Dr Terry Cross OBE, former chairman and CEO of Delta Print and Packaging and current chairman of Hinch Distillery, Pat O’Neill, founder of Co Tyrone-based Powerscreen and Brian Irwin, chairman of Irwin’s Bakery, are the first ever inductees. Brian’s brother Niall Irwin, who sadly passed away in 2018, has also been posthumously inducted to the Hall of Fame.
The four stalwarts of the local manufacturing industry were recognised for their decades of contribution to the Northern Irish economy and their efforts in helping to carve out NI’s reputation as a leading international location for manufacturing and engineering.
Representing key sectors of the local manufacturing industry like food production, crushing equipment manufacturing, and packaging, the four leaders have dedicated years of their professional lives to the Northern Irish economy, creating and sustaining thousands of jobs over a number of decades in the process.
The Northern Ireland Manufacturing Hall of Fame is a new initiative as part of Manufacturing Month, a month-long celebration of the local manufacturing and engineering sector and the talented and skilled people who make the sector one of the most important to the Northern Irish economy.
The inductions were announced at the Anchor High Leadership Summit dinner at the Galgorm Resort, Ballymena. As part of the selection criteria, inductees had to have started or grown a Northern Irish business significantly and sustainably over the last two decades at least; enhanced NI’s manufacturing reputation through sectoral or product development; are highly respected by peers, employees and communities in which their businesses operate; or contributes to community initiatives or charitable or sporting causes.
Speaking at the Anchor High Hall of Fame dinner, Manufacturing NI CE Stephen Kelly, said: “Manufacturing Month is, at its core, about celebrating the people within our sector, those makers and leaders who have developed the local industry to the point it’s at now – one of NI’s most important economic sectors, bringing in over £15bn in trade each year. The success of our local industry, however, is in large part down to the four leaders we have chosen to be the first ever inductees to the Northern Ireland Manufacturing Hall of Fame.
“Dr Terry Cross OBE, Pat O’Neill, and Brian and Niall Irwin have created countless jobs, sustained thousands of households across NI, and produced goods and products which are used and enjoyed in markets across the globe. Their impact on our economy and our sector has been immeasurable. These four leaders have boosted NI’s international reputation as a location for innovation, engineering excellence, and skilled workers, and everyone of us in the local manufacturing sector have leaders like Terry, Pat, Brian, and Niall to thank for laying the foundations over the past 50 years.
“Leaders like these continue to inspire the next generation and, on behalf of the members of Manufacturing NI, I want to congratulate them on their decades of success and thank them for all their efforts throughout their distinguished careers.”