Dromore man named construction leader of the year and awarded OBE

There was a double cause for celebration for local man Ray Hutchinson, who lives in Dromore, as he recently received the OBE from the Duke of Cambridge, and a short time later was named Construction Leader of the Year.

Ray Hutchinson, Managing Director of Gilbert-Ash receives an OBE at Bucking hame Palace London. He is pictured with his family. Photo credit: Simon Jacobs
Ray Hutchinson, Managing Director of Gilbert-Ash receives an OBE at Bucking hame Palace London. He is pictured with his family. Photo credit: Simon Jacobs

The Managing Director of construction, refurbishment and fit out company, Gilbert-Ash was named in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours for services to the industry and to diversity and inclusion.

Ray travelled to London, along with his family, for the ceremony which took place at Buckingham Palace on Friday June 24.

Just two weeks after the investiture, Ray was back in London again when he was named Construction Leader of the Year at the for prestigious Construction News Awards.

Ray Hutchinson OBE with Prince William, Duke of Cambridge

A delighted Ray paid tribute to his family for their support and to the staff at Gilbert-Ash.

He said: “I am deeply humbled to receive the OBE and I am accepting this honour on behalf of my family and my colleagues at Gilbert-Ash.

“To then be named as Construction Leader of the Year is another extremely proud moment.

“At Gilbert-Ash we have a wonderfully dedicated team who deliver truly outstanding projects for our clients. Leading this team is a privilege and I am constantly impressed by our ability to push the boundaries of innovation and excellence in the construction industry.”

Ray Hutchinson OBE wins Construction Leader of the Year with Gilbert Ash

Senior figures from Gilbert-Ash, the construction industry, organisations which promote diversity and inclusion and a charity have all paid tribute to Ray.

Gilbert-Ash Commercial Director, Mark Nutt said Ray has a ‘clear direction for the company’.

Mark said: “Ray brings a calmness to his role as Managing Director and sets the direction in terms of the projects we take on and how we want to do business as a company.

“He has also been a real champion of diversity and inclusion and largely responsible for Gilbert-Ash exceeding the industry average when it comes to female members of staff. This is an area where Ray brings a real focus.”

Mark Spence, Construction Employers Federation Managing Director, said Ray was a modernising force both for CEF and the construction industry during his time as President.

Ray served as CEF President from 2018-2020. In addition, he was Vice-President from 2016-2018 and Past President from 2020 until 2022.

Mark said: “Ray took up the role of President during a difficult period for the industry in Northern Ireland. Stormont wasn’t sitting and the industry needed a strong voice as we met with senior civil servants and Permanent Secretaries to discuss budgets for public works.

“Ray was front and centre of a lot of detailed work around capacity and contracts and he was instrumental in keeping the lines of communication open during this time. Despite running his own successful business, he was always very generous in giving up his time to fight for others who really needed the work locally.”