London beckons for Aer Lingus Viscount Awards finalists

Members of the judging panel at the 2016 Aer Lingus Viscount Awards, which take place in London on May 24
Gary McDonald Business Editor

SEVENTEEN of Northern Ireland’s best and brightest companies, along with three outstanding individuals, have made the short-list for the 2016 Aer Lingus Viscount Awards, which culminate with a special presentation lunch on May 24 at the IoD's Pall Mall headquarters in London.

The awards, held in association with Ulster Business, recognise and celebrate a diverse range of businesses that demonstrate achievement in areas such as innovation, export, employee engagement and entrepreneurship.

“This year’s entries revealed a thriving business landscape and it was genuinely tough to decide on the list of finalists,” said Andrea Hunter, business development manager at Aer Lingus in NI.

“The level of diversification and innovation each of our finalists have displayed, not to mention a clear commitment to business excellence, means that they all thoroughly deserve their spot on the short list. There were a few others who only just missed out, and I’d urge them to try again next year."

She added: “I’m looking forward to welcoming each of the finalists on board next month to attend the ceremony in London, which will be a fantastic day of celebrating the very best in Northern Irish business.”

The judging panel for the Viscount Awards included David Elliott (Ulster Business), Andrea Hunter (Aer Lingus), Gary McDonald (Irish News), Richard Sherriff (News Letter), Jeremy Fitch (Invest NI), Wendy Austin (BBC), Colin Walsh (Crescent Capital), Catriona Gibson (Arthur Cox) and Roseann Kelly (Women in Business). The finalists are:

:: Best SME - CTS Projects, Kestrel Foods, M&M Contractors

:: Best business start-up - Mourne Mountains Brewery, Titanic Creative Management

:: Employee champion - Allstate Northern Ireland, Capita HR Solutions, Firstsource Solutions

:: Exporter of the year - AJ Power, Sandvik Mobile Crushers & Screens, Deluxe Group

:: Innovator of the year - Environmental Street Furniture, Hunter Apparel Solutions, Solmatix Renewables, Lava Group

:: Business person of the year - Connaire McGreevy (CTS Projects & Mourne Mountains Brewery), Gareth Loye (M&M Contractors), Patricia O’Hagan (Core Systems NI).

:: Overall excellence - AJ Power, Gilbert-Ash, World Travel Centre/Selective Travel Management

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