Declan Billington is managing director of Belfast-based animal feed firm John Thompson and Sons Ltd.
The Holywood-born businessman has been awarded an MBE for services to economic development in Northern Ireland.
"It came as a surprise to be nominated, but it's something I'm very proud of," he told the Belfast Telegraph last night.
With a career in business spanning 20 years, Mr Billington has held a number of posts including chairmanships of both the CBI and Northern Ireland Food and Drink Association (NIFDA).
Educated at Queen's University, where he studied accountancy and economics before beginning his career at PricewaterhouseCoopers, Mr Billington also sits on the Agrifood Strategy Board, and represents Northern Ireland on the board of the leading UK-based agricultural lobbying body, the Agricultural Industries Confederation.
Lobbying to improve government policy for local businesses, he said, has been among his proudest achievements.
"I think working towards improving our business environment in Northern Ireland is the right thing to do, so it is nice to be recognised for that."
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