David Henderson, the Managing Director of Tobermore Concrete, has been named the 2021 EOY Industry Entrepreneur of the Year.
The annual awards ceremony was held as a primarily virtual event and was attended by a virtual audience of more than 2000 people. In a year where the programme received a record number of nominations, this year’s finalists collectively employ more than 3,900 people and have revenues in excess of €1 billion.
Tobermore was founded in 1942 and manufactures high quality paving products. David Henderson joined the company in 1976 and became Managing Director in 1987.
When David took over Tobermore he quickly recognised that in order to manufacture higher quality paving products, there would have to be investment in better machines, processes and systems. He visited large corporates in America such as IBM to get a feel for how these companies implemented their business excellence programmes and in 1990, Tobermore commenced its own business excellence programme, placing employee engagement and quality at the forefront of its business excellence strategy. That strategy has continued to bear fruit in the 30 years since its introduction leading to this award.
The company employs more than 400 people and produces 8.5m concrete products annually. Tobermore intends to double sales in the UK in the coming four years and sales this year are up 40 per cent and continue to grow.
Other winners on the night included Brian O’Sullivan, founder and Chief Executive of Zeus Packaging, who was named the International and overall 2021 EY Entrepreneur Of The Year.
Anne Heraty, Chairperson of the judging panel said: “This year’s finalists demonstrate that the island of Ireland is populated by some of the smartest and most innovative entrepreneurs there are. Each of our winners has displayed a potent combination of vision, innovation and determination that has been crucial to their success. We look forward to following their undoubted continuing success and I am delighted to warmly welcome them into the EOY Alumni community.”
Each year EY also presents a Special Award to individuals who have made a significant contribution to life on the island of Ireland through their vision, innovation and commitment to excellence. This year, the prestigious honour was awarded to Mary Robinson, the former President of Ireland and UN High Commissioner for Human Rights who is now leading a global campaign to tackle the climate crisis we face.