanding members of its 18,000 team at the 2016 Countdown Gala Awards Dinner last night, announcing the winners of its three annual awards including Store Manager of the Year, Checkout Operator of the Year, and Forklift Operator of the Year.

The highly coveted Store Manager of the Year title was awarded to Andre Ciseau from Countdown Lincoln Road in Henderson, Auckland. With 184 Store Managers vying for the title, Andre was one of four finalists. His dedication to the Countdown team and passion for creating a fantastic shopping experience at Countdown’s busy Lincoln Road store saw him named the overall winner.

Mr Ciseau, who has been with Countdown for 30 years, is extremely proud of his win, and says his team has played a huge part in his success as a Countdown Store Manager.

“I have the utmost appreciation for the two teams who I’ve had the pleasure of working with over the past year – Hobsonville Point and Lincoln Road. Without them, I wouldn’t have won this award; they make work a hugely rewarding place to be.

“My aim is to continue to develop and grow within the business and see what’s in store for the next 30 years,” says Mr Ciseau.

After scanning, serving and working her way to the top, Checkout Operator of the Year was presented to Eliza Ross, from Countdown Hobsonville, in Auckland. Eliza was one of three finalists whittled down from more than 400 applicants, and faced rigorous testing and interviews to take out the 2016 title.

When asked about her win, Ms Ross says it’s been a fantastic experience and she is overwhelmed to have won.

“It was very unexpected, but customers are my passion so I’m thrilled to know it’s all paying off. My customers are a big part of why I’m here.

“My colleagues have been behind me 100 per cent, and I’m hoping my experience inspires other checkout operators to get involved next year,” says Ms Ross.

Another big winner on the night was Auckland-based Warehouse Operator Sione Latu, who competed against more than 500 other team members for Forklift Operator of the Year. Regional competitions were held across each of Countdown’s four distribution centres, testing skill areas associated with safe and efficient forklift driving. Competitors were tested across three categories – theory, pre-operation safety as well as practical driving skills and ability.

Mr Latu has been with the Countdown team for eight years, and his motto is: “Always do your best at whatever you do.”

“I can’t explain how happy I am to have won. I’d like to thank my team for supporting me throughout this competition,” says Mr Latu.

Brett Ashley, Countdown’s General Manager Operations, says it’s hugely rewarding to see the strong and varied talent across the business.

“The annual awards is a great opportunity to recognise the contribution Countdown’s team members make every day.

“We have more than 18,000 team throughout New Zealand, and each person’s role is just as important as the next in creating a truly enjoyable shopping experience for our customers,” says Mr Ashley.

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