Hotelier Bill takes top title at UTV Business Eye awards

Hotelier Bill Wolsey, centre, receives his UTV Business Eye Personality of the Year award from Enda Corneille, country manager, Emirates in Ireland, and Brenda Buckley from Business Eye

Hotelier Bill Wolsey, centre, receives his UTV Business Eye Personality of the Year award from Enda Corneille, country manager, Emirates in Ireland, and Brenda Buckley from Business Eye

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Leading Northern Ireland hotelier Bill Wolsey has been named Business Personality of the Year at the 10th anniversary UTV Business Eye Awards in association with new lead sponsors Emirates.

The awards were presented at Belfast Waterfront late last week in front of a record-breaking audience of more than 700 business guests.

Bill Wolsey opened his latest hotel venture, Bullitt, in Belfast city centre recently but is renowned as the developer behind The Merchant as well as the Beannchor Group of bars and the Little Wing Pizzeria group.

Cookstown-based building material manufacturers Keystone Group took the coveted Company of the Year title recognising its growth from a manufacturer of roof lintels to a major manufacturer employing more than 1,000 people.

Meanwhile, a unique double Lifetime Achievement Award was awarded to County Tyrone brothers Jack and Jim Dobson, the founders of Dunbia, the giant meat processing group based in Dungannon but with locations all over the UK and Ireland.

Other key winners on a glittering night of awards at Belfast Waterfront were Chris Martin of Belfast-based online retailer Ozaroo, who won Young Business Personality of the Year, and dynamic Portadown company The Deluxe Group, a specialist company responsible for high-profile design and fit projects worldwide, which won SME of the Year.

The Employer of the Year title went to one of Northern Ireland’s largest employers, US-owned Allstate.

Dunmurry-based ventilation specialists Brookvent lifted the International Award while Mallusk based WIS Group was named Fast Growth Company of the Year.

“These awards are a great partnership for Emirates and help demonstrate our commitment to the Northern Irish market,” said Enda Corneille, country manager for Emirates in Ireland.

“Emirates operates two flights daily from Dublin direct to Dubai and onwards to a wide range of worldwide destinations, and Northern Ireland-based business passengers are an important part of our growing customer base.”

Michael Wilson, MD of UTV Television said: “UTV has had the opportunity to support the Business Eye Awards since their inception 10 years ago and, once again, businesses across Northern Ireland have showcased their innovation, strengths and credibility not only at a local level but as international players also.

The awards will be televised for the second time this year with a special programme scheduled for broadcast on UTV on Tuesday, December 6.