Aer Lingus winner Mukesh is flying high in London 'second home'


LONDON is almost becoming a second home for hotelier and travel commentator Mukesh Sharma . . .

He's been to the capital to collect an MBE, awarded in the Queen's new year honours list for services to the travel industry.

And now he's been recognised at the Aer Lingus Viscount Awards in London for his outstanding contribution to business life in Northern Ireland.

Sharma is managing director of the north's largest independent travel firm Selective Travel Management, which last year opened its new corporate headquarters at the regenerated Murray's Exchange, one of Belfast's most iconic buildings.

He was one of two individuals and six companies honoured at the 2016 Aer Lingus Viscount Awards at the prestigious IoD headquarters at Pall Mall in London.

The awards, in association with Ulster Business, go to those who have excelled in areas such as innovation, export, employee engagement and entrepreneurship. This year’s winners were:

:: Best SME - Kestrel Foods

:: Best Business Start-Up - Titanic Creative Management

:: Employee Champion - Firstsource Solutions

:: Exporter of the Year - Sandvik Mobile Crushers & Screens

:: Innovator of the Year -Hunter Apparel Solutions

:: Business Person of the Year - Connaire McGreevy (CTS Projects & Mourne Mountains Brewery)

:: Overall Excellence - Gilbert-Ash

Andrea Hunter, business development Manager of Aer Lingus in Northern Ireland, said: “The Viscount Awards have grown over the years to become one of the most respected events on the business calendar, and we are proud to continue to reward and support those organisations that represent the absolute best in their respective fields. This was a true celebration of true business excellence.”

Connaire McGreevy, managing director of two Warrenpoint-based businesses CTS Projects and Mourne Mountains Brewery. said: “To be honoured amongst the best of local businesses at such a prestigious ceremony is truly overwhelming. Although it’s an individual award, the business successes would simply not be possible without the hard work and dedication of the fantastic teams I have at both CTS Projects and the brewery.


“It’s been an eventful year for us – CTS Projects has grown significantly; we’ve secured £14 million in new contracts, now serving 40 per cent of heating installations and maintenance for the social housing market in Northern Ireland.

"Mourne Mountains Brewery is also going from strength to strength; in just a year we’ve brewed and brought to market eight distinct craft beers which are already stocked in over 70 outlets,” he added.

Ray Hutchinson, managing director of Gilbert Ash, who won the award for overall excellence said: “We substantially increased our workforce in 2015, a decision which was driven by a series of high profile contract wins across the UK.

"We successfully increased our turnover in 2015 to £115m and are on target to achieve a turnover of £160m-plus in 2016. We recently took the strategic decision to target projects that would allow us to make use of our expertise and experience to sustain our plans for continual growth and we anticipate this will lead to further wins in the coming year.”

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