Annette Weekes, from Luddenden, has been named in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours 2022 list for her services to business and the community.
“I was really surprised and delighted,” she said. “It came totally out of the blue.”
The 42-year-old mum-of-two is the managing director of a group of small engineering companies called PDS CNC Engineering in Nelson.
The firms are part of the aerospace industry but have also worked on the Thrust Supersonic Car, rebuilt Donald Campbell’s Bluebird boat and worked with the likes of Lindstrand Balloons on Richard Branson’s ICO global balloon attempts.
She initially worked in retail before going to work at NASA’s Johnson Space Centre in Houston with the International Space School in 1999. There, her responsibilities included coordinating activities for the 30th anniversary of the moon landings and led to a meeting with Neil Armstrong which started her passion for engineering.
She joined the company her father owned - PDS CNC Engineering Ltd - and worked in several different roles before becoming managing director.
At the beginning of lockdown, Annette worked with Sherry Kothari at Lancaster University to set up a covid manufacturing cluster, addressing the desperate NHS shortages by connecting local manufacturers to local hospital needs.
In October last year, she also founded Holiday Hunger, delivering lunch meals to 3,000 children across East Lancashire.
“It’s been a privilege to be able to help and I've been really touched by the levels of support and good will we’ve had,” she said.