Jim McColl wins Great Scot Business Award

Jim McColl, chairman and chief executive of Clyde Blowers, received the Great Scot Business Award in Glasgow this past Saturday. The business award was sponsored by Optical Express for the third consecutive year.

McColl, hailing from Carmunnock, Glasgow, left school at 16 to take on an engineering apprenticeship with Weir Pumps. He later returned to school to earn a BSc degree in Technology and Business Studies from Strathclyde University. Returning to Weir Pumps after graduation, he continued to study part-time, eventually earning his Masters Degree in Business Administration.

In 1992, McColl bought 29.9% of the small and struggling family-owned engineering company Clyde Blowers, taking it private in 2001 and increasing his holdings to 70%. In the subsequent five years, Clyde Blowers bought six of its eight major competitors, and now have 55% global market share in its original product line. In 2008, Clyde Blowers acquired the Fluid and Power Division of Textron, an American Fortune-500 company, in an over andpound;1 billion deal. Currently, Clyde Blowers consists of 83 companies in 27 countries, with an annual turnover above andpound;1.2 billion.

McColl was appointed officer of the Order of the British Empire in 2001, and has won a number of other awards, including Strathclyde University’s 1998 Alumnus of the Year award and the 2006 Scottish International Business Award from HRH The Princess Royal. He is a member of the Scottish Council of Economic Advisors, spending much of his free time in Glasgow working on a welfare-to-work programme.

Mary-Frances Kearney, Marketing Manager of Optical Express, highlighted the significance of the business award.

“Given the current economic climate, we feel that it is particularly important right now to recognize the achievements of Scottish businesses and business leaders,” she said. “We hope that this award will inspire and challenge other businesses to strive for similar successes in their respective environments.”

Kearney extended her congratulations on behalf of Optical Express to McColl.

“We are delighted to hear that Jim McColl is the business award recipient this year,” she said. “Given his many accomplishments, the recognition is well-deserved, and we hope that he continues to contribute to the Scottish business community.”

The Great Scot 2009 Award was won by Jon Fleming, the businessman who was told as a child that he would not live to see his second birthday. Fleming, who has muscular atrophy and is forced to use a wheelchair himself, runs a company andndash; Mochridhe – that provides other disabled people with care. Fleming was chosen from a pool of over a thousand nominees.

Other award winners include Britain’s Got Talent’s Susan Boyle, devoted blood donor Thomas Bradley, and Ewan Williamson, the fire-fighter that died in July after rushing into a burning building to rescue 20 people.

The ceremony was hosted by radio personality and comedian Fred MacAuley, with entertainment provided by Shaheen Jafargholi, who recently performed at Michael Jackson’s memorial service in Los Angeles. The business award was presented by Sue Holloway of Media Vision.

“I had my tissues at the ready and boy did I need them,” MacAuley said, in an interview with the Sunday Mail. “Nights like this make me proud to be a Scot.”

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