M Group Services, a leading provider of services to essential infrastructure markets in the UK has four finalists in the British Ex-Forces in Business Awards, the world’s largest and leading celebration of military veterans in second careers.

The awards, now in their fifth year, are the largest business celebration globally of the Armed Forces community, demonstrating the significant scale and range of talents among UK veterans.

This year’s UK shortlist showcases the second-career achievements of over 200 veterans and reservists, whittled down from a record-breaking 700 nominations.

Our four finalists are:

Steve Hewings, Head of Health and Safety for Morrison Energy Services, part of M Group Services Energy Division and Paul Kerridge, Safety, Health, Environmental and Quality (SHEQ) Director for M Group Services Energy Division are both finalists for the Lifetime Achievement Award.

Steve joined Morrison Utility Services in June 2007, where he was appointed as a health and safety adviser based in the Bristol Area. He was promoted to Group Safety Manager in 2013 and then to Head of Health and Safety for Morrison Energy Services in 2020. Prior to this, Steve served for 22 years in the Corp of the Royal Engineers, working his way through the ranks, leaving as a Warrant Officer. Steve spent a large part of his military career as an Army Diver and Commando Engineer, supporting and leading operations across the world.

As Health, Safety, Environmental and Quality (SHEQ) Director for M Group Services Energy Division, since 2007 Paul has reduced the accident frequency rate by 75% and annual service strikes by 88%. Under his SHEQ leadership, Morrison Energy Services has achieved 11 RoSPA Construction Sector Awards and twice won the Sir George Earle Trophy. Paul served as a junior soldier from 1979, joining the regular army in 1982, reaching the rank of Warrant Officer Class 2 (Sergeant Major) before he left in 2002. Throughout his 23-year military career, Paul helped defend British freedom in numerous wars and conflicts.


John Marshall, Senior SHEQ Advisor for Morrison Water Services, part of M Group Services Water Division, is a finalist for the Advocate of the Year award. He works on the Caledonia Water Alliance (CWA) with AECOM for Scottish Water.

John joined the business in 2019 after running his own construction business for 12 years. He’s a mental health champion and Armed Forces Champion for Morrison Water Services. Passionate about both volunteer roles, John is Minden Company Sergeant Major, Dumfries and Galloway. He was Army Cadet Detachment Commander for nine years. A cadet with the Annan Detachment of the West Lowland Battalion from 1987, he served with the Royal Engineers from 1993 until he was medically discharged in 1995.


Christ Priest, Human Resources Director for M Group Services Telecom Division, is a finalist in the Reservist of the Year category.

Part of 2623 Squadron, 7 Force Protection Wing, Flight Lieutenant Chris Priest is one of two Flight Commanders responsible for the development and leadership of the Squadron’s Gunners and Non-Commissioned Officers. He dedicates one weekend a month and 15 days’ annual continuous training to his Reservist work every year.

A Chartered Fellow of the CIPD in his civilian life, Chris is responsible for supporting the Board of Directors in the M Group Services Telecom Division, which is made up of four operating businesses, Morrison Telecom Services, Magdalene, Avonline Networks and Waldon Telecom. He is responsible for shaping and implementing the Division’s People Strategy. Chris joined the Division over five years ago and currently manages a team of 23 HR professionals.


M Group Services received the Defence Employer Recognition Scheme (ERS) Armed Forces Covenant Gold award in 2021. Awards are given to businesses that pledge, demonstrate and advocate support to the defence and armed forces community.

The thousands of servicemen and women who leave the British Armed Forces each year create a rich talent pool for employers across all sectors to tap into. The world-class skills and renowned values nurtured within the British Armed Forces arm service leavers with the experience, capability and aptitude to offer great value to businesses.

M Group Services has an active Armed Forces Community that welcomes members from across its 19 operating businesses. The community offers in-person and online support to people who have an armed forces background.

Since launching in 2018, the Ex-Forces in Business Awards has led the way in promoting a more positive and accurate representation of veterans across all major industries.

The awards programme is also a powerful vehicle for increasing visibility of both role models and career opportunities for veterans and educating employers on the exceptional transferable talents among military service leavers. This year’s UK shortlist exhibits the second-career achievements of over 200 veterans and reservists, whittled down from a record-breaking 700 nominations. The breadth of opportunities available to veterans are evident through the big variety of sectors represented on the shortlist.


Richard Nelson, M Group Services’ Head of Training Compliance also leads on ex-armed forces recruitment. He said: “We are so proud of our four finalists. They are all fantastic role models and have brought so much to our Group through their previous military service.

“We are committed to supporting our people who are current or ex-members of the defence and armed forces community, as well as all those outside the business who have served our country. We continue to create an environment that enables the utilisation and development of transferable skills that are gained from serving the country.”

Lt. Gen. Sir Andrew Gregory, CEO at SSAFA, Official Charity Partner of the Awards, said: “All of us at SSAFA send our warmest congratulations to those who have been shortlisted for this the fifth annual British Ex-Forces in Business Awards. SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity, is extremely proud and grateful to be the official charity partner of this fine event that celebrates veteran employment and helps to increase visibility of business role models for servicemen and women. It is heartening to see such a large volume and breadth of employers acknowledging the skills and values of those who have served their country.”

We wish all four finalists success at the award ceremony which takes place on 8 September at the Grosvenor House Hotel on Park Lane, London.