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Sheffield Uni hospitality head honoured with MBE

The University of Sheffield’s Head of Training and Quality in Accommodation and Commercial Services has been recognised for services to hospitality training and education in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List.

David McKown, who has worked at the University for 27 years, has been appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE). Honours are awarded to extraordinary people across the UK for service to the country to mark the Queen’s official birthday.

McKown will be invited to an Investiture at Buckingham Palace or Windsor Castle, where he will receive his medal in person from the Queen or a member of the Royal Family.

Over nearly three decades, McKown has spearheaded a series of projects to boost training and education in the hospitality sector, both at the University of Sheffield and across the country.

In 2011, he became a Director of University Hospitality Seminars Ltd, a company that designs, organises and delivers training for staff working in higher education institutions across the UK.

McKown was awarded Honorary Membership of the Master Chefs of Great Britain (MCGB) in 2012 having developed and supported the organisation since 1996, when he invited the MCGB to present a dinner at the University of Sheffield. The dinner is now an annual event.

That same year, he created the annual UK Young Restaurant Team of the Year competition, a vehicle to help young people build careers in the hospitality industry.

He became a Director of College and University Business Officers (CUBO) in 2016, advising the board on the strategic development and implementation of training programmes for the sector. David is also a Fellow of the Institute of Hospitality.

At the University, McKown guided his department to Investors in People accreditation in 1995 and the Customer First Standard in 2011.

In 1998, he created the internationally renowned Skills for Chefs Conference, which takes place at the University of Sheffield each summer. He has also received awards for his work, including a Cost Sector Catering Award for the University/College Sector and a Catey Award for Education and Training.

McKown said, “I was very surprised to learn that I had been recognised. I am of course delighted and totally blown away to be receiving this honour and will be having a special dinner with family and close friends to celebrate!

“I would like to thank all my colleagues and industry friends who have supported me along the way. My achievements would not have been possible without the University embracing such a strong set of values and without senior colleagues supporting and encouraging me to be innovative and creative.”

Helen Dingle, Chief Financial Officer, provides leadership to Accommodation and Commercial Services, and said, “Since joining the University, David has worked tirelessly to promote training and education in the hospitality sector, positively enhancing people’s lives at work and beyond.

“David always brings energy, enthusiasm and a fresh way of thinking and he is truly passionate about his work. He deserves huge thanks for his commitment and dedication, and congratulations on this well-deserved and incredible achievement.”