Alan Little, Plant Manager of the NACCO Materials Handling Ltd factory in Craigavon, where Hyster and Yale forklift trucks are produced, has been recognised for services to Industry in Northern Ireland in the Queen's Birthday Honours List, 2013.
Awarded an MBE (Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire), Alan will be presented with a medal by Her Majesty the Queen, the Prince of Wales or Princess Royal at Buckingham Palace later this year.
"I am both delighted and very honoured to be awarded this MBE," Alan Little says. "I believe this to be recognition beyond my personal efforts, for a great company and an even greater workforce."
As well as serving NACCO Materials Handling Ltd for thirty years, Alan Little has been active in the Northern Ireland business community, helping to promote the position of Northern Ireland as a place to invest, and specifically the engineering sector, as Deputy President of the Engineering Employers Federation in Northern Ireland.
Alan has been keenly involved in the Northern Ireland Council of Careers Academies UK, helping young people into further education and the world of work and in 2012 was a judge at the Ireland Excellence Awards, which seeks to encourage companies to benchmark their performance against the best in class.
Alan joined Hyster Company, now NACCO Materials Handling Ltd, in 1983 immediately after graduating from Queens University with a BSc degree in Industrial Engineering. He has held a number of positions within the Company, including a 3 year assignment in the Scottish factory in Irvine, and in 1998 moved into the Plant Manager position where he has been instrumental in the company's successes.
NACCO Materials Handling Ltd manufactures both Hyster and Yale branded forklift trucks and the Craigavon plant has produced over 380,000 forklift trucks in its 32 years. In 2011 the Northern Ireland factory achieved the prestigious Northern Ireland Quality Award (EFQM). Alan accepted the award on behalf of the company and the employees at a ceremony in Belfast City Hall.
The Craigavon factory also received a visit from the British Prime Minister, David Cameron, in November 2012, during which he emphasised the importance of great manufacturing operations like this one to the UK's ability to compete and succeed in what he referred to as "the global race".
"As Plant Manager I have had the pleasure of 'steering the ship' through some great but also some very challenging times, for instance in 2009 when the worldwide forklift truck market collapsed by 50%," Alan says. "I am immensely proud of the achievements of our whole team at Craigavon, just under 600 of us, who consistently demonstrate a real 'can-do, team-oriented' attitude."
Alan strongly supports the company playing its part in the local community, from supporting local charities, hosting school groups, providing undergraduate placements and facilitating benchmarking opportunities for smaller companies, to name but a few.
Alan expressed his thanks to his wife Barbara and children Mark, Julia and Ross for their understanding and support throughout his career. "I am very proud to be from Northern Ireland and believe we 'punch well above our weight', I believe that this is thanks to our resilience, drive and determination." he added.