Dave Walker - Young Lancastrian of the Year
PUBLISHED: 00:00 20 February 2020
Burnley businessman Dave Walker has been crowned the Young Lancastrian of the Year, but he has no plans to ease up, as Nicolette Webster reports.
It is a bitterly cold winter morning as Dave Walker strides out across the hills looming majestically over Burnley. It's early, Dave's 'me' time of the day, before the frenetic pace of running a successful digital business takes over.
With cocker spaniel Jack at his side, 33-year-old Dave uses this day-break dog walk to gather his thoughts and think about the day ahead. He's already "eaten his frog" with a coffee in his home office - his favourite room in his house.
'The "Eat my Frog" concept comes from Brian Tracy, a time management expert who I've taken some snippets like this from. It helps in dealing with stuff I am not relishing, it gets rid of my worst job that day,' explains Dave as we chat in the co-working space at The Landmark, Lancashire's most prestigious new digital business hub and home to Dave's award-winning tech business +24 Marketing.
The day after Dave Walker was honoured by his peers as the Young Lancastrian of the Year at a glittering regional business awards event, he took to the hills with his wife Joanne, a local primary school teacher and allowed himself a moment or two of reflection.
'I was stunned when it was announced I had won the award,' he says. 'It was totally unexpected. I am really proud to have been given this title. It's an honour and is testament to the fact that we are putting back into the community where my home and business is based.
'I am a massive believer in community and putting back into the place where you live and work,' he adds. 'That's the only way to improve our area for everyone and future generations. I think we are unique in Burnley and in Lancashire as a whole. The people are genuinely nice, we work together to better things, yet we're probably not always dealt the best hand - if you're based in a different area of the UK the opportunities are perhaps more readily available.
'But this is changing and I can see that business growth and investing in people in this area is improving life here massively. That's down to people putting back into the community. Just by doing my little bit it is making a difference and will hopefully encourage others to give back. It's a two-way street. That's the only way our communities will continue to improve and prosper.'
Dave, who grew up in Barnoldswick, worked alongside well-known Oscar-winning Burnley businessman Mark Crabtree of AMS Neve, in the early days of establishing The Landmark, a hi-spec, hi-tech co-working space.
'I really wouldn't want to live or work anywhere else. Lancashire will always be my home for the rest of my life. We have such beautiful countryside around us here, we are never more than five or 10 minutes away from being able to get out onto the hills. I fly to Europe on business, I can get to London or anywhere else in the country easily.' It is nearly 10 years since Dave founded +24 Marketing, the digital marketing, design and software development agency he launched as a one-man band. Today, he leads a team of 16 and rising, with an client base which includes many household national names and many more based much closer to home.
Judges of the Young Lancastrian of the Year Award were impressed with Dave's commitment to "giving back". The judges said: 'Through his business and personal life, David has a clear commitment to developing fellow Lancastrians and future leaders. His passion for the county is clear, as is his desire to inspire those around him to share his values.'
A long-standing trustee of Pendleside Hospice, Dave sits as the chair of the income generation committee. In particular, he has helped with the Corporate Challenge, an initiative which has so far raised over £350,000.
And Pendleside Hospice are equally proud that Dave has been honoured. Chief executive Helen McVey said: 'We are delighted Dave has been given this award for the work he does, not just for his own business but supporting the local business community of Burnley and Pendle and of course his work as a trustee with Pendleside Hospice.
'Dave gives up his time and invaluable experience for free to provide leadership to the Hospice. Without this leadership and support from Dave, the hospice wouldn't be in the position it is to provide ongoing care to people in our local community who need our support.'