Two Newtownabbey men - Dr Ernest Logan and Mr Sammy Bailie - have been named in the New Year Honours list.
Dr Logan, managing director of Ballyclare-based Giltspur Scientific Ltd, receives the OBE for services to agriculture, while Mr Bailie, retired deputy principal of the EU and Employment Relations Division at the Department for Employment and Learning, has been awarded the MBE for services to addressing unemployment.
Mr Bailie, from Woodford, near Carnmoney, retired from his job in July 2013. He described receiving the MBE as “a real surprise and a tremendous honour”.
Having served his time as an apprentice electrician at Harland and Wolff, Mr Bailie went on to work for Standard Telephones and Cables before joining the civil service in the early 1980s as an electrical instructor.
In 2007 he took on responsibility for managing the Local Employment Intermediary Service (LEMIS), working with marginalised people in some of the most socially and economically disadvantaged communities across Northern Ireland, pioneering policies aimed at getting the long-term unemployed back into work.
Over the past six years more than 10,000 people with multiple barriers to employment have availed of LEMIS, with more than 3,000 going on to secure employment or education and training opportunities.
“I know it sounds like a bit of a cliché, but I had a brilliant team working for me,” Mr Bailie said. “Although I’m the one who’s been nominated for the award, this really is for all of them. It is recognition of their work. They did a brilliant job.”
The 64-year-old father-of-two doesn’t know who nominated him for the honour, but believes it was someone from within his former department.
A man of strong Christian faith, Mr Bailie is an elder in Carnmoney Presbyterian Church.
The day after his retirement he travelled to Moldova with a group from the church to help out at an orphanage. He also volunteers at the Christians Against Poverty Job Club in the church, which seeks to help unemployed people get back into work.
“It’s not about giving people handouts. It’s about giving them a hand up and helping them get to a point where they can support themselves,” he added.
Mr Bailie doesn’t yet know when he’ll be going to the palace to receive his MBE, but he’s hoping that his wife Jean and children Kelly and Graeme will be able to go with him when he does.
Dr Logan (pictured), inventor of the renowned plastic orthopaedic shoe for dairy cows known throughout the world as Cowslips, established Giltspur Scientific in 1991.
Exported to 17 countries worldwide, the award-winning shoes have improved the welfare of millions of dairy cows by reducing the pain inflicted by lameness.
Dr Logan, who was unavailable for comment at the time of going to print, is deputy president of the Royal Ulster Agricultural Society.