Runcorn: June 8th, 2019: Merseyside businessman John Lewis, the boss of SOG Group which owns and operates The Heath Business and Technical Park in Runcorn, has been awarded an MBE in The Queen’s Birthday Honours.
The citation says he receives the Member of the Order of the British Empire medal in recognition of ‘Services to Business in Liverpool’.
Steve Rotheram, Metro Mayor of the Liverpool City Region, said: “John Lewis’s innovative leadership and business know-how has provided the conditions for many specialist scientific companies to thrive, creating high-quality jobs and breathing new life into the disused sites of our industrial heritage.
“At the same time he has shown an ongoing commitment to supporting residents in local communities. There could be no worthier recipient of an MBE for services to business than John Lewis and I am delighted for him and his family.”
John Lewis said: “I am deeply honoured to be awarded an MBE. It’s a wonderful accolade and I want to thank my family, my colleagues at SOG, and the many business associates and friends who have all contributed to our success. This is a marvellous personal honour for me but it is also recognition of the sterling efforts of all of the SOG team.”
SOG Group is widely recognised as one of the UK’s top independent operators of business and science parks. SOG was formed in 1999 after chemicals giant ICI announced it was closing its North West HQ at The Heath. SOG bought the site, retained some of the key skilled personnel who worked for ICI and transformed the location into a multi-occupancy business and science park. Today The Heath is home to over 120 individual companies employing around 2,000 people.
Originally head of marketing, John, nephew of legendary Liverpool comedian the late Sir Ken Dodd, became Managing Director and majority shareholder in 2010. His achievements have been recognised with several awards including the accolade of Liverpool’s ‘Knowledge Leader of the Year’, an award recognising Merseyside’s key business leaders and academics who have made a major contribution to the region. He is also a past winner of Halton Chamber of Commerce & Enterprise Entrepreneur of the Year.
As a young man John worked in his father’s floor laying business and actually worked on the former ICI site laying flooring in the offices and laboratories – in the very buildings he ultimately took ownership of. John has also launched a number of other successful businesses under the RJ Lewis brand which provide maintenance and facility management services; space planning, engineering services and creative design for specialist projects; and creating, designing and developing bespoke new-build projects.
John added: “I started out working for my dad who was a massive influence in my life, as was my mum who was always there to give me encouragement. They would have been so pleased for me…and I know my Uncle Ken would have been really very proud too.”
Carol Thomas, SOG Group’s Finance Director, said: “Everyone at SOG is delighted for John. He is immensely passionate about business and about the North West region. He has dedicated his life to projects that make a real difference. John thoroughly deserves recognition for his massive contribution to creating environments where businesses can thrive and grow, and that deliver employment for so many people.”
John, aged 57, lives in Rainhill. His wife Linda runs her own business ‘Card Snobs’, a speciality greetings card shop in Childwall Fiveways, Liverpool. They have two children, Beccy and Ryan. Beccy is a professional netball coach who works with England Netball. Ryan works with his father at SOG and is also the bass player in the popular North West band, The Hummingbirds.
SOG recently regenerated a massive site in east London, formerly home to a global pharmaceutical company, where it created Londoneast-uk Business and Technical Park. Until February 2019 Londoneast-uk operated as a sister Park to The Heath. Using its unique business model, SOG has developed a consultancy service called ‘Fusion’ to advise businesses on the options when closing or downsizing sites in an effort to identify new ways to breathe new life into the locations.
John said: “We’ve achieved great things over the past 20 years but now we are looking forward with exciting ideas to take The Heath site forward and make it fit for purpose for future generations.”
- John Lewis (main)
- John Lewis, SOG Finance Director Carol Thomas and Charles Davies, MD SOG Resources Division
- John Lewis with his wife Linda, daughter Beccy and son Ryan
About The Heath
The Heath Business and Technical Park is a phenomenal regeneration success story. Formed in 2000, its owner and operator, SOG Ltd, has transformed a once single occupancy corporate facility into a thriving independent business park. The Heath now provides office and laboratory accommodation for more than 120 individual organisations, ranging from business services and IT specialists to those at the cutting edge of science, research and advanced manufacturing. Around 2,000 people are employed at the site. For further information, telephone 01928 515988 or visit www.theheath.com
Issued on behalf of The Heath Business and Technical Park,
Media contact: Paul Smith Associates (PSA) 01420 22532