But a place in the final of the UK-wide Ernst & Young awards is just recognition for the 53-year-old who arrived in the Borders in late 2008 to take on the knotty challenge of steering Scotland's biggest independent sawmill through the recession.
BSW Timber, founded in 1848 and owned by John and Sandy Brownly, was 50% reliant on the construction market. However, in four years, it has increased turnover by 60% to £163 million.
International sales are up from £7.7m to £18.9m in two years, it has become one of Scotland's fastest-growing exporters, and it is now the leading sawmiller in the UK. Employment has risen by 200 to 900, including an increase of 100 in Scotland to 540, and from its Berwickshire base BSW supports a further 4000 UK jobs indirectly in forestry, logistics and the supply chain.
The chief executive is quick to point to the bold investment of the owners, who are pumping in £55m over the five years to 2015, including a £43m investment in a new mill at Fort William.
But from the depths of the banking crisis and the building depression, Mr Hackney has conjured a blueprint not just for survival, but innovation and growth.
"The company had grown significantly," he says. "I think the owners felt it had got to a position where it could grow substantially but perhaps weren't sure how to do that."
They headhunted a man who had begun his career underground, joining the National Coal Board from school. He made his way from the coal face to senior management, and in 1985 at the age of 27 led a team returning from the year-long miners' strike to break the all-time production record for longwall mining, despite a 50% reduction in manpower.
Mr Hackney was manager at the Silverdale mine in North Staffordshire when it was one of 24 taken through into privatisation in 1991. "Some of the mines were fantastic investments, we were breaking productivity records and returning operating profits in the region of £6m to £7m," he says.
But armed with qualifications as a chartered engineer and with an MBA, he left the new private coal industry after three years to try his luck as a works manager in an Austrian-owned sawmill in North Wales. Here, he hiked turnover from £90m to £220m, helped by family reinvestment in plant, equipment and new processes, before joining a Portuguese multi-national which owned a sawmill in Liverpool.
"I knocked it into shape but it was a plant really in the wrong location, next to a housing estate," he says.
"Working with the guys in Liverpool you have to understand culturally how to get the best out of them – when you do, they are some of the best workers you could hope for."
After six years on the Mersey frontier, he got the call from leafy Berwickshire, and the Staffordshire miner became a Scottish entrepreneur, at the helm of BSW.
Mr Hackney recalls: "I found the market was collapsing, the construction market had completely contracted and the banks had collapsed at the same time. I had looked at the competition and felt there was an opportunity for BSW to grow organically with internal investments and also through acquisition."
BSW was supplying the major retailers and trade merchants with sawn timber, fencing and pallets, but the business had lost £4m in the year to March 2008, and the market for softwood was down by 40%.
"My priority was to attack imports," he says.
Scandinavian timber, slower-growing in colder temperatures, is stronger and has always been perceived as superior to the home-grown product. "There are certain applications where we don't think we can compete, in very high-grade structural timbers, but there are lots of things that can be done with UK timber," Mr Hackney says.
BSW has refocused on the repair and maintenance market, and on developing products such as decking, specialist fencing, and decorative landscaping.
"We have lifted the bar on quality, we have invested a lot ...we have marketed the product so we can demonstrate to the customer they are getting excellent value for money but also a product that works and is comparable."
Pricing, meanwhile, has been "very predatory against imports", he adds.
The company had six mills in the UK and one in Latvia, and a timber frame specialist in South Wales had to be closed. "There were some tough decisions, we removed loss-making businesses so we could invest in things like our own heat generation," he says.
BSW has adapted heat-from-waste technology to use woodchip as fuel for its own energy generation, helping offset the higher costs of more intensive timber drying to improve quality.
"Doing something different when you are a traditional business is a risk," Mr Hackney says. But the return is cost savings of £1m a year, helping BSW to achieve a 2011 operating profit just shy of £20m.
The chief executive says the 2012 summer of royal and sporting distractions and damp weather has contributed to a "significant downturn this year", but adds: "I don't see it as a significant setback, I still feel quite proud we are performing reasonably well. There is pent-up demand in construction, fencing and packaging and when the market returns to full capacity we will fly."
Meanwhile, cost pressures are relentless. The national merchant chains have been consolidating, Jewson recently buying Wolseley. "It is not an easy environment to pass on supply chain increases," Mr Hackney says. Yet log prices, the most significant input cost, have been rising sharply.
As a customer, BSW's mission is to offer good value to both the private sector, and the Forestry Commission where it takes around 20% of avail-able timber.
"We pride ourselves on giving a supplier the opportunity to supply the whole of the tree to us as a processor, because of our routes to market. We are almost providing this perpetual motion machine, which creates massive opportunities for the forestry sector in Scotland. We don't want to close the gates, we want to be dependable."