DAVID Hartley, managing director of the Wensleydale Creamery has been named as one of Grant Thornton’s 2018 Faces of the Vibrant Economy.

Each year, the firm identifies 100 progressive leaders across private, public and third sectors that demonstrate excellence in two or more of the following areas – fostering a culture of growth, job creation and entering new markets; innovation; and purpose, investing in their workforce and the wider community.

The Wensleydale Creamery, based in Hawes, is renowned for its traditional cheese-making skills and development of new cheese and dairy products. With a turnover of £29m, the business plays a vital economic role, contributing £14m to the local economy through milk payments, wages and purchases.

The Creamery has managed to successfully combine a fully operational dairy with one of the most recognisable tourist destinations in the North of England, attracting 300,000 visitors a year.

Sacha Romanovitch, chief executive of Grant Thornton UK, said: “At Grant Thornton, we know that doing well by doing good makes business sense and believe that leaders embracing this ethos deserve to be championed. That’s why we launched the Faces campaign – to celebrate individuals who exemplify the Vibrant Economy movement, which aims to shape an environment where people, organisations and communities thrive."

“By celebrating these remarkable leaders, we recognise their role in developing a more purposeful and innovative business environment. They show us how business can be done through ‘human’ leadership which nurtures talent. They provide examples to inspire other business leaders and the next generation to shape a Vibrant Economy. They demonstrate that profits with purpose lead to sustainable business, and show us that it’s not only possible, but also necessary, to do well by doing good."

David Hartley said he was "absolutely thrilled" to have been chosen. He said: "It will be great to connect with other like-minded leaders, to share ideas and insights to continue the development of the business community in the UK. I believe that in business it is vital to stay focused and decisive, remain loyal to your values and nurture the best team possible, empowering colleagues at every opportunity."