Posted on Wednesday 22 April 2015 by Ulster Business

Viscount winners woo westminster

Jarek Zasadzinski, CEO of Greiner Packaging, is joined by Julie Davidson, Aer Lingus cabin crew, as he celebrates his Business Person of the Year award at the Aer Lingus Viscount Awards

FIVE of Northern Ireland’s most ambitious companies and one individual have been honoured for their achievements at the seventh annual Aer Lingus Viscount Awards, in association with Ulster Business.

The awards lunch took place on Tuesday 21st April in the Members’ Dining Room at the House of Commons, Westminster and was attended by some of Northern Ireland’s most impressive and tenacious companies, representing a variety of industries and sectors.

The Viscount Awards, which have grown over the years to become one of the most respected events on the business calendar, continue to reward those organisations that represent the absolute best in their respective fields.

This years awards entries were appraised by a seven strong panel of judges comprising Andrea Hunter, Aer Lingus Business Development Manager in Northern Ireland; David Elliott, Editor of Ulster Business; Jeremy Fitch, Executive Director, Business Solutions Group at Invest NI; Colin Walsh, Chairman of CBI in Northern Ireland; Richard Sherriff, Business Editor of the News Letter; Gary McDonald, Business Editor of the Irish News and Alan Taylor, Managing Partner at Arthur Cox.

The categories were; Most Innovative Company; Exporter of the Year, Best Small, Medium and Large Business, Business Person of the Year; and finally The Aer Lingus Viscount Award for Overall Excellence.

Most Innovative Company of the Year was awarded to Devenish Nutrition who are market leaders in developing and offering nutritional solutions to challenges faced by livestock producers. Amongst other recent triumphs, 2014 saw Devenish Nutrition create DeviGainPG, a unique concentrated protein that supplies amino acids in a targeted form that pigs can utilise more effectively.

Exporter of the Year went to T.G Eakin, the medical device manufacturer that has transformed disposable ostomy pouches to create a product that better protects the skin, creating comfort and security for the user. Over 90% of TG Eakin’s niche product range sales are exported outside the UK and in 2014, the company completed a £10 million extension, with significant investment in technology to improve production efficiencies specifically for export markets.

Hannan Meats, the high-end producer, processor, wholesaler and distributor of meat products to the food service sector in the UK, Ireland and Europe was awarded the Best Small Business trophy. Hannan Meats continually develops new techniques to improve the quality and range of food they produce, which in turn allows them to pay premiums to farmer and primary producer partners. The company broke all records for a producer at the Great Taste Awards in 2014, winning seven 3 Stars.

A. J. Power won the Best Medium Business category. The company’s highlights in 2014 include the supply and installation of 21 No’s 15kW sound attenuated generating sets for mobile phone radio base-stations in Papua New Guinea. A. J. Power has aggressively sought to increase its global reach year-on-year and has a license agreement with Massey Ferguson to sell, distribute and support their products under the Massey Ferguson brand worldwide.

Best Large Business was awarded to Gilbert Ash, in recent years the construction and fit out contractor has successfully secured and delivered a number of high profile projects in Northern Ireland, including the Lyric Theatre, Ravenhill Stadium and the new Giant’s Causeway Visitor’s Centre. In 2014, the Everyman Theatre they constructed in Liverpool, won the Stirling Prize; and the company was also appointed to carry out the £20 million refurbishment of the world-renowned Bartlett School of Architecture at University College London.

The penultimate award, Business Person of the year, went to Jarek Zasadzinski who, after joining the Greiner Group in 2005 turned the company around from an unfavourable financial position, a task which no doubt helped him earn the position of the organisation’s youngest ever CEO.

Under Jarek, Greiner Packaging has revolutionised Nestle’s packaging, and he has been instrumental in building a dominant position for the company, leading a challenging project to set up a sister factory in the USA in September 2014, an experience that he describes as one of the most rewarding in his career.

On accepting his award Mr. Zasadzinski said: “It's a great pleasure and recognition not only for me but also the entire team of Greiner Packaging Ltd. We all work tirelessly together for the company’s common goals and success.

 “Also a big thanks has to go to our partners who have to endure our dedication, in particular, my wife Magdalena. I am very proud to have accepted this award in Houses of Parliament in London.”

And finally the Aer Lingus Award for Overall Excellence was awarded to T.G Eakin, in the last year the company completed a six million pounds factory extension, invested a further £4 million in state-of-the-art machinery in fittings and acquired Cliffe Medical as a platform to further extend business development.

Picking up his company’s two awards, Jeremy Eakin, Managing Director of TG Eakin Ltd said: “It is a great honour to accept both the Exporter of the Year and the Overall Excellence award.  To be recognised at this level is a real boost for our extremely dedicated staff. 

“We have a very strong and successful company, which provides great products for nurses and patients.  Significant investment in R&D, people and processes will ensure we achieve our ambitious goals for the future.”

Andrea Hunter, Business Development Manager of Aer Lingus NI said: “Aer Lingus is delighted to be at the helm of these very prestigious business awards again this year, joining forces with Ulster Business to celebrate genuine innovation and the economic ties that exist between Northern Ireland, Great Britain and beyond.

“Receiving an Aer Lingus Viscount Award is a remarkable tribute as each year our judges raise the standard of expectation and are a tough bunch to please. It’s been an honour to select the winning companies and we’re looking forward to seeing their success stories continue.

“Robust air links are fundamental for the future economy of Northern Ireland to flourish and we are proud to connect businesses with opportunities globally every day via our Belfast City to Heathrow and Gatwick routes,” she said.

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