Mark Johnston, customer service director of sponsor Aquarius IT, Culina Group CEO Thomas van Mourik, and MT editor Steve Hobson

Thomas van Mourik has served Culina Group for over 25 years, developing it into a market leading organisation. With the acquisition of companies like Dairy Crest, Wiseman Dairies, Great Bear and most recently Fowler Welch, Culina Group covers a comprehensive range of logistics sectors and has shown how to manage corporate integration, innovation and growth in a period of tremendous volatility.

Throughout this, van Mourik has demonstrated great leadership, developing a business model and management team capable of significant and sustainable success.

Culina Group continues to gain in strength and the work it has done to ensure supermarket shelves are replenished in the pandemic is remarkable. “Without doubt they are going more than the extra mile,” said one of our judging panel.

In more normal times, the company has a track record of comprehensive training and apprenticeship schemes, which are very successful and engaged in supporting community projects.

Culina Group celebrated its 25th anniversary by collecting the Haulier of the Year trophy at last year’s Motor Transport Awards.

Van Mourik set the firm up and has navigated it from small beginnings as Müller Dairies’ distribution arm into a £650m a year temperature controlled and ambient logistics giant that sat at number 12 in the 2019 Motor Transport Top 100 league table.

One of van Mourik’s great strengths is the faith he places in his staff, even when they have just joined the business via one of his numerous acquisitions. He understands that the secret to successful acquisitions is to buy good, well-run companies and keep the management team intact as far as possible.

On the careers section of Culina’s website, he says: “None of Culina Group’s successes would have been possible without one key driver: our employees. The great people who work at Culina Group are absolutely integral to the continued success of the business and the retention and development of existing employees, plus the recruitment of the very best external candidates, are key aspects of our growth strategy.”

"It was a total surprise. To be recognised by the industry is an honour. I was watching this year’s awards ceremony online and suddenly said, “that’s me!” It was lovely. I feel very, very honoured. It’s fantastic, really lovely."

Thomas van Mourik