Belfast Telegraph

From backyard shed to a world leading manufacturer

By Claire Weir

William Wright began his career working in his father's shed behind their house at Warden Street in Ballymena in the 1940s.

Fast-forward six decades and the family firm, The Wright Group, now employs almost 2,000 people in Ballymena and Antrim and its buses can be seen cruising the streets of London, Singapore and Las Vegas.

Back at home, car drivers and passengers can be seen to do a double-take as buses headed for London destinations like Islington and Tottenham Court Road, or sleek gold Hong Kong-bound double-deck vehicles with route displays in Cantonese, pass them on their test drives along the M2.

The company has gone from making school minibuses, work vans and delivery lorries to the new Bus for London, the replacement for the world-famous red Routemaster double-decker, and now known as the Boris Bus.

And William Wright still turns up for work every day, aged in his late 80s.

Group managing director Mark Nodder, who has held the post for seven years, has led the business to major international success.

The Blackpool-born businessman originally trained as a lawyer before embarking on a career in industry which has also taken him to planemaker Bombardier and Saudi Arabia's Ministry of Defence.

He is also president of the Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce.

Belfast Telegraph