Name: Ed Vernon

Age: 53

Company: Macildowie Recruitment

Turnover: £9m 

First job: I worked in the electronic design unit of Queen’s University designing microprocessor systems for some of the first mobile computers. I remember a new honours graduate working with us who nearly blew half of the room out after switching on his latest creation. He’d got the mains plug wiring wrong! I think the saying goes that knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit – intelligence is knowing not to put it in a fruit salad!

Dream job: Drummer with Thin Lizzy or chair of a university business school. Innovation is everything for the UK economy, so I would go for the latter.

Car: Mercedes Evolution

Economy, business or first class: Economy. We’re in business to make money and lead from the front – particularly in these difficult times.

Most extravagant purchase: Porsche 911 Turbo, for £108,000.

Most played song on iPodLet There Be Drums by Queen.

Best business bookThe Art of War by Sun Tzu and Winning by Jack Welch.

Worst business moment: Making a huge investment in a dotcom just before the NASDAQ plummeted in March 2000.

Proudest business moment: In my role as board member of Invest Northern Ireland, I was invited to the White House as a guest of President Obama and Hillary Clinton. This was part of a strategic trade mission where I was accompanied by the US Economic Envoy to Northern Ireland.

Business mentor: John Wright, an international non-executive and former banker. (John is from an era when bankers had a positive reputation.)

Next big thing: The recovery of the economy. Everyone has a part to play – ignore the overly negative business press and concentrate on driving up standards. One thing is certain: this recession will end.

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