Leeds Met awards businessman Mark Ridgway OBE an honorary degree
As Managing Director at the helm of the Wakefield-based organisation Group Rhodes, Mark oversees the group's seven engineering companies serving the aerospace, metal forming, precision engineering, advanced automation, environmental, heavy ceramics and oil and gas markets.
Speaking about receiving the award Mark said: "It really is a great honour to receive this award today, the importance of this University in developing the skills we need in our region is essential.
"The advice I can give to today's graduating students is to be agile and show relevance to the market. It's really important to keep your activity rate high and don't reject opportunities that come your way; see how you can change your skills set to meet that need and you'll do well. Those that make themselves relevant to the market will find success."
Underlining his long-standing commitment to manufacturing, Mark is the current President of the UK's Manufacturing Technologies Association and also sits on the UKTI's Aerospace Growth Partnership and the department of Business Innovation and Skill's Advanced Manufacturing Supply Chain Initiative. In 2010 and 2011 Mark led UKTI trade missions to India and China focused on developing sector trading links, and in 2013 he was invited to join a further trade mission to India headed up by Prime Minister David Cameron
Mark, who received an OBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours List in 2011 for Services to Industry, will be awarded an Honorary Doctorate at 5pm on Wednesday 23 July, for his contribution to industry and commerce and to public life and the voluntary service.
On a regional level Mark represents private sector business on the Board of the Leeds City Region Local Enterprise Partnership and served as a Director of Wakefield First, the Development Agency for the District from 2004-2011. He subsequently chaired the Wakefield Enterprise Partnership and has previously completed a two year term in the Chair of the West Yorkshire branch of the Institute of Clay Technology.
Developing his interest in athletics, Mark was appointed the UK's Advanced Engineering Sector Champion for the London 2012 Olympics, his role being to encourage business engagement within this sector and to develop a business legacy. Mark himself ran internationally as a student and held several Yorkshire distance titles.
Group Rhodes is one of Europe's largest Original Equipment Manufacturers in its field. The main divisions of the Group consist of Joseph Rhodes, Beauford Engineers, Slater and Crabtree, Rhodes Interform, Rhodes Environmental, Rhodes Technical Services and Craven Fawcett.