From a council estate to the board room from Saltburn and beyond

By James McGill

Teesside University have honoured two East Cleveland high flyers with honorary Doctorates.

Keith Williams from Guisborough and Dr Nicholas Patrick from Saltburn recently received honorary Doctorates.

Keith Williams is the CEO of British Airways and has worked for international companies Apple and Reckitt and Colman. Keith was born on the Hutton Estate and attended Guisborough Grammar School before going on to study at Liverpool University.

Guisborough born British Airways CEO Keith Williams at Teesside University with Brother and Guisborough Councillor Dave Williams.

Keith took over the reins of British Airways from Willie Walsh in January of this year, he played a key role in ending the cabin crew strikes and how the company re organised after the September 11th Terrorist Attacks.

Keith told Coastal View: “I still have family in the area and I try to get back when I can.

“I hope my career shows that if you work hard enough anyone can succeed.

“I worked in large companies such as Reckitt and Apple then on to BA where I am now in charge of 37,000 people based all over the UK.

“My message to the young people of East Cleveland is keep trying hard and follow your dreams even in the current climate.”

Keith’s brother and Labour Councillor for Westworth ward, David Williams said: “I’m very proud of my brother’s achievements.

“If Keith can make his way from a council estate in Guisborough to become the CEO of BA  it proves that if you are willing to put in the work, your social background is never a disadvantage. “

Dr Nicholas Patrick is a NASA astronaut and engineer who has flown on two shuttle missions and clocked up 638 hours in space. On his second mission he took part in three spacewalks to help build the International Space Station.  Dr Nicholas will receive an honorary Doctor of Science.

Professor Graham Henderson CBE, the University’s Vice-Chancellor, said: “I am absolutely delighted that the University is honouring such distinguished, high achieving individuals. Their presence will be a great addition to our awards ceremonies and I’m sure our new graduates and their guests will thoroughly enjoy hearing them tell the story of their success.”

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