Leading figures from the worlds of arts and culture, law and property across the Midlands are among those to have been named in this year’s New Year’s Honours list.
They have been recognised for their work on issues as diverse as Shakespeare, HS2 and civil engineering and planning in the community.
Here, we round up some of the business figures from across the West and East Midlands who have made the list this year.
Jacqueline O’Hanlon is director of learning at the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) in Stratford and has been awarded an MBE for services to the arts.
The 55 year old has performed her current role since 2008, leading the RSC’s education work and has grown its reach and impact across the UK and into new territories such as China.
By forging new partnerships, she has seen her work reach more than 500,000 children per year in places of high cultural deprivation with academic research demonstrating the difference this has made in confidence and literacy to young people in poorer communities.
Most recently, she has introduced a talent development programme for young people who would not otherwise have the opportunity to begin a career in the arts.
She is also a member of the steering group for the Midlands HE Culture Forum where she directs the cultural education working group and has helped to create a living archive of cultural education in the Midlands over the past half a century.
BusinessLive is your home for business news from around the country – and you can stay in touch with all the latest news through our email alerts.
You can sign up to receive daily morning news bulletins from every region we cover and to weekly email bulletins covering key economic sectors from manufacturing to technology and enterprise. And we’ll send out breaking news alerts for any stories we think you can’t miss.
Visit our email preference centre to sign up to all the latest news from BusinessLive.
Douglas Oakervee has been awarded a knighthood for services to transport and infrastructure delivery.
Although he has enjoyed a lengthy career in civil engineering, he has become known to the wider public in recent years for his work on HS2.
Sir Douglas chaired HS2 for two years and was then appointed in summer 2019 by Boris Johnson to lead an independent review panel looking into all aspects of the high-speed rail project.
His report, published the following February, recommended that the project should go ahead but aspects of it would have to be reviewed to ensure it was delivering the best value for money.
In November, the proposed eastern leg between Birmingham and Leeds and a new HS2 station in Toton near Nottingham were both scrapped.
He was appointed chairman of HS2 in 2012 where he led the business case and hybrid bill preparation for phase one between London and Birmingham and in 2013 deposited the biggest hybrid bill ever, and in an electronic format, a first for Parliament.
In 2020, he took on the presidency of the Smeatonian Society of Civil Engineers, the world’s oldest engineering society.
Richard Port has been awarded an MBE for services to victims of domestic abuse.
The 30 year old is a family law solicitor with George Green in Cradley Heath and, while working on one of his cases, he learned about issues with local solicitors, lack of training in family law and legal aid.
He also discovered there was a lack of practical legal assistance for users of a refuge.
Mr Port was inspired to create and deliver a training programme to meet all those needs, in his own time, for staff to help them assist people access legal aid and offer support them in court.
He already had links with Women’s Aid, Trident Reach and Derbyshire WISH, all of which he still supports, and has given up his free time to visit refuge and contact centres, initially in Derbyshire, to provide pro bono advice.
After relocating to the West Midlands, he continued his free training to local organisations in the region and created a phone line so that domestic abuse organisations could contact him directly.
His pledge to help domestic abuse victims has contributed to his election to the Birmingham Law Society Council where his work continues.
We have LinkedIn groups for both the West Midlands and East Midlands
Sue Manns has been awarded an MBE for her services to planning. The 65 year old is a director of Sue Manns Associates in Shropshire and worked as a planning volunteer for several years, providing advice to individuals and communities involved in planning in their local area.
She has used her voluntary roles, including as vice-president and president of the Royal Town Planning Institute, to further the cause, launching the body’s ‘CHANGE’ action plan and raising awareness of the issues faced by the profession including through speeches, panel discussions, blogs and social media.
The theme of her year as president was raising awareness of diversity, inclusion and women.
She also became the RTPI’s board champion for equality, diversity and inclusion and was twice named a ‘Woman of Influence’ by a trade magazine.
Other West Midlands-based recipients include Narinder Dhandwar, business relationship manager with high street bank Barclays, who has received an MBE for services to the business and financial sectors in the West Midlands during covid-19.
He said he was surprised to receive the award, adding: “I love working with my customers and being part of the West Midlands and Warwickshire team so I am absolutely delighted and very humbled to receive this award.
“Providing the right level of support throughout the pandemic has been vital for many businesses and I am hopeful that 2022 will be a better year for all.”
Birmingham Opera’s music director Alpesh Chauhan has received an OBE for services to the arts.
Laura Shoaf, who was managing director of Transport for the West Midlands and in November was appointed chief executive of the West Midlands Combined Authority, has received a CBE for services to economic regeneration in the West Midlands.
In the East Midlands, Gary Jordan has been awarded an MBE for services to the economy and community of Mansfield and Ashfield.
As chairman of the Mansfield and Ashfield 2020 Business Club, the 62 year old leads on a variety of campaigns which aim to address both the short-term and potential long-term impacts of lockdowns.
During the first covid-19 lockdown, he acted as the Nottinghamshire joint co-ordinator for the #ppe4nhs campaign, which saw more than 110,000 items of vital PPE redeployed to frontline workers.
He also co-ordinated the collection of PPE from businesses to the campaign’s drop off points and used his local networks and social media to widely promote the campaign.
He is now spearheading the #WeMakeITPossible campaign which has already seen 260 families supported through his work to secure donations, collect and repurpose redundant IT equipment from businesses to primary, secondary and SEND schools across Mansfield and Ashfield.
He is currently working with the D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership, Vision West Nottinghamshire College, local business leaders and skills groups to determine how best to support pupils leaving school and those who have been made redundant due to the pandemic.
Rosemary Wright has been awarded a BEM for services to the community in Leicestershire. The 81 year old, from Hinckley, helped to develop the Hinckley Business Improvement District (BID).
The successful businesswoman, who is still working in the footwear industry, commenced by firstly re-establishing the waning Hinckley Chamber of Trade, serving as president.
She was an elected member of Hinckley and Bosworth Borough Council and it was during her tenure as a cabinet member for the town centre that the BID was launched in 2008.
Together with the group, Ms Wright organises and implements a large number of events that attract substantial visitors to the town centre including a motor show, pancake race, soap box derby and food festival.
Other recipients include Mark Esho, director of Leicester-based Easy Internet Services and Easy Internet Solutions, who has been awarded an OBE for services to business.