Dr William Wright CBE, founder of Wrightbus, the global market leader in bus manufacturing has been announced as the ‘2014 Innovation Founder’, an award celebrating the achievements of some of Northern Ireland’s most successful entrepreneurs.
The accolade, part of the Northern Ireland Science Park Connect INVENT2014 Awards, recognises distinction in founding, leading or building an eminent local technology or life sciences business.
Ballymena-based Wrightbus, renowned for bringing the “Boris Bus” to London, employs almost 2,000 people and exports to international markets, including Singapore and Hong Kong.
Dr William Wright, who was nominated by the public and then selected by the previous winners, says it is an honour to have been chosen:
“I am incredibly proud of the company that bears my family name. Thanks to the hard work, passion and ingenuity of everyone involved in the business Wrightbus continues to demonstrate thought and technology leadership in today’s highly competitive and demanding global transport sector, which now has a presence across a number of continents.
“We have always looked beyond the present, trying to identify what challenges our customers may face five, ten, even fifteen years down the line and also continually re-investing a relatively high proportion of our turnover in R&D. I believe this approach has made the company synonymous with innovation. We have most recently been particularly active in developing low emission bus technology – an area of public transport that I believe is now coming to fruition.”
Previous winners of the Innovation Founder Award include the late Professor John Anderson of HeartSine Technologies (2010); Dr Hugh Cormican, founder and Director of Andor Technology (2011); Tom Eakin of TG Eakin (2012); and Dr Peter FitzGerald, Managing Director of Randox Laboratories Ltd (2013).
Steve Orr, Director of NISP CONNECT, said: “Wrightbus is a perfect example of a company which, since its early days, has invested in product development in order to continually innovate and revolutionise.
“William certainly is visionary. By challenging the norm and creating cutting edge designs, the company has gained a huge competitive edge and as a result, Wrightbus is continuing to win major contracts around the world.
“The Innovation Founder award celebrates the local innovators who have not only changed the landscape of NI business and made a real and lasting contribution to the local economy, but they are breaking ground in their industries around the world. This really typifies William.
Dr. Wright will address the final of the INVENT2014 Awards at a Gala Dinner at Titanic Belfast on 2 October 2014. 12 INVENT finalists are competing across six sectors- Creative Media and Consumer Internet; Agri-Food; Life & Health; Engineering; Electronics and Enterprise Software.
To book a place at the Gala dinner, www.invent2014.co