A former Portadown man has been awarded the OBE in the New Year’s Honours List, having made an international reputation in the world of engineering.
Dr George Gillespie attended Edenderry Primary School, Killicomaine Junior High and Portadown College before going to Queen’s University where he studied Mechanical Engineering, graduating in 1984. He then completed a PhD in Mechanical Engineering at Queen’s University before emigrating to the USA in 1998.
He now works in England as CEO of the firm of MIRA Ltd, a world-leader in advanced vehicle engineering, research and product testing. The honour is for his services to international trade, following his commitment to building business overseas.
He accompanied Prime Minister, David Cameron, on a trade visit to China in December 2013, and visited Japan, India and Korea during 2014 in a bid to build long-term business relationships between international markets and the UK. And he went with Nick Clegg to Brazil recently.
Dr Gillespie is the son of Thompson and Margaret Gillespie and was brought up in Princess Way – his parents now lives in The Avenue. Mr Gillespie was principal of Kinnego Primary School and his wife taught at Millington Primary.
He looks back with affection to his days at the College – especially rugby coaching from Jackie Mulligan. He was a keen member of Portadown Baptist Campaigners during the time that Pastors Paul Tucker and Clifford Morrison were in charge of the church.
After he left Queen’s, he worked for six years in Milwaukee and Chicago in the development and design of outboard motors, after which he returned to the UK and worked in cutting edge engineering with a Brighton firm.
His next assignments were with the German company Schenck, after which he had a global role with the Japanese firm Horiba, where he remained for three years, and he came back to England in 2009 to join MIRA as CEO.
Dr George Gillespie added, “I am incredibly honoured to accept this award from Her Majesty the Queen, which not only recognises my personal commitment in this field, but also that of MIRA – an organisation I am incredibly proud to be a part of. And I’m proud of my Portadown roots.”