Gregory Darling honoured for outstanding business achievements
The winner of this year’s Denise Anderson Award for Outstanding Achievement, Gregory Darling, says it gives him “huge satisfaction” leading a business bringing so much money, employment and benefit to the region.
As chairman of Great Yarmouth-based Gardline Group, he has taken over the reins from his late father George in steering a multifaceted global business which has expanded in many directions from its original focus of seabed surveys.
Mr Darling, 61, said he was honoured to accept the EDP Business Awards’ accolade, sponsored by Anglian Water and given in memory of Denise Anderson – the former director of Business Link who died suddenly in 2003 – “on behalf of my entire team”.
That team in Gardline Group’s 60 worldwide companies has now swelled to more than 1,700 with one third of the staff still based in Norfolk.
“We are Yarmouth’s biggest employer,” he said proudly. “Competing on a world stage we are contributing to the economy in the best possible way in terms of employment, tax and foreign exchange.”
Mark Pendlington, group director at Anglian Water, said: “This is deserved recognition for someone who quietly gets on with doing remarkable things in our region.
“Gregory not only achieves spectacular success in the East of England, but he exports that innovation, diligence and business acumen around the world.
“He is undoubtedly one of our region’s finest business leaders. He is creating jobs both at home and abroad, and bringing investment to a part of this region where it affords significant benefit. This is a richly deserved award for one of East Anglia’s unsung heroes.”
Mr Darling highlighted his company’s commitment to taking on apprentices and young graduates, having forged a fruitful relationship with the University of East Anglia.
He said: “Gardline’s growth and capability depends upon staff who have worked for the company through good times and bad; some for 10, 20 or 30 years.”
The father of three, who lives with his wife Sue in Kirstead Green, south of Norwich, said a secret to the success of Gardline was consistently being “at the forefront of new developments rather than looking backwards”.
“That is primarily my role although managing change and grasping opportunities is quite hard,” he admitted.