Farewell to the hero
By Paul McEldon, chief executive at the North East Business and Innovation Centre (BIC).
Some say there are no accidents in life; that everything happens for a reason and that no matter how you choose to perceive things they happen so that you can learn from them.
When a letter arrived at the BIC a few years ago, accidentally addressed to WILLIE HERO-MAN, it provided a good laugh for our team members, but I don’t think any of us would dispute that it was a fitting mantle for our special projects manager Willie Herdman, who retires at Christmas.
Willie joined the BIC just one year into its life, in 1995. He was 48 years old and had built an illustrious and varied CV, rising to the position of senior lecturer in electrical engineering at Northumbria University in the late 1970s, before departing for work in the private sector in 1981. He joined Calderdale Electronics Centre as general manager and developed significant abilities in providing advice and guidance to SMEs moving into the usage of developing technologies. In 1987 Willie turned consultant, using his now well developed enterprise skillset to specialise in the field of venture capital for technology based SMEs.
In the sixteen years the Willie has been with the BIC, he has become in many ways the living manifest of the organisation’s mission to develop enterprise culture in the North East region. As a member of the management team responsible for the delivery of a range of specialist business support services, he has also held responsibility for the delivery of expert assistance in High Growth companies, Franchising, Succession Planning, Project Delivery, Government Tendering processes and Finance for SMEs.
A committed team worker and skilled leader, he has been a consistently popular member of staff, regaling us with poems and stories, and feeding us with excellent produce from his home allotment! In continuation of his lifetime of determination and problem solving, Willie overcame a serious illness in 2011, and we were delighted when he rejoined us after regaining full health.
As he prepares for retirement; additional hours to spend tending to his allotment, and undoubted trips to his beloved Spain where he speaks the native language fluently, I’d like to take this opportunity to wish Willie all the best, and to thank him wholeheartedly for his years of service at the BIC.
This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Paul McEldon .