Meet The Judges

West Midlands Awards Judges


Andrew Carpenter

CEO CE Midlands

Andrew joined the UK construction industry in 1977 with the manufacturing giant CRH, which in the UK now includes Forticrete Ltd and Ibstock Brick, and held a series of sales and business development roles in his early years.

It was the ground breaking Rethinking Construction Report of 1998 that was to change Andrew’s career path as he became involved in change management and best practice, first within CRH and then later as a Board Member and Director of Constructing Excellence. During this time he was the inaugural chairman of the national ‘Best Practice’ Club network and the public face of Constructing Excellence being responsible for marketing, events, communications and membership.

From 2008 – 2010 he worked as a consultant in ‘lean’ measures, which included Andrew helping to set up and then become one of the first fifteen students of the CWA (Collaborative Working Academy).

Andrew was delighted to be asked to become Chief Executive of the Structural Timber Association (then the UKTFA) in January 2011. Andrew is now helping to spearhead the drive for Sustainable Construction by the use of more structural timber in building with a ‘Fabric First’ approach.

Andrew was appointed Director of Constructing Excellence South West in September 2013. 

In 2011 Andrew was rewarded for his services to best practice within the UK construction industry by being awarded the ‘Achiever Award’ in the 2011 CIOB/CESW South West Built Environment Awards.


Andy Hands

Commercial Director, Morgan Sindall Construction

Andy leads the commercial strategy across the central region in Morgan Sindall Construction.

This includes the Midlands, Wales and Thames Valley corridor – a region that delivers approximately £200 million of diverse construction projects that create places where people live, learn and work, play, care and create.

With 25 years’ experience in our industry, six of which have been with Morgan Sindall Construction, Andy has been involved in the delivery of some exciting projects.

This includes the major renovation of the Grade I listed Birmingham Town Hall, setting it as a top venue for concerts and popular assemblies.

The refurbishment and vertical extension of 55 Colmore Row was another highlight, and one that delivered state-of-the-art Grade A commercial space for businesses to thrive and grow.

Most recently, Andy was part of the team that designed and constructed the University of Birmingham’s award winning Collaborative Teaching Laboratory – an innovative three storey mixture of world-class laboratories that are inspiring the next generation of researchers.


Catherine Windbank

Business Development Manager

I currently work for Richard Jackson Engineering Consultants, who have five offices throughout the UK, offering Pre -Planning, Geotechnical Engineering, Structural and Civil Engineering across all sectors.

As Business Development Manager for Richard Jackson Engineering Consultants, Cath’s role covers the whole of the South West, Midlands and Wales. Before her current role in a Civil & Structural Engineering consultancy, Cath has spent over 20 years’ working for a variety of contractors and consultants throughout the UK. covering the civils’, building and various other markets.

She is highly experienced in bid management, bid writing, marketing and business development. Cath promotes, develops and implements marketing and business development processes and practices and is involved with re-branding and social media activities.

Catherine is a past chair of the National Federation of Builders for the Midlands and being on the committee of Women in Property for the Midlands, she is the current Chair of ForCE Coventry and Warwickshire and is a strong advocate of supporting SME companies’. Her passion is encouraging collaboration, building and maintaining relationships and helping others in the industry.


Darren Eaton

Area Commercial Director, Morgan Sindall Construction

Over the past 20 years, Darren has held senior commercial management posts within the construction sector and has been responsible for a strong team and performance ethic across national construction businesses.

In various non-executive director roles, this experience and procurement insight has also supported specialist SME’s to understand the processes large contracting organisations adopt and enabled them to successfully further develop their businesses.

Throughout his career, Darren has always considered that people are any company’s most important asset and was responsible for Academy initiatives within the businesses he has worked at and continues to see training and development of staff as an important part of the role of all company directors.

Pursuing this interest in people and team development; he has recently completed an MSc in Management Psychology at the University of Nottingham.

In Darren’s current role as Commercial Director for Morgan Sindall in addition he has responsibility for financial and legal performance of a £ 100 million business unit. He is also has responsibility for part of their graduate programme and supporting their strategic relationship agreement with Nottingham Trent University and CITB research initiatives.



Director at Interclass Plc

With over 25 years in the construction industry, Des has a strong track record of developing management teams and leading all facets of a business to maximise company growth, profitability and efficiency.

Des is experienced in managing and delivering construction projects up to £40m across the Midlands, South West, South East and London.

