The winner of the IEMA Graduate Award was announced last week during the Environment and Business Conference. Click for more details.

A Graduate from the Western Washington University and Queen's University Belfast claimed the coveted IEMA Graduate Award 2010 last week during the Environment and Business Conference.

Sherry Palmer (pictured second left), Environmental Officer at Building & Civil Engineering Contractors McLaughlin & Harvey was named as the winner of IEMA's Graduate Award, sponsored by Land Securities, during a ceremony last Monday (1st November).

Dave Farebrother, Environmental Director at sponsor Land Securities (pictured second right), announced Sherry as the winner and revealed that the judging Panel unanimously chose their winner based on Sherry's work which has helped give her employer a "position of market leadership."

Sherry's contribution to the Belfast-based organisation has helped McLaughlin & Harvey to win several industry-specific awards. The best practice procedures she has developed within her work and her research towards an MSc in Environmental Engineering are now being used by others in the sector. Sherry's Manager and Award Nominator Richard Robinson said "I nominated Sherry for this award because her work has directly contributed to the success of McLaughlin & Harvey in difficult market conditions and has made us a market leader in sustainable construction."

The presentation of the award came as part of IEMA's 2010 conference, Environment and Business: The challenge and the opportunity which was held at the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre in influential Westminster. As winner, Sherry received a £2000 cash prize, a trophy and 1 year's free IEMA Graduate membership.

Chosen just behind Sherry for their own organisational achievements were two runners-up. Sheena Stone (pictured far right), Project Manager of Towards Zero Carbon Bute at Fyne Futures received the first runner-up prize due to her remarkable community engagement and communications work in creating a sustainable future for the Scottish Island of Bute. David Smith(pictured far left), Environmental Advisor - Decomissioning Directorate at Sellafield Ltd was awarded the third place prize for his tenacity in communicating an environmental risk and bringing about a change in procedure and approach. Both Sheena and David received a £1000 cash prize and 1 year's free IEMA Graduate membership.

Jan Chmiel, CEO of IEMA and Chair of the Environment and Business conference offered his congratulations to all of the winners. "As part of our ongoing support of Student and Graduate members, who represent around 10% of our membership, I would like to say 'well done' to Sherry, Sheena and David."

The IEMA Graduate Award recognises the organisational achievements of practitioners that have graduated from an environmentally-related course within the past three years. It is awarded annually as part of IEMA's dedication to promoting the skills and value of young and recently-trained environmental practitioners.

Dave Farebrother declared his satisfaction in sponsoring the award for the third consecutive year and at the calibre of this year's entries. "Land Securities is very pleased to be sponsoring this award; we have a firm belief in encouraging young talent and it is clear that in the coming years there is going to be a need for capable, innovative environmentalists and sustainability experts."

"We received more entries than ever this year, so the trend is definitely moving in the right direction. But what we noticed, more than anything, was the overall quality of the entries across the board was higher than any previous year."

The winner and runners-up of the Graduate Award will be profiled in Issue 108 of IEMA's 'the environmentalist' along with a full review of the Environment and Business Conference from Monday 15th November.