Unsung Heroes: Mike Thorne

Foodservice Footprint zoom_news568575_433898-300x200 Unsung Heroes: Mike Thorne Features Features People  Mike Thorne has been Chartwell’s General Manager at Bryanston School in Blandford, Dorset, since 1998. Mike leads a team of 63 at the co-educational boarding and day school and operates the on-site catering and conference and banqueting business.

Recently, pursuing a personal and professional interest in environmental matters, Mike became one of Chartwells’ first employees to complete the NCFE Level 2 certificate in Sustainable Development. This is a qualification that enables people to learn how to make their workplaces more environmentally-friendly through gaining an understanding of environmental legislation, saving energy, recycling and using seasonal produce.


Mike has worked with Bryanston’s Green Committee, led by the school’s Bursar, Paul Speakman, comprising 20 pupil representatives, two bursary managers and several members of the teaching staff, for over two years. In this time Mike has introduced and implemented a number of environmentally-friendly measures including:


• A dewaterer, which takes excess water from food waste.

• A BioNova machine, which turns that food waste into compost for the school’s extensive 450 acre grounds and vegetable growing area.

• A Bio diesel unit, which converts used cooking fat into fuel, which powers a number of vehicles on the estate.

• A cardboard baler, which crushes and packs cardboard wrappings.


Mike has also significantly increased recycling activity on site: all kitchen waste, paper, glass and cans are now recycled and kitchen peelings are composted by the school.


Thanks to Mike’s work, in a school of 660 pupils aged between 13 and 18, where around 2,500 meals are served each day to boarders and day pupils, these initiatives have resulted not only in less waste being sent to landfill sites but also in cost savings for the school.


Sandra Oakes, South West Regional Manager for Chartwells attributes much of the school’s environmental success to Mike: “Mike has been a key instigator in pushing forward key environmental initiatives at Bryanston which cumulatively have had a great impact. His desire to learn and his passion for securing a brighter future for coming generations motivate all those he works with and he’s an asset to the Chartwells team.”


However, the journey does not stop here for Mike and the team; Mike is now helping Bryanston to gain three key accreditations relating to quality management systems, environmental management systems and occupational health and safety: ISO9001, ISO 14001 and OHSAS 18001, systems which Chartwells is leading the way in delivering across the education sector.


Kevin Sheehan the IT manager for Serviceline, the national professional kitchen equipment maintenance company, has spent months if not years looking for the right software to integrate into the company over several levels. Anybody can plug in a Tom Tom and save miles but what Sheehan did was add the labour management element of the process, which means more efficient use of engineers and improved response times for customers.


Sheehan takes up the story: “Serviceline has more than 120 catering equipment engineers on the roads and we had been looking at traffic management systems for quite a while before choosing to go with Tom Tom. Engineers now avoid traffic jams and generally spend less time overall in traffic. Routing is also better, making journeys quicker, especially where an engineer can’t use local knowledge, such as when they are required to work outside their normal area.


“The office staff also have ‘real time’ knowledge of where engineers are, so Tom Tom helps ensure the fastest response to emergencies by pin-pointing the closest engineers.


“The benefit to the business of cutting mileage and saving money is obvious. We had been looking for this kind of traffic management system for a long time and chose to work with Tom Tom because it integrated well with our existing software. The environmental impact of cutting road miles, saving fuel and extending the working life of our vehicles means this really was a very worthwhile project to be involved with,” says Sheehan.