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The winner of this year’s award is a terrific self-motivator who attacks every project he is involved in with absolute gusto. He continually pushes the boundaries, with fundraising for the organisation for which he works, and played a leading role in the bringing together of Cornell University, Lausanne hotel school and Strathclyde Business School to present a new executive masters degree course in leadership in the tourism and hospitality sector.
These are the words of Catey nominator Stephen Carter, chairman of Cameron House Hotel on Loch Lomond, who is, of course, talking about David Cochrane, chief executive of HIT Scotland.
In Cochrane’s role, heading up the Scottish-based charity which raises funds to support and encourage excellence in the hospitality industry, he lives and breathes its mission statement – to assist people to achieve their potential within Scottish hospitality. Indeed, this year, the charity awarded its 1,000th scholarship.
Cochrane graduated from Sheffield Hallam University where he studied hospitality before joining Norfolk Capital Hotels at the Caledonian Hotel in Edinburgh. He left there to join Gardner Merchant – now Sodexo – as a chef manager and progressed to district training co-ordinator covering the central region.
This led him into the Hotel and Catering Training Company (HCTC), working with youth training and unemployment projects. The role evolved into the industry training organisation HTF and he undertook a Leonardo da Vinci European project to help implement vocational qualifications in Scottish prisons.
Cochrane went on to become the training manager at Gleneagles in Auchterarder, Perthshire, and this led him naturally to take on the role as director of Springboard Scotland.
Seven years ago, he joined HIT as chief executive and was the sole employee until last year when he recruited a part-time employee to enable him to complete his role as chief executive, not only of HIT but also the International Leadership School.
WHAT THE JUDGES SAID
“For a number of years David has devoted himself to promoting the value of a career within the hospitality industry. In his role with HIT Scotland, he has demonstrated an energy and level of leadership which has enabled many hundreds of people from across the industry to enjoy the benefits of a wider experience through the scholarship programme.”
Philippe Rossiter, Institute of Hospitality
“To work alone, sometimes in remote parts of Scotland, and still fulfil the dreams and ambitions of the future candidates of our industry deserves a big salute.”
Cyrus Todiwala, Café Spice Namasté
● David Cochrane, chief executive, HIT Scotland
● Graham Eveleigh, head of skills development, BaxterStorey
● Mike Mounfield, head of school, Kendal College
Michael Coaker, senior chef-lecturer, University of West London
Alberto Crisci, Clink founder, HMP Highdown
David Foskett, head of hospitality and tourism, University of West London
Sara Jayne Stanes, chief executive officer, Academy of Culinary Arts
Philippe Rossiter, chief executive, Institute of Hospitality
Julia Sibley, chief executive, Savoy Educational Trust
Cyrus Todiwala, chef-patron, Café Spice Namasté