Monday, January 7, 2019

News: Tony's pride at OBE

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One of Rotherham's leading lights has been awarded an OBE in the New Year's Honours List.

Tony Stewart, the managing director of Rotherham firm, ASD Lighting, and chairman of Rotherham United Football Club, is receiving the honour for services to business and the community in Rotherham.

Born in Sheffield and brought up in High Green with a twin brother and four other siblings, Stewart was a Yorkshire Champion for running the mile. After leaving High Green School he undertook an apprenticeship as an electrician before starting in business aged 26 in a fast growing electrical contracting firm.

Stewart was intrigued by infra red detectors and went on to combine them with lighting products which made them turn on "as if by magic" in 1981. After further design and development, and securing start up cash from the bank, it led to the formation of ASD Lighting, a Rotherham manufacturing success story.

The Barbot Hall company has had unrivalled success in the LED market and has invested heavily in facilities and R&D. It employs around 200 staff at its 200,000 sq ft factory. 2017 turnover at ASD increased 20% on the previous year to £26.2m due to increased sales in the company's street lighting products. Profits after tax were at £3.69m.

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Stewart said: "I was totally stunned to see the letter informing me of the news.

"When my wife Joan asked me to sit down I thought it was bad news. Then I saw it, and I could not believe what I was reading. I felt a mixture of being quite flattered but also proud to have been recognised.

"This is also an honour for everyone who has worked tirelessly with me over the years, and for my family who have been a huge support.

"I know what has been achieved with Rotherham United will have brought so much joy, not just to me, but to thousands of our loyal supporters. We still have so much to achieve and I am optimistic and excited about our future.

"This honour is something I'll cherish forever."

Tony Stewart was one of a number of business people invited to the Town Hall with the aim of finding a way of resurrecting the borough's football league club after it fell into administration for the second time in 2008. He ended up going it alone and brought them out of administration via a Creditors Voluntary Agreement (CVA).

After the takeover came the decision to play home games at the now demolished Don Valley Stadium in Sheffield, after working hard to get a deal to carry on playing at Millmoor, the club's home for over 100 years.

The club was charged with returning to play home games in its home town within four seasons by the Football League and Stewart, with the backing of his directors at ASD and the club, threw his drive, energy, business sense and money into creating the £20m New York Stadium on the edge of Rotherham town centre.

The iconic stadium hosted its first game in July 2012 and under Tony's ten year tenure the club has enjoyed three promotions, including two Play-off final victories at Wembley Stadium.

ASD Lighting website
RUFC website

Images: ASD Lighting / RUFC

1 comments:

Martyn Benson,  January 8, 2019 at 1:19 PM  

Because of all his efforts for Rotherham and its football club (putting his time and money to good use over many years), a very well-deserved honour (unlike those given to certain local politicians and to senior civil servants for poor efforts).

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