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Six MBEs across BT as pandemic response honoured


Workers in the telecommunications industry have been recognised as key workers and have continued to work through the pandemic to keep the UK connected; providing critical support for the NHS, the emergency services and vulnerable customers. 

As a result of outstanding services to the NHS and to our industry, six of our colleagues are to be made MBEs (Members of the Order of the British Empire) in the Queen’s Birthday Honours. 

Two of the six – Lucy Baker and Ian Hammond – are being rewarded for their services to the NHS during Covid-19, while the other four are being recognised for their services to the telecommunications industry during the crisis.

The full list of BT Group MBEs just announced is as follows:

Lucy Baker – Service Technology Director, Enterprise

Ian Hammond – Senior Manager, Client Service PMO, Enterprise

John Hayday – Security and Business Continuity director, Technology

Reza Rahnama – Director, Core Voice Services, Technology

Karen Smith – Emergency Authority and Government Relationship manager, Enterprise

Gemma Towers – Mobile Product Specialist, Enterprise

Gemma Towers is being honoured for driving the rapid deployment of a new secure network that supported healthcare professionals in connecting patients with their loved ones in more than 60% of UK Intensive Care Units during Covid-19. These devices also allowed GPs to work remotely while accessing private records securely. 

Gemma said: “I’m absolutely delighted to be honoured with an MBE. This wouldn’t have been possible if I wasn’t working alongside a fantastic team at BT, and able to make such an impact to Life Lines during the COVID-19 Pandemic. Amazing to think we could keep people connected.”

For his part, Ian Hammond’s award comes in recognition of his work in managing BT’s delivery of the telecommunications infrastructure and connectivity for emergency field hospitals across the UK. He stepped out of his normal role and worked seven days a week to plan and co-ordinate what was required at each site.

Karen Smith, Emergency Authority and Government relationship manager, said: It is an absolute honour to be awarded an MBE. It is recognition that we make a difference and of the importance of the 999 service and all involved in providing it.”.

Karen has worked has worked tirelessly with the UK Department of Health, the Home Office, the National Police Chiefs Council and over 130 emergency control rooms to ensure that all 999 calls are answered and dealt with as efficiently as possible, and has gone the extra mile to support frontline 999 call centre staff and managers throughout the crisis.

Reza Rahnama, Director of Core Voice Services in our technology division after hearing about his award commented “I’m so honoured to have been recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list - it’s a humbling experience and I’m absolutely over the moon. It’s so important to recognise that this achievement was the result of a huge amount of team work – I’d like to say a massive thank you to all of our BT Technology teams who helped make this happen”.

John Hayday, Security and Business Continuity director said of the accolade: I’m honoured to receive the award recognising the ongoing work we do in planning for a crisis, such as COVID-19, and then responding to it.”

Gerry McQuade, CEO of BT’s Enterprise business, said:

“Everyone at BT is really proud of our colleagues who have been recognised with such a prestigious award for supporting customers, the emergency services and the NHS during the Covid-19 pandemic. This year has been one like no other where so many have gone above and beyond to keep the country connected. Well done and a massive thank you to all those who have been recognised.”


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