His Royal Highness The Duke of York has arrived in Northern Ireland and in the first engagement of the day has visited FG Wilson in Larne to meet some of the staff of Europe’s largest diesel generating set manufacturer.
FG Wilson began life in an old textile mill in Belfast and today is one of Northern Ireland’s top exporters. The company is now a wholly-owned subsidiary of Caterpillar and provides employment for more than 3,000 people across 4 sites in Northern Ireland.
With global facilities in Brazil, China, India and the USA the company exports to countries throughout the globe and sits comfortably within the UK’s top 100 exporters.
The Duke of York, the UK’s Special Representative for International Trade and Investment, was greeted by Mrs Joan Christie OBE, Lord-Lieutenant of County Antrim, and went on to meet Dr Mark Sweeney OBE who accompanied HRH during the engagement.
Beginning the tour of the facility that spans an area of 1 million square feet, His Royal Highness met senior management and heard about the growth of the Company, which today manufactures products that are used to support key business sectors including the telecommunications, healthcare, tourism/ leisure, retail and banking industries.
HRH was also told about how FG Wilson, as a Caterpillar subsidiary, shares in the success of the Fortune 100 Company that saw revenue of over $42.6 billion in 2010.
Later, in the near-by Engineering Centre of Excellence (ECE), The Duke met staff employed in the key areas of the operation, including Product Validation, Technical Development and Services Engineering.
HRH was Guest of Honour at a reception with around 150 staff members and guests, including customers, dealers, and safety and union representatives.
The Duke of York accepted an invitation from Dr Sweeney to unveil a plaque commemorating the opening of ECE and accepted a gift of a book on the history of Caterpillar from Ms Allison Murray who has been with FG Wilson for over 17 years.
His Royal Highness signed the visitors’ book before departing for the next engagement.
Note to Editors
His Royal Highness was greeted by Mrs Joan Christie OBE Lord-Lieutenant of County Antrim and went on to meet:
Mr David Traill, Sheriff for County Antrim
Councillor Michael Lynch, Deputy Mayor, Larne Borough Council
Ms Geraldine McGahey, Chief Executive, Larne Borough Council
Mr Sammy Wilson MP MLA Member of Parliament for East Antrim
The Rt Hon Peter D Robinson MLA, First Minister of Northern Ireland
and Mr Alastair Hamilton Chief Executive, Invest Northern Ireland who went on to present
Mr Jeremy Fitch Managing Director, Client Group, Invest Northern Ireland
Mr John Bardon Client Manager, Invest Northern Ireland
Dr Mark Sweeney OBE, Global Operations Director, Electric Power Division, Caterpillar