Eric Cairns has been named as the property personality of the year in Northern Ireland.
He was awarded the accolade by the judging panel in the Belfast Telegraph Northern Ireland Property Awards 2007, sponsored by Ulster Bank.
One of the most familiar faces on Northern Ireland's property scene, he founded the Eric Cairns Partnership in 1992, and has seen his property agency grow significantly in the past 15 years.
Mr Cairns has developed the business, which has offices in Holywood and Belfast, into one of the province's leading practices, representing some of the best-known lending institutions, builders and developers.
Apart from his business acumen, the judging panel also applauded his commitment to charity work, such as his support for the Men Against Cancer campaign.
Mr Cairns was presented with the Ulster Bank-sponsored property personality of the year award at a gala dinner held at the Ramada Hotel in Belfast last night.
The accolade is the only non-entry category in the annual awards and is presented to an individual who has made an outstanding contribution to the property industry in Ulster.
Henry Elvin, a member of the judging panel and head of corporate and property banking with Ulster Bank, said: "The underlying activity within the property sector in 2007 was dominated by the residential market, with many notable new schemes being launched.
"In coming to their decision on who should win the property personality of the year prize, the judges were looking for an individual who had played a key role in this sector. We believe Eric Cairns has demonstrated great skills and commerciality in this area over many years and represents a role model for the many new agents in the residential marketplace."
Some of Ulster's leading property companies were recognised in this year's awards.
Other winners included Colliers CRE, Gary McDowell Chartered Surveyors, Templeton Robinson, Eric Cairns Partnership, Osborne King, Benmore Developments, Hagan Homes, GML Estate's The Outlet, McGinnis' Malone Square and BTW Shiells.
Mark O'Kane (28) from Colliers CRE was named young property agent of the year.
Robert Gallagher, chief executive of corporate markets with Ulster Bank, said: "These prestigious awards have become a yardstick by which Northern Ireland's property firms and practitioners are measured. The winners have all excelled in their fields and have won because they have made an important contribution to the economy and society through their work.
"As a major supporter of Northern Ireland's property industry, Ulster Bank is delighted to recognise innovation, creativity and excellence in this important sector of the local economy."s