South Derry manufacturer named EY Industry Entrepreneur of the Year

Tobermore's managing director, David Henderson, with his EY Industry Entrepreneur of the Year award.

THE head of south Derry paving manufacturer Tobermore has scooped one of the top prizes at the prestigious all-island EY Entrepreneur Of The Year awards.

David Henderson was named EY Industry Entrepreneur of the Year at Thursday night's event, which was attended by a virtual audience of 2,000.

It comes just over a year after the company announced a £30 million investment to expand the business, creating 95 jobs, taking its workforce beyond 400.

Set up in 1942, David joined the family business in 1976, becoming its managing director in 1987.

Since then, he has overseen a process of modernisation and expansion that seen the company grow into one of the leading paving and walling manufacturers and suppliers in the UK and Ireland.

The judges were impressed by how David Henderson and Tobermore had looked at the business models of major US corporates like IBM and implemented their own business excellence programme, placing employee engagement and quality at the forefront of its business excellence strategy.

The overall winner on Thursday night was Brian O'Sullivan is the founder, owner and CEO of Zeus, one of the largest privately owned packaging companies in Europe.

Make-up entrepreneur Aimee Connolly, founder and CEO of Sculpted By Aimee, was named 2021 EY Emerging Entrepreneur of the Year.

Rob Heron, partner lead for the EY awards in Northern Ireland hailed a “world-class” group of entrepreneurs in this year's programme.

“Each of whom have demonstrated incredible perseverance, flexibility and adaptability, allowing them to thrive throughout a period of extended disruption and change,” he said.

“Despite the hurdles that 2021 has brought, our finalists have proved that entrepreneurs on the island of Ireland continue to innovate and compete at a world class level and we hope that their stories provide inspiration for new and established businesses alike.

Anne Heraty, who chaired the judging panel said: “This year's finalists demonstrate that the island of Ireland is populated by some of the smartest and most innovative entrepreneurs there are.

“Each of our winners has displayed a potent combination of vision, innovation and determination that has been crucial to their success.

“We look forward to following their undoubted continuing success and I am delighted to warmly welcome them into the EOY Alumni community.”

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