The Sunderland Army veteran who launched booming mezzanine business after serving in Afghanistan and Iraq - and he's booked solid until the end of 2023

An Army veteran has swapped military life for the business world – and he’s already doing great.

Steven Conlin, 35, completed two tours of duty in Iraq and two in Afghanistan during his 12 years in the Light Infantry and the Rifles.

But now he has his own Sunderland business called SJC Utility Services which specialises in mezzanine flooring and racking.

He becomes the latest entry in the Sunderland Echo Business Excellence Awards and said: “I am flat out. I am booked solid until the end of 2023.

Steven Conlin whose business SJC Utility Services has been nominated for the Sunderland Echo Business Excellence Awards.

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"My hopes are to keep growing. I would be over the moon to be shortlisted, or to win, but just to be nominated is great.”

The company uses sub contractors to complete the ever-growing number of jobs it has nationwide.

Steven added: “Business can change in a flash but at the moment, it is going well.”

SJC has ‘an exciting future’, he said.

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Steven Conlin in his Army days.

"I am looking forward to establishing ourselves as one of the leading mezzanine and racking companies in the UK in coming years.”

Also on board are the North East BIC, Chilli Mangoes, Marelli, Harrison and Brown, and Sunderland College. We thank them all for their outstanding support.

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The awards

Steven Conlin.

The awards will culminate with a glittering finals night in November at the Stadium of Light but if you want to be in the running, get your entries in nice and early.

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If you want to join those early contenders for honours, there are some new categories as well as plenty of favourites from previous years.

Sunderland’s businesses are among the most ambitious, innovative, and hard-working in the world but is your business the best in Wearside and County Durham? Why not enter our awards and put yourself in the running to be a winner.

Steven Conlin pictured at work with his company SJC Utility Services.

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To enter, take a look at the categories, choose the most appropriate for your business, and nominate using the link below.

You can nominate your own firm or a company which you think deserves an accolade.

For further information and to enter, visit the awards website at www.sunderlandbusinessawards.co.uk

Closing date for entries is Friday, September 23. Judging will take place shortly after the closing date and the shortlist will be announced in early October.

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The categories:

Steve hard at work.

SME Business of the Year - (Sponsored by the North East BIC).

Large Business of the Year - (Sponsored by Chilli Mangoes).

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Best Independent Business.

Social Enterprise of the Year - (Sponsored by the North East BIC).

Retail, Hospitality & Leisure Business of the Year.

Apprentice/Trainee of the Year.

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Sustainable Initiative of the Year - (Sponsored by Marelli)

Business in the Community Award.

Employer of the Year.

Entrepreneur of the Year.

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Lifetime Achievement Award.

Business of the Year (Sponsored by Sunderland City Council).

The Sunderland Echo Business Excellence Awards.