The five finalists jetting out to the CEO retreat
Lorraine and Michael Hall of Kestrel Foods specialise in the production of dried fruit, nuts and seeds for snacking, including the Forest Feast brand. The company began in a rented factory in Carn Food Park. In 2005, a dedicated 17,000 sq ft food processing plant was bought to facilitate growth and today the factory has been extended to 35,000 sq ft.
Ian Wilson, managing director of Wilsons Auctions, left school at 15 to work with his father selling agricultural machinery. Now head of Wilsons Auctions, he employs over 300 full-time staff and a further 200 on a part-time basis across Ireland and the UK, selling assets including property, jewellery and planes for banks, government departments, blue-chip companies and private individuals.
Mark Hutchinson of SJC Hutchinson Engineering left school at 18 to work in the family business, making agricultural products. Under his leadership, the company has developed into one of our leading sub-contract laser cutting manufacturing companies, supplying services to the aerospace, agriculture, construction, energy, materials handling, medical and transport sectors.
From the age of 11, Stuart Dobson worked during his school holidays on a farm and in an abattoir in Dungannon.
He created Elmgrove Foods in 2008 to export food products from slaughtered cattle, sheep and pigs treated as waste at home.
The business is 100% export-based with offal products going to the Far East, Africa and Europe.
Ian Haldane is managing director of the Haldane Shiells Group, founded by his grandfather in 1946. He has grown the business throughout the UK and Ireland since taking the helm at the age of 27 following the tragic death of his father, who was killed in a terrorist attack.
Haldane Shiells Group is now a leading independent supplier to the construction industry.