Ray Ransom, founder of the R&W Group, has passed the role of its Chairman to Operations Director, Howard Hutchinson. R&W now employ over 400 highly skilled employees across a group of companies specialising in civil engineering, highway infrastructure, traffic management, rail and plant sales and service, and turning over £55m in 2017.
“I’m incredibly proud to take on my new role as Chairman of the R&W Group alongside my current operational role in R&W Civil Engineering,” said Howard. “I will continue to ensure that the R&W Group remains strong in our market position, vibrant in our approach to innovation and passionate about both safety and the service we provide our customers. Most of all I want to make sure that we maintain the strong R&W family feel that is at the heart of R&W’s success.” He went on to talk about the man handing over the mantle: “Over the last decade, Ray has been a great mentor and friend. Working closely with him has provided me with a very solid foundation on which to continue to help build the Group’s prosperity”.
Howard joined R&W in 2006 when the business employed 35 people and turned over £6.6m. He’s been an instrumental part of the team, working alongside Ray, to grow the business to where it is today. Howard started his career 30 years ago, hand mixing concrete and laying drains on construction sites whilst studying. He graduated with a Master’s Degree in Civil Engineering and progressed to become a Chartered Civil Engineer whilst working for Hochtief, an international contractor, where he worked on large infrastructure projects including the Channel Tunnel Rail Link. In 1999, Howard moved to Dyer and Butler as Contracts Manager where he managed a raft of infrastructure projects including airport maintenance at Gatwick and Stanstead, and several Highways Agency structures schemes.
Howard has always been passionate about training and developing people. He recently championed a new apprenticeship initiative with a group of other regional contractors working closely with Fareham College. Together they developed a bespoke facility known as the Civil Engineering Training Centre (CETC), to train and fast track young apprentices into the industry. This programme has proved incredibly popular, reaching talented young people who may have otherwise not considered a career in civil engineering. CETC has been recognised for being at the cutting edge of recruitment and people development when it won the 2018 Constructing Excellence Apprenticeship Initiative Award.
Ray grew the R&W business from just a £500 bank loan to buy a used JCB in 1978. With the support of his wife Jill, Ray has been the driving force behind R&W and is still an inspiration to many throughout the highways sector. His ethos and management style has always been to go the extra mile and this positive ‘can-do’ attitude is instilled across the business. Ray can still be seen jumping into a digger to help on-site when he can and this practical approach, together with his 50-years of on-site experience, has resulted in numerous innovative changes to operating practices and improvements in safety. His people-focused route to delivery has evolved over the years into what is now referred to as ‘The R&W Way’, which drives the values and behaviours to which everyone works. Last year Ray was recognised by the Civil Engineering Contractors Association (CECA) when he won the much-coveted CECA Outstanding Contribution/Lifetime Achievement Award.
Ray won’t be going far as he will continue to chair Chantacre Ltd, R&W’s parent company, and still be heavily involved in the day to day running of R&W as the Director responsible for R&W Environmental.
Ray said “It’s been my absolute privilege to be R&W’s Chairman for all these years and I’m very proud of what we’ve all built together. I know Howard will do a fantastic job and I wish him all the best as he embarks on this next stage of his career.”