Lawrence Tomlinson awarded honorary Doctorate of Engineering
As Chairman and founder of the Leeds-based LNT Group, Lawrence's multi-faceted business interests include care homes, software development, chemicals, construction and the sports car firm Ginetta.
In April this year Lawrence was appointed as one of two entrepreneurs in residence at the Government's Department for Business, Innovation and Skills in which he will help to boost the UK's small and medium-sized enterprises that are vital to economic recovery.
Speaking about receiving the award, Lawrence said: "I'm delighted to have been given this award by Leeds Met, it's an incredible honour and it's nice to be rewarded for my 25 years in business and engineering."
Offering advice to the graduating students, Lawrence added: "Since 2008, we've had the most difficult economic conditions I can remember; certainly I'm working harder than I ever have before. The students that are graduating today will to work very hard and my advice to them would be just to do something today. Don't wait for that big idea to turn up, just do something that will make a difference to you and others and move towards your goal."
The father-of-four, who lives in Harrogate, grew up in Batley where he attended grammar school before going on to pursue his love of engineering at Huddersfield College. Engineering company, Wellman Bibby, spotted his potential and sponsored his engineering degree at Bradford University.
Lawrence started in business importing ski boats and classic cars into the UK. His parents ran a care home and he grew this with them. In 1988, he took over the company and spotting a gap in the market for bespoke purpose built care homes, Lawrence started to design, build and operate new facilities. From there he launched further businesses including LNT Software, which develops and sells bespoke software for the care home industry, LNT Solutions which provides climate protection systems for the worldwide transport network. The LNT Group, now employs more than 2000 people across its diverse core businesses.
Lawrence re-entered the care sector in 2009 when he set up the innovative Ideal Care Homes, now the UK's fastest growing operator, with businesses that use 40% of the energy their competitors do.
In addition to being a major innovator in the care home industry, in 2005 Lawrence acquired Ginetta, which has been building race cars since 1958. Since its purchase by LNT, Ginetta has grown to become one of the most significant players on the global motorsport scene. With racing pedigree throughout the business; Lawrence, Team LNT and Ginetta have raced at Le Mans with Lawrence himself winning the GT2 class at the 24 hours of Le Mans 2006.
LNT is one of the fastest growing companies in the UK, having been ranked 28th in the Sunday Times Fast Track 100 Companies.
Lawrence's business, entrepreneurial and engineering achievements were recognised in 2011 when he was announced as Yorkshire Director of the Year, Entrepreneur of the Year and named as one of the top 10 most influential leaders within the healthcare industry. Lawrence is currently the Institute of Directors, Overall Director of the Year 2012-13.
Others receiving honorary degrees from Leeds Metropolitan include comedy writer and performer Barry Cryer OBE; Leeds businessman and charity activist, Edward Ziff and Olympic triathlon coach Malcolm Brown MBE.