The shortlist of the best businesspeople in the region has been revealed.
Nine people have been selected for the final of this year's North-East Business Executive of the Year, representing a rich variety of expertise. A further three will go head-to-head for North-East Young Business Person of the Year.
The awards, run by The Journal in association with the Evening Gazette on Teesside, honour the best businesspeople in Tyneside and Northumberland, Durham and Wearside and the Tees Valley.
The winners will be announced at a gala dinner at the Marriott Gosforth Park Hotel on Thursday, November 2.
* To book a table at the dinner contact event manager Claire Mitchell on (0191) 201-6393 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
TYNESIDE & NORTHUMBERLAND
FIONA CRUICKSHANK, managing director, The Specials Laboratory, Prudhoe, Northumberland.
SHE is a former North-East Woman Entrepreneur of the Year and was also a finalist in the northern Entrepreneur of the Year Award. Now her pharmaceutical company is nearing double-digit turnover in the millions.
Her company, whose workforce is almost in three figures, has been North-East Small Business Company of the Year and sells unlicensed medicines, or specials, into retail, pharmaceutical and healthcare services.
Dr ROGER DUGGAN, managing director, IDS, Boldon, South Tyneside.
IDS, under Dr Roger Duggan, has broken through the £1m profit barrier, the gains having more than quadrupled in the latest annual return. The firm makes and markets diagnostic testing kits for clinical and research markets and its shares on the Alternative Investment Market ride high, thanks to the firm's double-digit growth.
IAN SHOTT, founder, group chairman and chief executive, Excelsyn, Newcastle.
IAN SHOTT'S young and sturdy creation Excelsyn provides business and technology services to companies in health and personal care supply chains. The group saw a 64% leap in its customer base during the last financial year and now exports to a dozen countries.
DURHAM & WEARSIDE
GORDON BANHAM, chief executive, Hargreaves Services, Esh Winning, County Durham.
GORDON BANHAM has built Hargreaves Services at a cracking pace into the largest independent importer of domestic and industrial coal and a UK leader in bulk haulage with more than 400 tanker lorries.
Hargreaves' first results - after last November's even better than expected float on the Alternative Investment Market - showed an impressive 134% rise in profits and a 77% jump in sales.
SIMON HEPTINSTALL, chief executive, Storey Carpets, Sunderland.
FOUR times the nation's Flooring Retailer of the Year and once endangered, Storey Carpets is also the UK's largest independent in its field. Under Heptinstall, the business has grown to about 40 outlets in the North and Scotland as well as franchised operations.
GERRY OSBORNE, founder and chairman, Roman, Newton Aycliffe, County Durham.
IN two decades Gerry Osborne has taken his business to the head of the mid to high end of its market, showing growth rates of up to 30%. Roman, with nearly 250 employees, expects a turnover of £24m this year.
ALAN HARBOTTLE, founder and chairman of Analox Sensor Technology, Stokesley.
THIS specialist manufacturer of breathing air measurement instruments operates in a variety of international niche markets including military, diving, bars/restaurants, laboratories and general industrial safety. More than 60% of business secured by Analox, which employs 42 people - 45% of whom are educated to degree level or above - comes from overseas sales.
CHRIS MUSGRAVE, founder of Wynyard Limited, Hartlepool.
MUSGRAVE set up Wynyard Limited to develop a business park on the site in the wake of Samsung quitting the area with the loss of 500 jobs. Today Wynyard Park is home to more than 20 companies with 500 employees.
STEVE SMITH, chief executive, Northgate plc, Darlington.
ONE of Tees Valley's few plcs, Northgate started out 25 years ago with just two vans. Today the firm is a £372.6m turnover business with a network of 20 hire companies operating from 88 nationwide rental sites.
YOUNG BUSINESS PERSON
TAREK NSEIR, founder and managing director, TH_NK, Newcastle.
TAREK NSEIR, 25, set up TH_NK on graduating from Newcastle University. Now, three years on, it has a £2.4m turnover, employs 40 people and claims to be the biggest brand-technology group in the region.
ROB SCOTT, Systemlays UK, Newcastle.
ROB SCOTT, a 22-year-old racing and statistics expert, set up his online daily tipping service Systemlays UK while studying law at Newcastle University in 2003.
HAANI HASNAIN, chief executive, Haani Cables, Hartlepool.
WHEN the 27-year-old, who has learned the trade from driving a forklift to making cables, joined the company it employed between 50 and 60 people. Today it employs 130 people.