North East Business Awards: Search begins for region's manufacturing stars

Manufacturing remains a key driver of the region’s economy - making for one of the most hotly contested categories at the North East Business Awards

Nifco UK MD Mike Matthews with Stewart Watkins
Nifco UK MD Mike Matthews with Stewart Watkins

Manufacturing remains a key driver of the region’s economy - making for one of the most hotly contested categories at the North East Business Awards.

Taking the regional title at the 2013 awards was Teesside car parts manufacturer Nifco UK, which has continued to grow since earning the accolade.

The company beat off competition from Durham and Wearside’s winner ALM Engineering Solutions, of Newton Aycliffe, and Tyneside and Northumberland’s winner Express Engineering (Thompson), Gateshead.

Since winning the titles, Nifco UK has continued to go from strength to strength.

Wth a full order book for the next five years, the company began a £12.8m expansion of its Eaglescliffe site earlier this year.

Support for the category in 2014 comes from Business Durham, ABB Consulting, FW Capital and South West Durham Training (SWDT).

John Charlton, training manager at SWDT said the organisation was delighted to be sponsoring the Manufacturing Category of the Durham and Wearside Business Awards.

“For more than 45 years, SWDT has been at the very heart of the growth of the manufacturing and engineering sectors in the North East, equipping thousands of young people each and every year with the skills and practical experience needed to enter the world of work,” he said.

“The North East is flying the flag for manufacturing and engineering, with some real success stories across the region, and these awards are fantastic recognition of that.

“The work businesses in this sector are doing is going some way towards growing the North East’s economy, and maintaining the positive balance of trade we have managed to establish in this corner of the country. Every single business that is contributing to this impressive feat has its own individual story of success.”

Business Durham is the economic development company for County Durham, delivering the required environment for business and economic growth.

Providing dynamic and proactive support to the business community, it acts as the gateway to Durham County Council, and is responsible for managing a portfolio of business properties, attracting inward investment and developing an innovative economy that allows companies to grow and flourish.

Durham has a solid reputation for its extensive range of manufacturing firms - some world-leading businesses and others smaller local firms who continue to re-invest in the area.

Simon Goon, managing director of Business Durham, said: “We are delighted to be once again sponsoring the Manufacturing Award at the Regional Final and Business Durham is committed to supporting this sector.

“We look forward to receiving nominations within this category and working with the Evening Gazette, The Journal and NECC.”

ABB Consulting likewise believes the North East has a proud history of engineering and remains a focal point for the UK’s manufacturing excellence.

The company said it was delighted to support the manufacturing category of the North East Business Awards, adding that many of its services that support its customers in achieving manufacturing excellence have been developed in the region.

The fact that ABB has delivered services worldwide demonstrates the North East is at the forefront of innovation and sustainable manufacturing, it added, and the key to its success is the quality of its people.

ABB safety operations manager, Paul Alton, said: “Our team is at the cutting edge of safety, performance and compliance operating in the petrochemical, oil and gas, chemical and power industries across the globe.”

Fund management company FW Capital also said it was proud to sponsor the Manufacturing Award again.

“We recognise the importance of the manufacturing sector to the North East’s economy, so we’re keen to celebrate manufacturing excellence,” a company spokesman said. “FW Capital has a number of manufacturing companies in its growing portfolio, including Tyneside-based hydraulic systems manufacturer, Quick Hydraulics and we’re keen to talk to more.

“Our flexible investment approach continues to attract established businesses.“Structured equity investments have proved to be a sensible option for a number of the SMEs we’ve already invested in, for instance.

“With the talent, entrepreneurial flair and determination of the management teams in the North East, we anticipate that this award will be hotly contested.”

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