Tobermore was founded in 1942 in Magherafelt in Co Derry as a quarry, sand and gravel business by Mr Henderson’s uncles. He joined the business in 1976 as a production manager and since then the company has diversified into specialist products such as paving and walling. It now employs more than 400 people and produces 8.5 million concrete products a year.
“Our game-changing moment was when we decided to embark on a major business improvement programme in 1991,” he recently told The Irish Times.
“At that time we had a poor culture in our workforce and our product quality wasn’t great. I was determined to change this and we were able to completely transform our culture, customer service and product quality.”
Tobermore intends to double sales in Britain in the coming four years; sales this year are up 40 per cent and continue to grow.
Other winners on the night were Brian O’Sullivan of Zeus Packaging who was named EY Entrepreneur of the Year and international entrepreneur. Aimee Connolly, founder of Sculptured by Aimee, was named emerging entrepreneur of the year. EY also presented a special award to former president Mary Robinson.
The other finalists in the industry category this year were: Dominic Walsh, Hospital Services Limited (HSL); Brody Sweeney, Camile Thai Group; Joseph Doherty, Re-Gen Waste; Fergus Naughton, Ross Engineering Services Limited; Jim Darragh, Totalmobile; Oonagh O’Hagan, Meaghers Pharmacy; and Michael McKinney, Inishowen Engineering Manufacturing Limited.