Martin Naughton, who founded the company Glen Electric (now Glen Dimplex) in 1973, has been named the Innovation Founder of the Year ahead of this year’s Invent Awards hosted by Connect in Northern Ireland.
Opening a small electrical manufacturing operation in 1973 with seven employees, Martin Naughton gradually grew the business with a number of well-timed acquisitions to become one of the biggest home heating companies in the world.
Today, the company employs 10,000 staff across 22 international manufacturing facilities with annual sales of around €1.5bn.
Now, the entrepreneur is being honoured by Connect in Northern Ireland as the Innovation Founder of the Year at the Invent Awards 2016.
Scheduled to take place on Thursday, 29 September, the award goes to a person who has achieved distinction in founding, leading or building a celebrated local science or technology-based business.
Joining an illustrious group of founders
Speaking of being named this year’s winner, Naughton said: “I’m humbled and honoured to join this list of founders, who have in their own ways changed the landscape of Northern Irish business.”
Also commenting on Naughton’s award was Connect’s director, Steve Orr, who said: “Given the massive impact that our Innovation Founders have had on the local and international economies over the past several decades, this is our most important award each year.
“I’m delighted Martin Naughton is being given a much-deserved accolade for his contribution to Northern Ireland’s innovation economy. He’s an inspiration to us all.”
Naughton will now join a prestigious club that includes Brian Conlon (2015), Dr William Wright, CBE (2014), Dr Peter FitzGerald, CBE (2013), Tom Eakin (2012), Dr Hugh Cormican (2011) and Prof John Anderson (2010).