Alex Lever

News: Whale MD top finalist in prominent Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award

October 27, 2011 by Alex Lever
View large version of image: Whale MD top finalist in prominent Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award

Whale Managing Director, Patrick Hurst’s drive for innovation and business growth has been recognised as one of three finalists in the Ernst and Young – Entrepreneur Of The Year® 2011 (international category) at a high profile event in Dublin’s City West Hotel on Thursday 20th October 2011

Well known marine water and waste system company, Whale is delighted to announce that their Managing Director, Patrick Hurst has been recognized as a finalist in the Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year (International category). This nomination is in recognition of his leadership in driving growth through innovation at the Northern Ireland based company.

People and Innovation at its Heart

Despite another year of economic uncertainty, Whale grew by 35% year on year, embracing the challenging times. This success is underpinned by the leadership of Patrick and his two fellow directors who ensure that innovation is firmly rooted at the heart of the company. With 15 world-wide design patents registered in the last 36 months, it is clear that the creative culture is driving the business forward.

On average, 70% of the Whale product offering today is new to the market-place compared to 4 years ago. This, combined with focus on sales and marketing, has enhanced the Whale brand and led to significant competitive advantage.

Patrick Hurst commented on his foundations for this success,‘I am very privileged to head up a great team all of whom are passionate about the business, innovation and the customers we work for. I am delighted that our strive for innovation and business growth has been recognized by the Ernst and Young Judging Panel.´

Fellow Director, Stanley McFarland added,‘Patrick’s passion for Whale is inspiring for everyone who works in the business. His entrepreneurial spirit has led our team to deliver market beating products, branch out into new product areas and to set our standards at the very highest levels. We aim to consistently deliver great service. This is a fantastic achievement, and a reflection of the drive and integrity of Patrick’s approach to business. Despite the extremely difficult trading conditions of recent years, we have grown as a business by 35% since 2009, and Patrick’s strong leadership has been a major factor in that success. It is great for his talent to be recognized in such a prestigious way.’

Whale’s recent innovations

Whale’s recent launches include a full range of Whale IC, intelligently controlled bilge grey and freshwater pump systems, Supersub Smart narrow low profile automatic bilge pumps designed to fit in awkward to reach bilge spaces, and the unique Whale Twist deck shower with patented integrated temperature and flow control handset. Whale are equally forward thinking behind the scenes, with the recent introduction of state of the art ‘Visual Factory’ touch screen technology designed to make production even more efficient. More significant product launches are planned for METS in November.

Open communication and a culture of empowerment

The leadership and management structure at Whale is a simple 3 tier flat structure. This facilitates very open lines of communication between Patrick and his team, and further enhances the culture of trust and empowerment for managers and individuals.

Whale 2011 highlights

The most recent highlights were being named in the Best Companies Accreditation and Sunday Times 100 Best Small Companies to Work for (for the second consecutive year running) and in being presented with the top Northern Ireland Quality Award.

The independent research carried out by Sunday Times is truly a testament to the inspiring leadership of Patrick Hurst and his team. The survey results were clear with staff loyalty and faith in the strong leadership being reflected by employees stating their faith in Patrick Hurst as Managing Director (89%) and belief in his sound moral principles in leading the business.

About Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year®

The Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year® is part of a global recognition programme, to identify, acclaim and support entrepreneurs and is currently run in over 50 countries, across six continents. The Irish programme, now in its 14th year, continues to go from strength-to-strength, championing the spirit of enterprise and creating a new era of opportunities for participants.

The Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year programme is supported by The Irish Times, RTE, Enterprise Ireland, Invest NI, and News talk.

About Patrick Hurst

Patrick’s work at Whale goes back to the eighties and nineties when he worked in Marketing and Commercial roles until the late 1990s, when he was responsible for running Whale’s US sales operation, and introducing Whale’s pioneering IBEX innovation award winning all plastic Quick Connect Plumbing system to the US market.

In 2000, he left Whale to manage production operations for the export arm of Northern Ireland based bus manufacturer Wright Bus Ltd.

In 2001 he was promoted to Managing Director of Wrightbus Ltd and then in 2003 to Vice President – Operations, where his responsibility lay in Production, Engineering, Materials, Human Resources, Quality and IT.

In 2006 Patrick re-joined Whale as Managing Director; the company where he initially started his business career in 1989.

In early 2008 Patrick, along with his two fellow directors, completed an MBO/MBI of Munster Simms Engineering Limited. He currently has a one third shareholding in the company.

Patrick is as graduate of the business school of the University of Ulster and has a Masters in Marketing.

Throughout his working life, he has travelled extensively in North and South America and Europe, and lived for a period of time in the USA. He is married with two young sons.

About Whale

Munster Simms Engineering Limited better known as their brand name Whale is a key player in the leisure marine industry. The company specializes in the design and manufacture of water, waste and heating products including manual and electric freshwater, bilge and waste pumps, Quick Connect plumbing systems, faucets, showers and accessories.

The company exports internationally and has a worldwide distribution to retail network. Whale is an ISO certified company.

Whale employees 148 people.

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