18/10/2010

Prestigious Award Win For Shepherd Construction Project Manager

A project manager for contractor Shepherd Construction has won one of the industry’s most prestigious national awards.

Neil Matthias, from Hurworth, who is based at the company’s Darlington office, has won the Chartered Institute of Building’s Construction Manager of the Year award, beating over 120 finalists from across the UK, and scoring one of the highest marks that the judges have seen in the history of the awards.

The win was all the sweeter for Neil as he started out as a joiner on the Youth Training Scheme (YTS) with Shepherd Construction 23 years ago and has worked his way up to become project manager.

As well as winning the overall title, Neil also scooped gold in one of the sub categories, for his project management skills during the building of the £44.5 million luxury hotel, golf and spa development, Rockliffe Hall at Hurworth on Tees near Darlington.

In particular, the judges praised Neil’s planning and communication skills during a complex project which involved bringing back to life a derelict grade ll listed building, as well as constructing a new hotel link and other facilities that remained in keeping with the existing structures. The result has been a stunning new resort-style destination which has helped boost North East tourism industry.

Chairman of Rockliffe Hall, Warwick Brindle, said: "I have had the pleasure of working closely with Shepherd and Neil in particular for the past five years on the development of Rockliffe Hall. His dedication to ensuring a successful project and, at the same time, engendering positive on site atmosphere for his entire team is a very special skill that so few are able to master. His recognition is richly deserved."

The judges’ citation comments: "On this incredibly complex project, he lived, breathed and dreamed construction to deliver a stupendous outcome. The client happily admits that `˜delighted’ is an understatement.

"Neil’s people management was rock solid. He treated the entire workforce as equals in a tour-de-force example of collaboration. He showed a respect for others and a steadfastness whatever the challenges and surprises. Proud of his own work, he instilled a quality ethos throughout the team."

The CIOB awards are widely recognised as the Oscars of the industry and the judging process is extremely rigorous. It takes 30 judges six months of meticulous site visits and interviews, including the nominee, client and contractor, before the overall winner is decided upon.