Ann Johnson, of Blaze Manufacturing Solutions, which is based in Laurencekirk, will address guests during the Aberdeen and Grampian Chamber of Commerce’s (AGCC) Women Mean Business networking event, on Wednesday 1 July.

Mrs Johnson established Blaze with her husband Howard in 2006, and has grown the business from a garden shed operation to a global business, manufacturing and developing fire prevention and suppression systems, safety critical systems and services.

Originally from Manchester, Ann moved to Aberdeen 26 years ago with the company starting life in the couple’s summerhouse before moving to its Laurencekirk headquarters in 2014. Since its establishment, Blaze has also opened an engineering office in Kemnay, near Inverurie, along with a regional office in Great Yarmouth, and a southern sales office in Milton Keynes.

To meet demand from clients, the company’s workforce has grown to 32 full-time members of staff, including design and engineering teams, procurement, and business support personnel, and 67 contractors.

It has experienced rapid growth over the years, with a 500% growth in turnover since 2012 to £18.6m this financial year.

Mrs Johnson will talk about the history of the award-winning company, and the trials and tribulations she has faced over the years to help make the business a success.

Speaking ahead of the event, Mrs Johnson said: "Blaze has come a long way since its establishment nine years ago. It has certainly been a rollercoaster of emotions as we have faced a mixture of good and bad times, not only in business, but also on a personal level. It has involved a lot of hard work and determination to make it a success and we are proud of our achievements.

"In the beginning, I was often mistaken as a guest at industry events, or as Howard’s plus one. Whilst I appreciate owning an engineering company as a woman is unusual it is not impossible."