Raleigh, NC (May 9, 2011) –Martin Lancaster, a lawyer with Smith Anderson, received the Order of the British Empire(OBE) from HRH Prince Charles at a ceremony held at the British Embassy in Washington, DC on Thursday, May 6, 2011. Mr. Lancaster was honored for services to the people of Northern Ireland. He has spent several years developing a relationship between the community colleges in North Carolina and higher education systems in Northern Ireland. Lancaster has worked with the Department of Employment and Learning for almost ten years in restructuring their higher education institution to be more demand driven and economic and workforce development focused. He has been a member of the Northern Ireland Employment and Skills Group since 2003, helping to develop a work force in a region experiencing economic challenges.
Prior to joining Smith Anderson, Mr. Lancaster served four terms in Congress and a decade as president of the state’s community college system. He has also served as Assistant Secretary of the Army (Civil Works) with primary responsibility for overseeing the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and as the Special Advisor to the President on Chemical Weapons. Mr. Lancaster’s other public service includes serving as Member of the U.S. House of Representatives from 1987 until 1995 and as Member of the North Carolina House of Representatives for the preceding eight years. In Congress, Mr. Lancaster served on the Armed Services, Small Business, Agriculture, and Merchant Marine and Fisheries Committees; in the North Carolina House, Mr. Lancaster Chaired the Judiciary Committee. Mr. Lancaster’s practice at Smith Anderson focuses on government contracting and corporate expansions and relocations.
The OBE recognizes distinguished service to the arts and sciences, public services outside the Civil Service, and work with charitable and welfare organizations of all kinds. It was created during the First World War in 1917 by George V. The King recognized the need for an award of honor in recognition of the large numbers of people in the British Isles and other parts of the Empire who were helping the war effort both as combatants and as civilians on the home front. Today the Order of the British Empire is the order of chivalry of British democracy. Valuable service is the only criterion for the award, and the Order is now used to reward service in a wide range of useful activities. Citizens from other countries have also received an honorary award for services rendered to the United Kingdom and its people.