Leading figures in Cumbria's business community have been shortlisted for prestigious regional awards.

Three Cumbrian business leaders have made the shortlist of the IoD North West & Isle of Man Director of the Year Awards 2020.

John Coughlan, chief executive of Workington's TSP Engineering – which was bought by Chinese steelmaker Jingye earlier this week – is a nominee in the Director of the Year – Small to Medium Business category.

Jennifer Cormack, sales and marketing director at Windermere Lake Cruises, has been nominated in the non-executive director category for her work with Cumbria Tourism.

And Natasha Hanson, business services director at Carlisle-headquartered Direct Rail Services, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, has also been shortlisted.

Mr Coughlan, who is in-Cumbria's Businessperson of the Year, joined TSP Engineering in 2014.

The firm, based at Derwent Howe, said he had turned the business around. It was losing around £2 million a year but is now in consistent profit.

Earlier this month, it announced it had won a £1 million contract for a Swedish research facility, among around £50m-worth of orders it has recently secured.

Mr Coughlan said: “I’m really delighted to be recognised by such a respected and high-profile institution such as the IoD.

"This is a real accolade for all the people at TSP Engineering because leaders can’t lead without a good team."

Ms Cormack is a director of Cumbria Tourism.

She also chairs the English Lake District China Forum and was voted onto the board of directors at UKinbound last year - the only trade association to represent the country’s inbound travel industry.

She said: “I’m obviously thrilled to have been shortlisted and I’m so grateful to those who nominated me.

"Collaborative working has never been as important as it is right now, given the challenges we are all working through. However, we work through it together as a team, and calm seas never made a good sailor.

“It is always such a pleasure working with the members of staff and fellow board directors at Cumbria Tourism, but also working closely with businesses from across Cumbria and the North of England to strengthen the wider Cumbrian economy.

"I feel truly humbled to be recognised by the IoD in this way, which motivates me even further to do whatever I can to steer us through these challenging times faced by so many amazing businesses.”

Gill Haigh, managing director of Cumbria Tourism, added: “It’s no exaggeration to say that Jennifer is a real powerhouse in the tourism industry."

Ms Hanson joined Direct Rail Services as business services director in October 2017. Prior to joining the company, she was head of HR strategy and delivery at the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority and led the agenda on the people strategy for the authority's estate.

The awards will be held in Manchester in May.