Dr Geoffrey Lorigan
Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to business and leadership development
Dr Geoffrey Lorigan reckons he has had about three or four careers over his lifetime but the central theme in all of them has been innovation.
Lorigan began his working life in the dairy industry before moving to London to work in the meat industry and then went into the university sector before founding the Institute for Strategic Leadership in the year 2000.
That business has since expanded and operates in Auckland, Sydney, Singapore, San Francisco and London supporting chief executives to create growth strategies through a focus on leadership excellence, highly engaged staff and customers, and creating a culture of innovation that grows and inspires talent.
Its alumni includes a previous New Zealand governor-general and prime minister as well as the chief of the defence force and police. Former CEOs have included those at KiwiRail, Fonterra and The Warehouse Group.
Lorigan said the award had been a big surprise but had prompted a time of reflection.
"It makes you think about all the special people you worked alongside along the way. What it means for me is that - it's about the people really and each of them deserve a medal in their own way."
Once described by a former work colleague as the guy with a hundred ideas Lorigan said he was always looking for the best of what was new and then integrating and incubating it into something else.
"I was looking not for best practice but the next practice.
"Innovation is risky. It never works out 100 per cent."
But he said after a learning process it was usually possible to find a way to make something work.
Now they call it being a disruptor but in former times it was being a change agent - a term which Lorigan much prefers due to its positive connotations.
He has bought a couple of bottles of champagne and put them in the fridge in anticipation of a few friends calling in to celebrate.
Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to business and philanthropy
Neil Richard says it lovely to be recognised for his hard work especially when it is not from the country where he was born.
The Australian came here in 1990 to originally work for two years and ended up staying and raising a family here.
"It is lovely to receive it, it feels slightly embarrassing - I appreciate the honour but you look around all the other people that I have activities with and I see so many people doing good things - it is lovely to receive but there are so many other people and I'm just part of a whole group of people.
During his career, Richard has been involved in everything from start-ups, academia, investment, governance and marketing to research and public policy - often all at the same time.
He is the former chairman of AgResearch and the Foundation for Research Science and Technology and is currently part of a thought leaders group for the Ministry of Primary Industries and group chairman of Marque Group which is leading a global roll-up of automotive technology, data and analytics.
As well as chairing the charity Momentum Waikato Community Foundation he also chairs the advisory board for the Waikato Management School at the University of Waikato where he remains an adjunct professor.
Richardson was formerly chairman of Waikato Aggregates, New Zealand Home Loans and Smart Loyalty.
Some of his proudest moments include a wine cooler business at the age of 24 and then floating New Zealand company Endace on the London AIM market.
He said two big decisions had shaped his life - deciding to stay in New Zealand and getting a university education.
"My mother used to say education was the road to freedom. When I got a scholarship and went to university for me it was the transformational step - if I hadn't have got that scholarship I'd be working in a factory and that has made me appreciate the importance of giving young people that opportunity to get an education."
Dr Peter Fennessy
Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to agricultural science and business
Dr Peter Fenessy has made it his mission to bring science and business together and train future generations along the way.
Fennessy founded Abacusbio around 20 years ago when he saw there was a gap in the market around agri-consulting.
"There was a lot of science being done but it was getting more and more difficult to see how it was being applied in practical applications so we created a business that has become reasonably successful - it is really around the bridging science and business."
He is not involved in the day-to-day management any more but the company has operations in NZ, UK and North America.
"We work all over the world in the agri-consulting area but more particularly in niches around breeding in animals, plants, fish and honey bees. We have built a niche business with exceptional people and we have put a huge amount of work into training and bringing people through the business because you don't get people who have got a science/business brain - you don't pull them off the shelf."
He is proud of the way they have built up young leaders.
"To see young people coming through is fantastic actually. That probably is the thing I value now. The people I have got to work with are fantastic. The reality is you don't do this on your own. It's a credit to all the people you work with, especially in the last 25 years."