Headquartered in Dunleer, Suretank is the world’s largest manufacturer of cargo-carrying units for the offshore oil and gas industry. Holding a 62 per cent global market share, it is also the leader in the transport tank industry. It employs 600 people and has revenues of more than €68 million.
Mr Joy, the founder and chairman of Suretank, was presented with the Entrepreneur of the Year title by Mike McKerr of Ernst & Young.
“I’m absolutely flabbergasted. I must thank my employees at Suretank. Without them, the business would not be where it is today,” Mr Joy said upon receiving the award.
In a message to aspiring entrepreneurs, Mr Joy said: “You have to have ambition. You have to believe in yourself. No matter what you do in business, you’re going to have knockbacks.” Speaking to The Irish Times afterwards, Mr Joy said he could not have achieved the success he has without the belief in his business from his family and early stage investors, who included Pat O’Hare.
“I worked for Pat in the late 1980s. He said to let him know if I was ever setting up a business, and so I did. He is a bookmaker from Newry and he said investing in my business was the best bet he ever placed.” As for the future, Mr Joy said he was expecting fewer meetings and a slightly easier working day: “I’ve just taken over as chairman and taken on a CEO,” he said.
He beat competition from fellow finalists Brian Hogan of KSG and Kieran Fitzpatrick and Maurice Curran of Barracuda FX to be crowned overall winner. Mr Hogan won the award for Industry EY Entrepreneur of the Year while Kieran Fitzpatrick and Maurice Curran of Barracuda FX, were named as winners of the emerging category. Earlier in the night, Mr Joy was named winner of the International category. He will now go on to represent Ireland at the World Entrepreneur of the Year awards in Monte Carlo next June, where he will compete with more than 50 leading entrepreneurs from across the globe.
“An integral part of the Entrepreneur of the Year programme is to encourage entrepreneurs to think global and become global,” said Frank O’Keeffe, partner-in-charge of EY Entrepreneur of the Year.
“Suretank has scaled to become a market leader in the fiercely competitive offshore oil industry and has achieved this from their headquarters in Co Louth. Patrick’s big thinking and uncanny ability to compete and dominate in the global arena should serve as an inspiration to us all,” he added.
Denis Brosnan, founder and chairman of Kerry Group, meanwhile, received this year’s Special Award for his outstanding contributions to the development and progression of Ireland’s commercial, educational and artistic life.
Each year, the Special Award is presented to an individual who has “made a profound contribution to the island of Ireland”.
“The business founded by tonight’s recipient can boast manufacturing operations in 25 countries – with international sales offices in a further 20 countries,” said Mr O’Keeffe. “It employs 24,000 people. It sells in excess of 15,000 products in over 140 countries and, last year, its global sales approached €6 billion. But what’s most impressive – in the face of these stunning numbers – is that this entrepreneur has always known that community counts above all.”
EY awards programme – 16th year in Ireland
The Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year awards is a global awards programme designed to recognise and support entrepreneurs. While the programme runs in more than 50 countries, the event in Ireland, now in its 16th year, has been identified as one of the strongest in the world.
The Irish Entrepreneur of the Year awards, which are open to participants across Ireland, is run in association with The Irish Times, Invest Northern Ireland, InterTradeIreland, Enterprise Ireland, RTÉ and Newstalk.
There are three categories – emerging, industry and international. This year’s winners were selected from 24 finalists shortlisted by the judging panel.
Ranging from financial services and technology to agriculture and manufacturing, the finalists span a diverse range of sectors, collectively employing over 6,000 people and generating revenues of over €1 billion.
The judges are business people who have achieved success in their own right. Criteria include growth in turnover and employee numbers, as well as vision, degree of innovation, creativity in production, marketing and selling and expansion in local and international markets.