SHEFFIELD BUSINESS AWARDS: Businessperson of the Year

Howard Freeman, of sponsor Shorts, and Marie Cooper
Howard Freeman, of sponsor Shorts, and Marie Cooper
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Marie Cooper had a fantastic awards night - appearing on stage no less than three times.

The finance director at cryogenic valve manufacturer Parker President in Sheffield won Businessperson of the Year while her firm also won the Excellence in Manufacturing award and the top award, Outstanding Business of the Year.

Marie was recruited as finance manager 10 years ago, just after a major restructuring programme.

She stepped up and led the department so well she was asked to become one of three directors at what was then the Flow Group that spearheaded a management buyout of sister companies Bestobell and Conflow to form President Engineering Group Ltd.

She continued developing the business, introducing a dedicated PR agency to raise its profile and entered and won a number of awards, including ICAEW young finance director of the year 2013 and the ultimate business honour – a Queen’s Award for International Trade 2015.

She is also an ambassador for the Cutlers’ Company and has mentored Bradfield High School who won the innovation award at the Get up to Speed event for teenagers.

Her application states: ‘Marie has very good people skills – offering an-open door policy to listen to any issues that staff may be having, either personally or professionally, providing support to ensure a quicker and smoother return to work.

‘She has spearheaded improvements to the human resources function, which has led to much higher staff retention rates. She has also provided guidance and, in some cases, training to sales and production departments to help them understand and achieve business goals.

‘She is a very good networker and has built a strong professional network with accountants, banks and lawyers to ensure best support for the business’s objectives.

‘Because of her professional networking, Marie was able to secure funding to carry out a management buyout with two fellow directors in 2010. Marie updated the company’s banking facilities – supporting growth and cash flow.’