Mr Ondrej Polak, Head of Manufacturing Digitalisation, LMAC: has been selected in The Manufacturer Top 100 2023.

If an opportunity arises and you are 80% there, then go for it. The other 20% can often be achieved with hard work, commitment and, sometimes, a little bit of luck. – Mr Ondrej Polak

The Manufacturer’s annual awards for the 100 most inspirational individuals working in UK industry were announced Wednesday 7 June at a gala reception at the NEC in Birmingham.

The Manufacturer Top 100 project, run by The Manufacturer magazine, celebrates its tenth anniversary in 2023 and publicly recognises the most dynamic leaders and innovators in manufacturing. Soon after the start of this decade, several academic and parliamentary studies identified a clear lack of visible role models within manufacturing. In response The Manufacturer Top 100 project launched in 2014 to promote the exciting, well-paid and fulfilling careers that exist in the sector.

Awardees are drawn from every walk of UK industry, and at any stage of their career, from top floor to shop floor. From Young Pioneers who are establishing a new generation of makers in UK industry, to Inspiring Leaders and Drivers of Cultural Change to the Innovators and Unsung Heroes, these are the people who are helping the make UK manufacturing the innovation sector it is today.

They are selected from hundreds of nominations for the examples they set to draw young people into the sector; 100 unique and uplifting stories of struggle, grit, determination and success against all the odds, personal tales of individuals helping to drive UK manufacturing forward – and to change popular perceptions of careers in industry.

Joe Bush, Editor of The Manufacturer and The Manufacturer Top 100 publication commented, “It’s been a pleasure talking to some of this year’s intake and our judging panel, and listening to the passion for the manufacturing industry in the UK. They say that if you find something you love doing, you’ll never work another day in your life and it’s clear that for so many, a career in manufacturing means so much more than a job.

Of course, the primary goal of the Top 100 is to raise the profile of the sector and highlight the amazing opportunities that exist. It is perhaps easy for young people to visualise working in other sectors, but ask them to picture a career in manufacturing and the vision might be slightly opaque, outdated and certainly some way off the modern day reality. In terms of its importance to the UK I’ve heard the manufacturing sector described as the backbone in the background!

Therefore, the onus is on us, the manufacturing sector, to shout about our industry from the roof tops. You are proof of the amazing things that can be achieved by the makers and doers in the sector. Society as a whole is going through a period of challenge and change and it’s the innovators and the problem solvers who will be at the coalface of that and the ones driving our nation and society forward.

The Manufacturer Top 100 judging panel includes:
John Ahmet Erkoyuncu, Professor of Digital Engineering, Cranfield University
Ruth Amos, Engineer and Inventor, StairSteady
Learie Attzs, Institute of Directors, Cranfield University
Donna Bruce, Managing Director Northern Lights
Anita Davenport-Brooks, Group HR Manager, Lander Automotive
Katy Davies former Managing Director, Camden Boss
Elizabeth Donnelly, Chief Executive Officer, Women’s Engineering Society (WES)
Chris Greenough, Chief Commercial Officer, SDE Technology
Brian Henry, Vice President, MMIP / Pfizer
Rashitha Jayasekara, Chief of Digital Manufacturing, Rolls-Royce
John Patsavellas, Senior Lecturer, Cranfield University
Carl Perrin, CEO, Institute for Clean Growth & Future Mobility
Peter Round, President, Royal Aeronautical Society
James Selka, Chief Executive Officer, MTA
Emily Smith, Operations & Finance Director & Chair of ICAEW Manufacturing Advisory Group, Michael Smith Switchgear
Sam Turner, CEO, Advanced Manufacturing Innovation Centre (AMIC) Belfast
Bill Williams, CEO, Alloy Fabweld
Ken Young, Chief Technology Officer, The MTC