As an experienced Director, he possesses excellent sustainable and profitable relationships with clients, consultants and supply chain partners across a wide range of sectors, having managed teams of up to 250 direct employees and over 2000 subcontract personnel for several regional and national construction organisations.

Owning to his vast experience gained in construction delivery Des is a Director of Interclass Plc and a Constructing Excellence Midlands Board Member with a keen interest in people development and innovative practices in construction.


Georgia Williams

Internal Communications Manager, Eiffage Kier

I am the Internal Communications Manager at Eiffage Kier, a Joint Venture delivering civil engineering works for HS2, and chair of the newly formed Generation for Change West Midlands. I have been in my role for two years and joined the construction industry through a non-traditional route, having studied BA Broadcast Journalism before obtaining a master’s in Film, Photography and Media from the University of Leeds.

I began my career at Eiffage Kier through a two-week work placement with the charity Women into Construction, before joining the business as a communications coordinator. Ever since joining the industry, which was completely unplanned, I have been passionate about improving its image and attracting a wider, more diverse pool of talent. My role involves liaising with a number of stakeholders, ensuring that messaging is consistent throughout the business and identifying the best platforms for communicating to different audiences.

Working on HS2 has given me an insight into the construction and civil engineering industry at many levels, and I am constantly challenging long standing practices in search of more efficient and inclusive modes of delivery. I hope to use G4C as a vehicle to challenge the “way things have always been done” and tackle the skills gap head-on to create a more diverse and digitally savvy construction sector in the West Midlands and the Black Country, where I was born and raised.


Glen Irwin

Technical Director at Hydrock

Glen’s background is in building services consultancy having previously been a design engineer for 17 years. He is a chartered member of CIBSE and has specialised in sustainability, leading consultancy based-teams.

More recently, Glen has combined both disciplines as MEP & Sustainability Manager working with main contractor/developers and he has recently taken up a new role with engineering consultancy, Hydrock as Technical Director to lead a post construction service.

Glen has broad experience of many elements of building design, construction and operation. In particular he has been extensively involved in design development relating to sustainable buildings and their practical delivery.

He also has extensive experience across all sectors of the industry, and has worked in a number of countries worldwide. Remaining ‘hands-on’, Glen’s particular passion is Post Occupancy Evaluation and investigations into optimum performance of operational buildings.


Keith Blizzard 

Partner (Non-Solicitor), Harrison Clark Rickerbys


Keith is a Chartered Quantity Surveyor, Chartered Construction Manager, Chartered Arbitrator, Panel Adjudicator, Commercial Mediator, Accredited Dispute Board Member, Forensic Surveyor and Visiting Lecturer.

He is a non-solicitor Partner in the Construction & Engineering Team working with other Quantity Surveyor and Solicitor colleagues to provide a complete one stop shop of integrated services in a combined team of experienced construction professionals and specialist construction lawyers advising a wide range of Public and Private Sector Clients and Contractors to manage construction risks and to avoid or resolve both contract and non-contract construction issues.

Amongst other appointments, Keith is a Director and Company Secretary of CE Midlands.


Kevin Harris

Director of Operations, Bamboo Technology Group Ltd

Kevin has worked at a senior level in the construction industry for the best part of twenty years. Along the way he has become Chairman for Constructing Excellence Gloucestershire, Board Member for Constructing Excellence South West and Chairman for the CESW Leadership Council.

Having worked with numerous clients and design teams from concept design through to project completion, he brings a unique perspective and understanding to projects.

His varied roles have given him a wide range of skills which are proving invaluable for his work in the sector.


Mark Wakeford

Joint Managing Director of Stepnell Ltd

With over 25 years' experience in the industry and a Chartered Civil Engineer, Mark brings a technical construction background to the forefront of Stepnell's projects, and a clear understanding of risk management.
Mark continues to be involved in a number of advisory committees looking at the industry's direction, and is passionate about bringing young people into construction


Michael Hiscock

Partner at Wright Hassall


Described by the engineering director of a major national retailer as “always being focused on customer requirements”, Michael has 20 years’ experience of supporting the construction industry with the contractual legal aspects of a wide range of projects across health and social care, education, sport and leisure, manufacturing and public sectors.

Michael remains focussed on getting the deal done in a pragmatic, efficient and solution orientated way, so that problems are resolved and progress is made. Whether you are a small business or a major national operator, clients like Michael’s consistency and personal approach. Michael is the chair of the Constructing Excellence Midlands Procurement and Productivity Theme Group.


