Gary Lewis announced as finalist for Essex businessman of the year19th April 2013
The founder and managing director of A1 Pharmaceuticals, Pharmacist Gary Lewis, was today shortlisted for Businessman of the Year in the Essex Business Awards. A further nomination, for A1 Pharmaceuticals in the Growing Business of the Year provided the icing on the cake. This nomination follows soon after the Queen’s Award for Enterprise was conferred upon the company, and follows a string of awards that Gary has received at county and national level. It is gratifying that the success of Gary and the company continues to be recognised as the business goes from strength to strength.
A1 had its foundations in humble beginnings. Gary grew up on a council estate in Lambeth, where he attended an inner city secondary school. Gary exceeded all expectations at Archbishop Michael Ramsay, where the average pass rate was one O-Level. He was one of only 2 students to pass Economics, which was an alternative O-Level and the predecessor of today’s AS Level qualification. He gained 4 science A-Levels, and went on to graduate in Pharmacy in 1982. The seeds for the company were sown by the school’s economics tutor, Mr Baker, who identified Gary’s talent. Mr Baker told the inspired 17 year old that he was a natural entrepreneur, and that he could produce a multimillion turnover company. A1 Pharmaceuticals was formed in partnership with Gary’s wife Carmen, five years after Gary graduated in 1987.
The company has grown immeasurably since then. Gary and Carmen started the company with minimal capital of only £1350, and were forced to work seven day weeks, often in excess of eighty hours per week to enable the company to get off the ground. Now in its 26th year, A1 has transformed into an international undertaking. A1 featured on the International Fasttrack 100 and 200 in consecutive years, in 2010 and 2011, which recognises the UK’s fastest growing companies internationally. Gary has not forgotten his roots, however, and following the example of his economics tutor Mr. Baker, Gary is a dedicated mentor of young people in business and sport, particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds. Many of the current team at A1 were coached and mentored by Gary.
A1 Pharmaceuticals is an international pharmaceutical wholesaler, located in Rainham, just off the M25. A1 specialise in distributing branded surgical dressings, pharmaceuticals and medical devices. Despite the global recession, A1 has been largely unaffected, and sales have almost doubled in size over the last three years, reaching £52 million this year. This is testament not only to Gary’s drive and determination, which led to him devising an austerity plan to guide A1 through the financial crisis, but also a reflection on the successful team which Gary has assembled at A1. The latest nominations in the Essex Business Awards cement A1’s position as one of the most attractive business propositions not only in the UK, but also in Europe.« Back to News