A Reservist from 32 Signal Regiment’s 51 (Scottish) Signal Squadron was recently named Reservist of the Year during a spectacular London ceremony celebrating members of the Defence community in the professional world.
Captain Paul Hutchinson, who is the Second-in-Command (2IC) of the Edinburgh-based 51 (Scottish) Signal Squadron, received his award as part of the 2022 Ex-Forces in Business Awards. The event, which is the world’s largest annual business celebration of the Armed Forces community, was hosted in the magnificent Great Room of Grosvenor House, Park Lane.
As well as being a committed Army Reservist since 2017, Paul enjoys a civilian career as a Chief Digital Infrastructure Architect with a global design, engineering and project management consultancy. He was nominated for the Reservist of the Year Award by his line manager, an Armed Forces veteran who, in Paul’s words, clearly recognised the ‘skills and experiences’ that a Reservist can bring to the team, as well as ‘the sacrifices that we sometimes must make in the service of our country.’
The Reservist of the Year award category aims to celebrate those Reservists who have succeeded in going above and beyond in the business world over the past eighteen months, while also committing to their various military duties. These successes can include demonstrations of outstanding leadership, innovation and contributions to successful business projects.
Paul’s line manager seemed to have little difficulty finding examples of his colleague’s suitability as an award candidate, describing him in his nomination as a ‘leader, mentor, friend, and supporter… he is an excellent role model for all staff members. Nothing is too much trouble for Paul.
‘To add to his recent achievements and notable events, he also provides a helping hand to those exiting the services through the creation of a safe environment by managing a support structure…’
Outside of his civilian role, Paul has also been kept busy in his Reservist life: ‘I deployed on Op RESCRIPT (the UK military’s contribution to the COVID-19 response) as a Staff Officer at Joint Military Command (JMC) Scotland. Within the planning team, my role was to plan and organise the deployment of the Mobile Testing Units (MTU) throughout Scotland. Managing the coordination and logistics for 18 vehicles and crews, covering the entire country including some of the islands, was a challenge.
‘My role involved liaising with Local and Regional Resilience Partnerships (LRP/RRP), NHS Boards, Local Authorities, as well as the UK and Scottish Governments, to profile and plan where each vehicle would deploy on a twice daily rolling programme. In addition, as outbreaks occurred, the MTUs were used to respond to bolster testing capacity and provide public reassurance, and subsequently, the schedule often changed at short notice. No plan survives contact with the enemy, so they say…’
It is not just Paul’s five years of service in the Army Reserves that highlights his sense of dedication and duty, as his Armed Forces experience dates back to the early 1990s.
‘I first joined the Armed Forces in 1993, left in 1999 and then joined the Reserves in 2017 – an 18-year gap!’ Paul remarked before explaining why he returned to join the Reserves. ‘I think it comes down to three things: missing the camaraderie of the Armed Forces, still wishing to serve and contribute and wanting to help support others who are just embarking on a military career.
‘Since joining the Reserves, I’ve undertaken some fantastic activities such as skiing, mountaineering, acting as the Aide de Camp to the Governor of Edinburgh Castle, exercising in Germany, mobilising as part of the response to COVID-19, and the list goes on… It’s been an incredible five years, and I’ve loved every minute.’