A number of Northern Ireland business leaders have made the New Year honours list.
From the meat industry and insurance to academia most notable business honours were awarded to Campbell Tweedie OBE, chair of the NI Meat Exporters’ Association, former Moy Park chief executive Nigel Dunlop CBE and chairman and founder of Hughes Insurance Leslie Hughes OBE.
Mr Tweedie was awarded his OBE for services to the Red Meat Industry and the community in Northern Ireland.
Having joined the meat industry at 14 years old next year will mark Mr Tweedie’s 60th year in the industry.
The director of Dungannon Meats said he was “shocked” on hearing of his award.
“This has certainly come as a big shock but really I’ve enjoyed 60 years in the red meat industry and I’ve been at the forefront the whole time and I’ve enjoyed every minute of it” he added.
“Any contribution I’ve made to the red meat industry has been my pleasure and any contribution I’ve made to any community or charity work has been a pleasure to me and really as far as I’m concerned it’s a pleasure to receive it. It’s nice to be recognised. The red meat industry was and is my life and I’ve enjoyed it and I’ve put a lot into it but I didn’t expect this type of thing.”
Also awarded an OBE for services to the Insurance Industry and to the community in Northern Ireland, Mr Hughes has been instrumental in changing the local insurance market over the last four decades.
Leslie Hughes established his company Hughes Insurance in 1977 at his home in Newtownards. Since then the firm has become the copuntry’s largest independent insurance broker becaming part of Liberty Mutual Insurance earlier this year.
According to experts the business model Leslie pioneered in 1977 enabled UK based insurance companies to offer insurance products in NI, which had previously been a market considered too dangerous and risky to operate in, due to The Troubles.
Former CEO of Moy Park Nigel Dunlop dedicated his CBE to his wife and children who supported him throughout his career. Mr Dunlop joined Moy Park in 2008 from Gallaher and led the company’s integration into the Brazilian Marfrig Group - turning round the loss-making poultry specialist to doubling its sales to almost £1.5billion.
He said: “It was a complete surprise and totally unexpected, I was completely taken aback. But it is a great honour and I guess when I reflect on that it’s one that I have to share with my wife Sue and my family, they’ve been a total support throughout my career and also to the people I’ve had the privilege to work with because I’ve been very luck to work with some super people and very recently with Moy Park up until I retired at the end of last year
“They were a great bunch of people and they did a superb job in building the business.
“I feel very honoured by it.”
In education Dr Mary Flynn received an MBE for her services to Higher Education in Northern Ireland. Dr Flynn, who is Head of Knowledge Transfer Partnerships and Business Networks, Queen’s University Belfast said: “I am absolutely delighted to have been appointed an MBE since I see it is an endorsement of the great work the KTP & Business Networks team I lead at Queen’s does in facilitating the engagement of local companies with our researchers.
“Through the successful delivery of the KTP initiative at Queen’s the impact on our local NI economy has been enormous, enhancing the profitability of businesses as well as creating graduate jobs. I am both very humbled and proud to receive this.”
At the University of Ulster vice chancellor Professor Richard Barnett was awarded a Knight Bachelor for services to Higher Education and Business in Northern Ireland.
The 61-year-old joined the university in April 2006 but is set to leave his post in Spring next year. In his years as vice chancellor over 30,000 students have graduated from the university.
An Ulster University spokesperson said: “This is a well deserved honour which recognises both Professor Barnett’s leadership in higher education and his contribution to business and the economy in Northern Ireland.
“It is a fitting recognition of his tenure as Vice-Chancellor of Ulster University.”
Other people recognised on the honours list included director of the College of Agriculture, Food and Rural Enterprise, Northern Ireland Executive Dr John Fay, OBE, for his services to Agri-Food Education and Mrs Wilma Erskine-Heggarty, BEM, Club Secretary and Manager, Royal Portrush Golf Club for her services to Northern Ireland Tourism and Golf.