PATRICK HURST, managing director of caravan equipment manufacturer Whale, has been awarded an MBE for services to the Northern Ireland business community.


He received the honour in the 2012 Queen’s Birthday Honours list last month, in recognition of his work at the Bangor-based engineering company, also known as Munster Simms Engineering, and for a number of other business activities in the province.


Whale supplies a range of equipment to the caravanning, marine and shower drainage industries. Caravanners will perhaps know the firm best for its water and heating systems. In recent years, Whale’s compact space- and water-heaters have become a common sight in caravans right across the market.


Tremendous honour

Commenting on his award, Patrick said: “It is very humbling to receive such a tremendous honour, and it is made all the more special given that it is the Queen’s Jubilee year.


“I have been so lucky to have worked with many great people in Northern Ireland and to have such a supportive workforce. It is a real privilege to have been recognised for contributing to the business community.”


[tl:gallery size=300×200]As co-owner of Whale, Patrick has overseen an increase in turnover of 48% between 2009 and 2011, and the company’s workforce has increased by over 50% since 2008.


Focus on innovation

Whale is also gaining a reputation for being highly focused on innovation, something illustrated by the fact that 70% of its products are new or have been re-designed in the last three years.


Employees clearly enjoy being part of Whale’s success story, too. The company has been listed in The Sunday Times 100 Best Companies survey for the last three years running, and was particularly commended for looking after the wellbeing of its staff.


Whale’s chairman, Mike Mills OBE, added: “Everyone in the company is delighted to see Patrick’s huge dedication to Whale, and to our people, recognised with this honour.


“He is a consummate leader and this award is also, we are sure, a tribute to all that Patrick does outside the company, to try to improve economic conditions for our whole community.”


Click here to find out more about Whale’s caravanning products.