Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Who Will Follow in Andrew's Footsteps?

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Who Will Follow in Andrew's Footsteps?

Article excerpt

THE search is on for Tyneside and Northumberland's Business Executive of the Year.

One gifted business leader will be selected from the region to go head-to-head with two similarly talented individuals from Teesside and Durham and Wearside, in the finals of the North East Business Executive of the Year Awards in November.

Last year, Tyneside and Northumberland's champion - and indeed the overall North East winner - was Andrew Hodgson, chief executive of Wallsend's SMD.

Joining the company in 2008, after private equity investor Inflexion acquired a 60% stake, the former BAE Systems strategy director transformed the company's fortunes, trebling its turnover to PS130m within just a few years.

Under Mr Hodgson's leadership, the engineering firm witnessed significant growth across all its key business areas, including remotely operated vehicles, trenching, mining, renewables and nuclear.

Staff numbers doubled from 250 in 2010 to more than 500 and Mr Hodgson has been noted for his commitment to supporting apprenticeships.

Last year, the company, which has invested millions of pounds in working capital and bringing new products to the market in the past 12 months, opened its fourth factory at the Oceana Business park, Wallsend.

Chairman of judges John Mowbray, said Mr Hodgson had been the unanimous choice of the panel.

"The judges who went out to visit all of those shortlisted spoke very highly of what they found," he said.

"At a time when manufacturing exports were being touted as the great hope for the future of the UK economy, it was quite fitting that the North-east's exceptional endeavours in this area were recognised with an award for an individual who has played a key role both within his own company and the business community in general."

Mr Hodgson was following in the footsteps of 2011's winner, Michael Sandford-Couch, of North Shields company Potts Print (UK). …

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