It is the night when the North East business community comes together to celebrate the achievements of those individuals who make our companies tick.
Last Thursday night saw representatives from across the North East gather at the Marriott Hotel in Gosforth for The Journal and Evening Gazette’s North East Business Executive of the Year Awards.
And the occasion, sponsored by wealth management firm Brewin Dolphin, lived up to its billing with the 300-plus guests treated to an evening of celebration, capped by the awarding of the prestigious title of North East Business Executive of the Year to Andrew Hodgson, chief executive of Wallsend subsea equipment manufacturer SMD.
Hodgson, who had earlier taken the gong for the Tyneside and Northumberland sub region, spoke on stage of his pride at picking up the honour, hailing it as a triumph for the North East’s resurgent manufacturing sector.
The title of Business Executive of the Year for Durham and Wearside went to Wayne Edy, whose sports shoe company Innov8 has been transformed from an operation based out of the back of the entrepreneur’s van into a global operation that is taking on some of the biggest names in sportswear.
Edy said that it wasn’t easy to compete with such global corporate forces but paid tribute to the innovation and hard work of his workforce, based across its two offices in County Durham and Cumbria.
The top honour for Teesside went to the charismatic Steve Pearson who was delighted to be recognised for the incredible growth of his business, Pearson-Harper, which specialises in IT systems for large engineering businesses, such as those in the oil and gas sector.
Northumbria University graduate Jules Quinn was named the Young Business Person of the Year for the success she has achieve3d in just 18 months since launching her tea business The *Teashed. It is already stocked in John Lewis stores across the UK and now has attracted interest from overseas. A delighted Quinn, whose company operates out of the Design Centre in Gateshead, said she was proud to be based in the North East, saying it was the best place in the UK to do business.
The lifetime achievement award was given to John Squires, the long-serving chairman of motor group Benfield in recognition of both his business achievements and contribution to the North East commmunity at large.
And there was a special video message from Trevor Mann, senior vice president-global supply chain management and operating committee for Africa, Middle East and India for Nissan. He was unable to pick up his outstanding contribution award for his efforts in building the car giant’s Wearside plant into the success story it is today as he was on business in Russia.
The Non-executive Director of the Year Award was presented to Chris Fleetwood for the contribution he has made to two businesses, IT firm Onyx and Darlington Building Society. He received the prize from last year’s recipient, MT Rainey.