Natalie Cropp

Sustainability Director for Tony Gee and Partners

Natalie is Sustainability Director for Tony Gee and Partners and is Chair of the ACE Sustainability Interest Group.  

Natalie has an Civil Engineering at Surrey University and an Engineering Doctorate in Environmental Sciences.  

Natalie is an experienced chartered civil engineer and has worked on a range of UK infrastructure projects.  As part of her current role, she holds the position of Sustainability Manager for the Midland Metro Alliance, developing tram links across the West Midlands.


Dr Nicola Thompson

MCQI CQP, PhD, MPhil, BA (Hons)

Nicola is a Member of the Chartered Quality Institute and is a Chartered Quality Professional. She also has a doctorate in Lean Construction.

Nicola has over 25 years’ experience in developing business processes, rationalising and streamlining working practices, developing and delivering change management programmes and configuring and developing products to help drive improvement.

Prior to joining Pick Everard, Nicola was employed by a major UK contractor working on a number of high profile projects including Joint Ventures and acquisitions. This provided Nicola with the opportunity to apply her client facing and strategic skills in a range of sectors.


Nicola is also Construction Excellence (Midlands) Board member, and Chairs CE East Midlands Regional Club.


Noel Street

Director of 3DReid Architects

Noel is a Chartered Architect with over 30 years of experience in the Construction industry working with both Public and Private clients across multiple sectors of the industry.
A familiar presence within the Midlands property industry,Noel chairs both the Sustainability & Innovation Forum for Constructing Excellence Midlands and the Construction focus group for Innovation Alliance West Midlands. He formerly chaired the Construction Industry Council - West Midlands and Birmingham Best Practice Club - Constructing Excellence.
Noel is a Director of 3DReid Architects, in the Birmingham office of this national award winning architectural practice, where hebrings an international mind-set providing an in-depth knowledge of complex developments operating in a highly regulated and commercially fluid environment to deliver whole life carbon and circular economic future solutions rooted in creative, practical and economically efficient thinking


Paul Meadows


With over 30 years' experience in the industry, Paul takes responsibility for strategic projects that Salus undertakes and for the specific regulatory roles that the company performs - to ensure that all professional and non-technical staff deliver a first-class building control service.  

He is one of a selected panel of building control professionals chosen by the Construction Industry Council to assess the competencies of Approved Inspectors as they apply and reapply for inclusion on the Approved Inspectors Register on behalf of the Department for Communities.

Paul maintains a personal, contactable relationship with any client who uses the services provided by Salus, negotiating complex issues with architects, developers and fellow Fire Engineers relative to meeting the building regulations.


Richard Whittaker

Director of Development, Citizen Housing

Richard is currently Director of Development for Citizen and responsible for delivering 500 high quality new homes per year  as well as introducing Modular construction and BIM modelling.

Richard is also a board member of Constructing Excellence Midlands and chairs their Construction Clients Group.


Steve Green

Head of Knowledge Sharing at Bouygues UK

Steve Green is the Head of Knowledge Sharing at Bouygues UK, who utilises knowledge from both within and outside of the business to drive collaboration, innovation and productivity across the group.

Before taking on the role of Knowledge Manager, Steve’s career started in Quantity Surveying, then moved into Design Management, before broadening into Strategic Procurement and Business Improvement. For the past 3 years Steve’s focus has been on improving the “as built” quality both in Bouygues UK and across the UK Construction industry generally.

Steve is Chair of the CE Midlands Quality Theme Group and committee member for the Hereford & Worcester CE Club. Steve also sits on the Construction SIG (Consig) of the CQI and the Technology and Error Metric working Groups for GIRI


Uma Shanker

Project Director at High Speed Two (HS2)

COO, Project / Programme Director and Chartered Engineer with over 20 years experience in large and complex Client and Supplier organisations in both public and private sectors.

Extensive track record leading the planning, development and implementation of major infrastructure and business transformation. 



Transformation Director at Telent Technology Services

Zara, a civil engineer by profession, has had a varied construction career with the opportunity to experience service delivery from many different perspectives.

For the past twenty years her focus has been on championing the need for continuous improvement and innovation to drive productivity and quality improvements across all aspects of construction.

Over the last few years she has been focused on delivering organisational efficiency through the adoption of technology.


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