Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 18 September 2014

Award for engineer at helm of global Wrightbus dynasty

IET president Jayne Brady joined Andy Hopper (centre), co-founder of Acorn Computers and a past president, as he presented the first Northern Ireland Engineering Excellence Award to Wrightbus co-founder William Wright (right)

The co-founder of Wrightbus has been honoured for his contribution to engineering by the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET).

The organisation also launched a new award for young female students showing promise at engineering during its annual dinner at the Culloden Hotel last Thursday.

William Wright and his father established Robert Wright and Sons Coachworks Ltd in Ballymena, Co Antrim in 1946. Mr Wright has since led the growth of the firm into a world-leading innovator in the manufacture and export of buses.

Chairman Jayne Brady said the IET was delighted to mark Mr Wright's championing of engineering innovation by presenting him with the IET's first Northern Ireland Engineering Excellence Award.

"Under his leadership Wrightbus has become a byword for excellence and achievement, leaving its mark on public transport in recent years, not just by building the new bus for London, but even further afield in Tokyo, Singapore and China.

"We hope the efforts of Mr Wright can inspire future generations of Northern Ireland engineers, just as he has spurred on the efforts of Wrightbus engineers."

Mr Wright received the award from past IET president and entrepreneur Andy Hopper. Mr Hopper was named one of the 100 Makers of the 21st Century in the Sunday Times, which described him as "a rare creature in the development of the internet...a boffin and a businessman, who helps to fund and found numerous tech start-ups".

The IET also announced the launch of the new IngeNIous Female Student Award recognising engineering and technology prowess among female students, which will be given to the most promising female student in year 12 or year 13 at a school in Northern Ireland.

The school should provide an academic reference of no more than 200 words outlining why the student should be nominated as Northern Ireland most promising female. This reference should include predicted A-Level or equivalent grades and details of relevant extra-curricular activities.

The student should write an essay of no more than 200 words on "the greatest engineering invention of the 21st century". Submissions should be emailed to Caron Malone at cmalone@ by March 28.

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