Hutchinson Engineering crowned ‘Manufacturer of the Year’

Kilrea engineering company Hutchinson Engineering was among the winners at the Insider Media ‘Made in Northern Ireland Awards’ at the Europa Hotel in Belfast.

The family-owned business scooped the coveted Manufacturer of the Year title for businesses with a turnover under £25 million.

The judges were impressed with the fact that Hutchinson Engineering used the past year to reassess its strategy, which allowed the business to be more innovative in its thinking. The company’s foot-operated hand sanitiser, for example, was designed and brought to market within four weeks and has since sold over 2,500 units to markets in the UK, Germany and the UAE.

This renewed strategy was what impressed the judging panel.

Mark Hutchinson, CEO of Hutchinson Engineering, and Alan Reid, Principle Lecturer of Engineering at Northern Regional College

Mark Hutchinson, CEO of Hutchinson Engineering, said: “We were up against some tough competition but are equally delighted to be recognised with this prestigious accolade, especially during our fiftieth anniversary year.”

Whilst the firm was established by Mark’s late father Creighton, he has been at the helm of the company for over 20 years. Under his leadership, Hutchinson Engineering has developed into one of Northern Ireland’s foremost manufacturing firms.

The original workforce of just four has grown to over 120 and the business is now a specialist subcontracting manufacturer for some of the world’s best-known companies in the materials handling, coach building and agricultural sectors.

Alan Reid, Principal Lecturer in Engineering at Northern Regional College, who has provided technical support to Hutchinson Engineering over many years, was among the guests at the awards dinner. Congratulating Mark on receiving the award he said: “We have enjoyed a long and mutually beneficial relationship with the Hutchinson Engineering team. The Manufacturing of the Year award recognises the company’s significant contribution to the local economy and was a well-deserved honour.

“The College has completed a number of collaborative projects with Hutchinson Engineering in recent years, including several robotics projects. I have always been impressed by the company’s willingness to innovate, something which was particularly evident over the past eighteen months.

“This really is an exceptional achievement in such challenging times,” he said.