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Business Chief Receives Honours

Middlesbrough born Chairman of logistics specialist, AV Dawson, is due to be awarded an honorary degree from Teesside University this month.

Maurice Dawson joins a select group of business heavyweights that have been recognised by the university including Dragons Den’s Duncan Bannatyne OBE, Bulkhaul MD and Middlesbrough Football Club Chairman Steve Gibson and Barker & Stonehouse Chairman Richard Barker.

Maurice will receive a Doctor of Business Administration on November 26. He is one of three distinguished figures receiving honorary degrees during the week who have each achieved remarkable standards in their chosen careers. Joining him will be actor Stephen Tompkinson and climber Steve McClure.

Maurice Dawson of AV Dawson

From humble beginnings, AV Dawson was founded by Maurice’s father, Arthur Vernon Dawson in 1938. “Vernie”, as he was more well-known, bought a horse, cart and £50 worth of coal and began selling his stock on the streets of Middlesbrough. It was from then that the company we know now began to make a name for itself.

A permanent part of the industrial landscape in Teesside for 80 years, AV Dawson has successfully expanded and evolved its business, painting an incredible picture with its colourful history.

It was in 1956 that the leading distribution firm truly became a family business, when 15 year-old son Maurice left school to join the growing business. After completing an apprenticeship as a diesel fitter in the workshops within the company, as well as spending several years as a long-distance lorry driver, he became joint managing director at 30 years old alongside his mother, Eleanor.

By 1980, Maurice and Eleanor were running a greatly established business with a vehicle haulage fleet of 60. As part of a strategy to diversify the business, they commissioned both industrial units and small warehouses to be built on their site.

A few years later, and recovering from the brink of closure in 1984 after battling the recession, AV Dawson built up the business once again by purchasing British Steel’s Ayton Rolling Mill which then positioned them as a significant warehouse owner, working for ICI, Cleveland Potash and British Steel.

After several prosperous years, in which the company made many positive developments such as the purchase of their North Sea Supply Base and winning a major contract with Corus, Maurice finally stepped down and his son Gary Dawson took the reigns as managing director, with Maurice taking on the role of Chairman.

Growing the company over a total of four decades, AV Dawson now employs 240 people and has built award-winning facilities at its base at Riverside Park in Middlesbrough; Dawson’s Wharf.

Maurice Dawson said of the accolade:

“I thought they had made a mistake and it wasn’t really for me. I always keep my head below the parapet and quietly keep going. I’m both honoured and flattered that I have been singled out for this award.

“I accept this personally, but in my heart, it’s on behalf of the company and all the people we employ.  I see this as more of an accolade for the people at AV Dawson who have all worked so hard over the years to make this business the success it is today.

“I’m keen to do whatever I can to support Teesside University in inspiring their students to set up their own successful businesses in Teesside.”

The important tribute comes at a time when AV Dawson is celebrating the first anniversary of its state-of-the-art automotive steel store, as well as being on track to make an annual turnover of £23m by the end of 2015.

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