North East engineer and entrepreneur John Reece has been recognised for his career achievements at Buckingham Palace, where he received his MBE announced in the New Year Honours List.
Awarded for services to engineering, manufacturing and innovation, Mr Reece’s MBE recognises a 30-year career in which he has been responsible for the success of two international engineering businesses on Tyneside – Soil Machine Dynamics (SMD) and Pearson Engineering – as well as his role as chairman of Reece Group.
Pearson Engineering, a subsidiary of Reece Group, and SMD have both used their highly innovative, developing engineered products to become market leaders on a global stage.
Mr Reece: “It was an honour to meet Prince Charles and be recognised for my engineering on Tyneside. The award of an MBE is greatly appreciated.
“The last 30 years has, like in most businesses, been a roller coaster ride but I am pleased that the success of both SMD which I ran for 20 years and more recently Pearson Engineering and the Reece Group has been recognised.
“The support of my wife Sue and my family has played a vital role in this success, as have many of the people I have had the good fortune to work with along the way. This journey is by no means over; we have ambitious plans for the future expansion of the Reece Group and its continuing contribution to the North East economy.”
The group capitalised on the success of the defence business Pearson Engineering, using the funds to diversify operations and acquire three engineering businesses – Responsive Engineering, Pipe Coil Technology and Velocity, as well as launching an innovation centre.
The firm also completed the acquisition of the iconic 350,000sqft Armstrong Works based on the banks of the Tyne along Scotswood Road.
Previously owned by Vickers and latterly BAE Systems the site was acquired to house the firm’s expanding operations.
Mr Reece said: “Developing a group is not without its challenges.
“In early 2014 we embarked upon the redevelopment of Armstrong Works, at a cost of £10m, which we plan to complete in the third quarter of 2015.
“As part of this programme four group businesses are moving to the new site which, however good the planning, will cause some disruption to operations.
“Whilst our goal to diversify operation is aimed at reducing risk and taking advantage of new markets we are subject to the vagaries of the global markets for our products and services.”