A WELL-KNOWN figure across Teesside’s petrochemical sector is now the holder of an OBE.

Dr Stan Higgins has been recognised for services to the chemical process sector.

Dr Higgins spent years as chief executive at the North-East Process Industry Cluster (Nepic), which supports chemical-using operators and their supply chain, before retiring in the summer.

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He spearheaded the organisation since its inception in the early 2000s, following the merger of the Teesside Chemical Initiative, based at Wilton, near Redcar, and the Pharmaceutical and Speciality Cluster.

Speaking to The Northern Echo prior to his retirement, Dr Higgins said he was proud of Nepic’s achievements.

He said: “We have built a leading cluster for the chemical industry and have landed investments worth well over £4bn and more than 5,000 jobs.”

Dr Higgins handed over the reins at Nepic to former Hartlepool Labour MP Iain Wright, but remains an active presence on Teesside, having become a non-executive director at ITS Limited.

Based in Middlesbrough, ITS provides automation and instrumentation services to the pharmaceutical, healthcare, nuclear and chemical sectors.

Meanwhile, a housing sector boss hopes to continue raising awareness of tenants’ needs after being recognised.

Jo Boaden, chief executive of the Northern Housing Consortium (NHC) has received a CBE for services to housing providers.

NHC, based in Sunderland, represents the views of housing organisations across the region, and Ms Boaden said her honour reflects its growing industry reputation.

Ms Boaden, who also chairs Your Homes Newcastle, which manages properties on behalf of Newcastle City Council, said: “I was very surprised, but I am incredibly proud and honoured to receive this award.

“I think it underlines the significance of housing and the increasingly influential role of the NHC.” 

Tom Miskell, NHC chairman, added: “We are delighted Jo has been awarded a CBE, which reflects her passion for, and commitment to, improving the lives of people through housing.

“This award is a great achievement and we are proud of her and the recognition this gives to housing issues.”