Tees mayor Ben Houchen has been voted the region’s most inspiring person by Tees business leaders.
The result of the Tees Business annual poll has created a third different winner for the accolade in as many years.
Just 12 months ago, Houchen didn’t make our top 30. One year on and he narrowly beat Bill Scott to the top spot.
It says much for the impact he has had since becoming the surprise Tory winner in the race to become the first Tees Valley mayor.
As chairman of the Tees Valley Combined Authority, Houchen has a long-term plan for job creation, growth and investment, with ambitions to deliver 25,000 new jobs to the region by 2026.
He believes the South Tees Development Corporation site on the former SSI steelworks, near Redcar, can attract thousands of jobs and billions of pounds of investment, while he says he is making progress towards his promise to buy back Durham Tees Valley Airport.
Perhaps the biggest driver in topping our poll is that Houchen has connected with the Tees region’s business leaders in a way that no other politician has previously even attempted, bringing hope, belief and inspiration to companies and business owners at a time of wider uncertainty.
On winning our annual poll, Houchen said: “While I haven’t signed off a VAT return in well over 18 months, I’m very humbled by the result.
“There are so many influential figures on that list that are making an immense contribution to the Tees Valley – many more than me – so I’m surprised a lowly politician has even been nominated!
“Nonetheless, with their help, I’m committed to driving real, positive change in the region that I grew up in, call home, and now represent.
“Part of doing that means backing our region’s wealth creators, innovators, entrepreneurs and risk takers, and making sure they succeed – from the large companies that employ hundreds of people, to the small and medium firms that are the real engine room of our economy.
“I’d like to thank business leaders for their continued support on our mission to build a better Tees Valley for everyone. If we keep at it, keep talking up the Tees Valley, our fantastic companies and investment opportunities, we can make this the best place in the UK to do business, work and live.”