Mallusk chairman is Business Person of the Year

Declan Kearney, Director of Communications, Aer Lingus, John Toner, WIS Group and Jo Freeman, cabin crew member.
Declan Kearney, Director of Communications, Aer Lingus, John Toner, WIS Group and Jo Freeman, cabin crew member.

The CEO and chairman of Mallusk company WIS Group has been named Northern Ireland’s Business Person of the Year at the 2017 Aer Lingus Viscount Awards.

John Toner was presented with his prestigious award at the Institute of Directors’ headquarters in London in association with Ulster Business.

Under John’s leadership, turnover for the Newtownabbey engineering firm has risen from £25 million to £39.5 million in less than a year.

This growth has been attributed to the renewables department, a department which John spearheaded after recognising that expanding into the bio energy market was the most natural move to ensure continued company development.

John credited the team at William’s Industrial Services (WIS) as the key reason for his success.

He said: “This award recognises the efforts of everyone at the WIS Group. I work to the simple ethos that people do business with people and there are customer relationships within the group that have been in effect for 30 years.

“Building on these longterm relationships undoubtedly garners success. I have been incredibly lucky in my career to have the right people around me. If your team is right, you feel empowered to make decisions and comfortable enough to delegate.”

Andrea Hunter, Business Development Manager of Aer Lingus in Northern Ireland, said: “We were hugely impressed again by the calibre of this year’s entrants and while only seven companies left as Aer Lingus Viscount Award winners, the judges agreed that the immense talent and success of the companies present in the room was outstanding.

“Aer Lingus is proud to connect businesses with opportunities internationally every day via our Belfast City to Heathrow route and via Dublin Airport to our transatlantic destinations in the US, including our brand new route to Miami, which starts flying on September 1 2017.”

This year’s winners are as follows:

Best SME award -The Deluxe Group

Best Start-Up Business - Equi-Nutritive Group

The Employee Champion Award - CDEnviro

Exporter of the Year - MJM Group

The Innovation of the Year Award – Kerry Nevins, Babocush

The Fast Growth Business Award - Mount Charles

Business Person of the Year award - John Toner, WIS Group’s CEO and Chairman.

Aer Lingus Lifetime Achievement Award - John Donnelly.