Nominations for the AOP Awards 2013 have now closed. The judges are currently considering nominations for each category, with a shortlist expected to be revealed on May 31.
The 2013 AOP Awards, which is sponsored by CooperVision, will see the return of popular accolades, alongside a new trophy which aims to recognise an exceptional marketing initiative.
Now in it's third year, the Awards are the only accolades in the optical industry to be voted for by the profession itself. They aim to celebrate the achievements of those in optics who have stood out from their peers and deserve to be recognised for their excellence.
The AOP Awards was launched in 2011 and has quickly become a highlight of the optical calendar. In 2012, a staggering 11,065 votes were cast, while more than 21,700 people visited the Awards’ online pages between June and September.
The new ‘Marketing Innovation of the Year’ award provides the opportunity to recognise a person or company that has led a memorable and successful campaign which proved to have a positive impact on the business.
Returning by popular demand is the ‘Contact Lens Practitioner of the Year’ award, which was introduced in 2012 and was well received by the profession. The eventual winner, in a highly regarded shortlist which included Nick Howard and Alexander Levit, was independent practitioner Brian Tompkins. On winning the award, Mr Tompkins told OT: “It’s brilliant. It means I’m going to have to now dust this award. I’m not a dusting type of person, and already I’m wanting to polish it like the front of the cleanest contact lens someone should wear – it’s crystal, it’s clear, like every best contact lens there should be.”
Other awards returning include ‘Optometrist of the Year’, ‘Company of the Year’ and ‘Optical Assistant of the Year’.
Speaking about winning last year’s ‘Optometrist of the Year’ trophy, Peter Bainbridge told OT: “The whole process from shortlisting to the event evening was enriching for staff, patients and me.
“Winning was a bonus and has been very enjoyable, with messages from friends and colleagues, some of whom I had not been in contact with for years.”
Cheryl McDermott (pictured second left), recipient of last year’s ‘Optical Assistant of the Year’ award, added: “The night of the AOP Awards was really exciting. To win was the icing on the cake. We were all very shocked to scoop not only one, but two awards, on the evening – the ‘Community Achievement Award’ and the ‘Optical Assistant of the Year’ award. It meant a lot to win such prestigious awards as we were up against great competition and bringing the awards back to our practice and being able to show all our patients was a real honour.”
This year’s judges have been confirmed as optometrist and AOP professional adviser, Geoff Roberson; senior lecturer at Aston University, Leon Davies; AOP head of professional development, Karen Sparrow; dispensing optician and independent practice owner, Garry Kousoulou; AOP director of marketing and business development, David Craig; and LOCSU learning and development consultant, Gill Brabner.
Once announced, the finalists will be profiled in OT to assist readers in deciding whom to vote for in each category. Readers will then be asked to vote for their winners.
The exception to this will be the ‘Lecturer Award’ and ‘Lifetime Achievement Award’. While all nominations received for the ‘Lecturer Award’, which fit the stated criteria, will be put forward for the readers’ vote, the eventual winner will be selected by the judges from the three who gain the most votes.
With the aim of recognising an individual who has dedicated their career to promoting and expanding optics to a wider audience, the judging panel will consider all nominations for the ‘Lifetime Achievement Award’, before selecting a recipient.
Last year’s winner, professor David Thomson (pictured below, centre), told OT at the time: “I am flattered and honoured to be nominated and granted the award. It is always nice when people recognise that what you have done has made a difference.”
Rob Healey, UK & Ireland marketing manager for the Awards' headline sponsor CooperVision, said: “We found the sponsorship experience valuable and the association with the AOP Awards to be a very positive one for our business. The awards were very well organised and the event itself was well attended. The winners last year were highly credible and the recognition that these awards supply is highly deserved.”
The winners of the AOP Awards 2013 will be revealed at a black-tie gala dinner of more than 500 guests on Thursday, November 7, during the National Optical Conference (NOC).
The AOP Awards 2013 categories are:
Practice of the Year
Sponsored by AEL Partners
An innovative practice which has shown dedication to enhancing the local community’s knowledge of the profession and the importance of eye health, while providing the highest level of patient service. To read more about the award, click here
Optometrist of the Year
Sponsored by Topcon
The optometrist who has gone above and beyond the sight test routine in order to deliver excellent patient care, combining clinical expertise with outstanding people skills. To read more about the award, click here
Dispensing Optician of Year
The dispensing optician who has shown a passion for educating the public about frames, lenses and other services, in addition to promoting dispensing to a wider audience, and a commitment to patient care excellence. To read more about the award, click here
Contact Lens Practitioner of the Year
Sponsored by CooperVision
A contact lens practitioner who provides high quality contact lens assessments and after care along with a focus on engaging patients to highlight the benefits of contact lenses for patients young and old. To read more about the award, click here
Optical Assistant of the Year
An optical assistant who has shown a flair for customer service. The ultimate team player. To read more about the award, click here
Student of the Year
Sponsored by Specsavers
An optometry or dispensing optician undergraduate who has demonstrated initiative, in order to improve their fellow students’ participation in and awareness of optical issues. To read more about the award, click here
A lecturer who is committed to offering dynamic and informative teaching that inspires clinical excellence amongst their students; with great pastoral care.
To read more about the award, click here
Company of the Year
A company which has striven to improve optical standards, drive forward technology and raise awareness of the importance of optics to a wider audience. To read more about the award, click here
LOC/ROC/AOC of the Year
The LOC/ROC/AOC which has shown itself to be active in forging relationships with NHS commissioners and professionals in a bid to secure enhanced eye care and medical services for its local community. To read more about the award, click here
Marketing Innovation of the Year
The person or company that has led an inspiring and creative marketing campaign which has had a positive impact on the business. This could range from website design and social media to school visits and window displays. To read more about the award, click here
Charity of the Year
The registered charity that has demonstrated initiative in order to promote the importance of optometry, and raised awareness and funds to enhance the provision of sustainable eye care. To read more about the award, click here
Lifetime Achievement Award
Sponsored by CIBA Vision
The person who has dedicated their career to promoting and expanding the role of optics or who has brought the benefits of optics to a wider audience. To read more about the award, click here