and customers of Carryduff firm Lowe Refrigeration Solutions
have been left shocked and saddened by the sudden death of its
Director. Michael Lowe, who along with this brother Gerald
turned the company into one of Northern Ireland's most
successful export businesses, suffered a heart attack while on
holiday in Hong Kong. He was 53. Mr. Lowe, a twin, was born in
1953 and was a member of a traditional Northern Irish family of
farming stock. He was educated at Tullywest Primary School,
Ballynahinch, Newtownbreda Primary and Knockbreda High Schools.
In 1977 he joined his brother Gerald in running Lowe
Refrigeration, a refrigeration rental company. From small
beginnings in Carryduff the company had grown enormously by the
time of his death. In 1986 it opened in Germany, while permanent
offices and warehouses were established near Derby in 1989.
By this time the company was the market
leader in Europe and was heavily involved in shows as far away
as Hong Kong and Singapore.
In 1990 operations were expanded to include
the USA, with Lowe Refrigeration Inc. opening in
Atlanta, Georgia. This provided the first coast
to coast rental service on the American continent. Expansion
continued throughout the 1990s, with offices opening in Hong
Kong (1992) and Singapore (2002).
As of 2007, the company has agency agreements
in Argentina, France, and Poland, while offering services in
China, Indonesia, New Zealand and Australia. With Lowe
Refrigeration's continued expansion, recognition was forthcoming
and the firm received the Queen's Award for Export Achievement
in 1990, 1991, and 1999.
Mr. Lowe was delighted to attend Buckingham
Palace to receive these awards under three consecutive Prime
Ministers - Margaret Thatcher, John Major and Tony Blair.
From 2006 Mr. Lowe became the sole director
of the renamed Lowe Refrigeration Solutions, as he bought his
brother's stake in the company.
After some restructuring he was concentrating
a large part of his time in China, where business is growing
Despite work commitments he always found time
for his family and various hobbies. He was a passionate collector of antique maps, with a
special interest in 16th and 17th century maps by Speed. He
greatly enjoyed the outdoors, with hiking in the Yorkshire Dales
one of his favourite pastimes. He was a keen gardener and
conservationist, taking particular delight in his efforts to
convert an area of bog into a large natural pond, with planted
trees nearby, as a haven for wildlife.
As his children passed through school Mr.
Lowe became increasingly determined to become active in the
debate concerning Northern Ireland's education system, and in
2006 he was appointed to the council of CCEA on the
recommendation of the Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce and
Industry and the Department of Education. He was a very active
member of the Young Enterprise initiative in schools, and took
great pleasure in helping young people develop vital business
His attitude was that one should look to the
future and help the young people of today become the adults of
He is survived by his wife Sarah and their
children Thomas (20), Emma (18), and Jenny (7).