BIRR man Stephen Grant had cause to celebrate this week after being made a Distinguished Fellow of AIT.
Along with the founders of Élan, Dr Donald Panoz and former government ministers, Patrick Cooney and Mary O’Rourke, he was conferred as a distinguished fellow of Athlone Institute of Technology yesterday (Tuesday).
The distinguished fellowship is the highest honour that the institute can award and it recognises individuals who have made significant contributions to society, Ireland, the midlands or to the development and advancement of AIT.
AIT president, Prof. Ciarán Ó Catháin, said that: “The four recipients of this award have each written themselves into the annals for the enormous contribution that they have made in public life, in research, in business, and in improving the quality of life enjoyed by people everywhere.”
“At a time when there is a great need for positivity, these distinguished fellowship awards showcase some of the good news stories from the midlands,” he added.
Stephen Grant, founder of Grant Engineering, began his business at a time of global uncertainty over oil prices.
He developed his own back boiler system in 1975 and he developed his own oil burners in the 1980s. From such small beginnings, he now has 120 separate products, with 50 patents.
The top 20 rated boilers in the UK are all Grant products. He has captured 60 per cent of the UK market and more recently his company, Grant Engineering, is exporting to Denmark and to New Zealand.
Austin Hanley, Head of School of Engineering, AIT, said that the midlands is “blessed to have so close to us someone who has changed so many lives and who is a true inventor and innovator. He is a role model for engineers, for entrepreneurs, for inventors, for businessmen, and for caring corporate responsibility. Indeed, higher education is honoured to honour him.” The previous recipient of the distinguished fellowship at AIT was President Mary McAleese.