Fantastic five flying the flag for county

Have your say

Andrew, Peter, Julia, Jason and John are the fantastic five dominating this year’s Director of the Year awards for South Yorkshire.

The quintet comprise a third of the 15 finalists – three shortlisted in five categories – in the Yorkshire-wide competition for high fliers run by the Institute of Directors.

The winners will be “business leaders who have demonstrated their ability to lead, grow, develop and connect their organisations and build sustainability into their planning,” the organisers say.

They will be unveiled at a champagne breakfast on Thursday May 1 at the Queens Hotel, Leeds.

A lifetime achievement award and an overall director of the year award chosen from the winners will be announced on the day.

Representing South Yorkshire are:

n John Pickering: Irwin Mitchell – Large Business

n Peter Holmes: Anchor Magnets – SME

n Andrew Seaton: Resolve it Solutions – Young Director

n Julia Gash: Bag It Don’t Bin It

n Jason Mace: Gala Tents – Entrepreneur

Peter Holmes led a management buy-out at Anchor Magnets last year. Under his leadership the company has developed new products and developed overseas markets from Scandinavia to China. He qualified as a chartered director to ensure the business could grow sustainably. The firm was winner of the environment award at the Sheffield Business Awards last year.

Andrew Seaton, aged 33, founded Resolve IT Solutions 10 years ago, he also owns web design agency Resound Design, and is co-founder of Twinkl, a website for primary school teachers.

He also created the Resolve IT Apprenticeship Scheme, successfully employing five apprentices to date.

In 2013 Andrew’s achievements were recognised by Goldman Sachs when he was invited to join their 10,000 Small Businesses Programme in Oxford. Resolve is a two-time Customer Service winner at the Sheffield Business Awards.

Julia Gash founded Bag It Don’t Bin It as an environmentally friendly manufacturer printing eco-bags. Today clients include Waterstones, Liberty of London, ASOS and House of Fraser.

The Sheffield company has 20 staff and a £1.5m turnover and exports to Japan, the US and Canada.

Julia is up against Jason Mace, founder of marquee and gazebo manufacturer Gala Tents which today employs 30. He also owns a steakhouse and a signwriting business.

John Pickering is the Sheffield-based group chief executive of law firm Irwin Mitchell.

The company has just secured a £60m finance package to fund aggressive expansion.

In the last 18 months Irwin Mitchell has hit £200m-a-year income for the first time, complete five acquisitions and recruited more than 30 experts into partner-level positions.

Earlier this monthMr Pickering said he was leaving the company after 37 years.