A businessman who has helped put the region on the map has been honoured in the Queen’s Birthday Honours.
Paul Stonebanks has been awarded an OBE for his work as managing director of AIS.
The 40-year-old, from North Shields, set up Advanced Industrial Solutions in 2007 and in that time has expanded from two members of staff to 200.
As well as manufacturing specialist insulation and passive fire protection systems for industry it also offers training and support for young people aged 16 to 24 to get into work.
It operates from two state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities in North Shields plus facilities in Aberdeen, Grimsby and Huddersfield.
Paul, who is married to Joanne and they have a 13 year-old son, Cole, said: “Being awarded this OBE is simply the proudest moment of my business life.
“Often you end up so focussed on what’s coming next, you don’t really think deeply about awards or business recognition but this was out of the blue and knocked me off my feet.
“I’m not really an emotional person but the letter announcing my OBE almost brought me to tears – for the first time I actually reflected on what I’ve achieved with AIS.
“I’m just an ordinary hardworking guy from North Shields so to get such amazing recognition doesn’t feel real somehow.
“I’m unbelievably happy and want to thank my family and the team at AIS for all their support and help getting me to this moment. This OBE is for them as much as me.”