By Colin Young
Wilton Engineering’s Bill Scott, Anne Preston of Prestons of Potto and Teesside University’s Professor Jane Turner were some of those picked out as “inspirations” by members of a panel of business leaders at a recent Tees Business networking event.
Almost 100 guests attended Wynyard Hall for the Tees Business Leaders event, featuring a Q&A with Karl Pemberton (Active Chartered Financial Planners), Linsey Robinson (DigitalCity), Dominic Lusardi (Animmersion), Jane Armitage (Jacksons Law) and Chris Bibby (Cornerstone Business Solutions).
The panel, host by Tees Business co-editor Dave Allan, started with questions on the business inspirations from the Teesside area who have helped shape the lives, careers and personal inspirations of the guests.
This followed Tees Business publishing the results of its annual poll among the region’s businesspeople on the most inspiring business leaders.
Wilton Engineering Group CEO Bill Scott OBE was a popular choice among the leading business figures, as a man who has inspired generations of Teessiders and still continues to do so.
Dominic Lusardi revealed Bill took a special interest in his business when he started Animmersion in Middlesbrough 13 years ago.
He recalled: “When we set up in our first week, we had no idea who Bill Scott was but he was the first person we met.
“He came to our office, to find out about us and our incubation space, and although he had no relation to us, he took that time to come and see us, speak about his plans, ask about our plans for the business, even though we were only a start-up.
“I think that shows the quality and character of the man.”
Dominic also had praise for the region’s mayor Ben Houchen, saying: “What he has done is set a level of ambition for the Tees Valley which was really important. He is here to help and the focus he has brought to the area is very important.”
Chris Bibby poured further praise on Bill Scott, commenting: “Tees Valley is full of new businesses and some great stories but what inspires me is people who have done it from scratch or had an immediate impact on an existing business.
“When I grew up, Bill Scott lived round the corner from me, and I used to play with his daughters. When we started Cornerstone it was nice to bump into Bill again, probably 20 years later. His growth in his business has been phenomenal and he has been fantastic for the area.”
Jane Armitage named two women from the local business scene who inspired her.
“The person who has always inspired me, and my generation, is Anne Preston (of Prestons of Potto) because she ran a haulage business and all those truckers in a such charming way, which is always inspiring.
“But we need to inspire for the future as well and one person who has always impressed me is Jane Turner (of Teesside University). How do we inspire young people and young women at school to want to be entrepreneurs and make them believe in themselves? Jane is an example of someone who is working so hard to inspire the next generation.”
Lynsey also gave a special to her university colleague, commenting: “People who inspire me are those who are really driven and passionate about what they do. I would certainly mention that being part of Jane Turner’s team at the university has been a great experience for me.
“The other one is my father-in-law David Rasher. He has always been a great inspiration to me. He is passionate and driven and now does a lot of work with young start-up tech businesses and anyone who can still have that passion and drive would be an inspiration to anybody.”
Explaining who inspires him from the local business community, Karl Pemberton said: “I look up to people who set up and run businesses with a bit of substance to them.
“We have a lot of people in our business community who talk the talk but maybe don’t walk the walk. I am inspired by people who do both with businesses that have something about them and some longevity.
“Bill Scott is an obvious one, and people like Gary Dawson at AV Dawson who is running a phenomenal business on the dockside.
“On the other side of the coin, I admire people breaking the mould like Sharon Lane of Tees Components. I know the difficulties of taking over a family business and she is doing some brilliant work in an industry which is not female-orientated.”
Host Dave told the audience the latest issue was being launched as Resolution – the firm behind Tees Business – expands, with the introduction of new members of the team, non-executive director Bob Cuffe, sales manager Carole Sanderson and Tees Life editor and events manager Julie Burniston.
In addition to the new staff, Dave revealed that a new publication, This is Tees Valley, will be launched at the end of the year to be distributed nationwide, while another new product is Wear Business – a counterpart for Tees Business being launched across the Sunderland and Durham areas with the support of local partners.
Click here to read the Autumn issue of Tees Business and a special feature revealing the results of this year’s poll on the region’s most inspiring business leaders.