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The rise and rise of Ray


Laing O'Rourke success in being part of the consortium that bagged the contract to deliver the 2012 Olympics is partly down to its CEO's immense desire to win.

Ray O'Rourke must be grinning from ear to ear right now. The chairman and chief executive of contractor Laing O'Rourke is now the proud possessor of the Olympic Delivery Authority's (ODA) coveted £100Mfiplus delivery partner contract as onethird of the CLM consortium.

'We are absolutely thrilled to be selected as preferred bidder for the delivery partner role,' O'Rourke told NCE this week.

'Taking this programme forward is a huge challenge but one we all relish. We want to attract the best companies and people to help us create the fi nest Games ever, and a lasting legacy for London and the UK.' The contractor claims to be the largest privately owned construction company in the UK and has a successful track record for delivering the Channel Tunnel Rail Link, Heathrow's Terminal 5, Ascot Racecourse and Cardiff's Millennium Stadium.

Last month's announcement only served to win even more admiration for the Irishfiborn 59 year old who founded R O'Rourke and Son in 1977.

The company's first job was in London, building the Foundation House offices in London for £2,300. O'Rourke grew steadily until 2001 when he famously bought Laing Construction for £1.

Back then O'Rourke was a £200M Essexfibased company with 2,500 staff, but it managed to beat French contractor Bouygues fi worth £10bn fi and its 111,000 staff to the deal (NCE 5 April 2001).

At the time, construction sources told NCE that O'Rourke was successful purely because of his immense desire to win.

Something that could be said for the recent Olympic announcement fi O'Rourke was one of the sponsors of the London 2012 Olympic bid.

O'Rourke ranks 155th in The Sunday Times rich list for Britain and 15th in the Republic of Ireland. Laing O'Rourke has 23,700 employees and a turnover of £2.12bn.

'He's one of the few people in construction who is a good businessman and also has a deep understanding of how to build things on site. Added to this is his passion for how to do things better,' says Atkins chief executive Keith Clarke.

'He's entrepreneurial and driven by the business of construction fi starting at site level, not from the spreadsheet.' O'Rourke is also equally popular among clients. 'Everything is a possibility with Ray,' says T5 BAA projects director Andrew Wolstenholme who nominated O'Rourke as a modernfiday Brunel earlier this year (NCE 6 April).

'You want him on a project for his spirit and sense of optimism. He's a man who always finds solutions and is pioneering with it.

'As a client, all we can do is say what we want and state where we want to be without knowing how to get there. Ray gives us the solution and tells us what the future will be'.

No wonder the ODA wanted Ray on their side.

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