Ian Cook , EC Harris
The QS Champion of the Year award goes to an outstanding professional. Many people overcome personal setbacks to achieve their career goals, but few have had to cope with more than Ian Cook, a lead project manager at EC Harris.

In January 2004, Ian, then 38 and a senior project manager, contracted streptococcal septicaemia, lapsed into a coma and nearly died. Over the next nine months he had no fewer than 20 operations including the amputation of all his limbs. Despite this, he returned to work – on a home-working basis – in June 2005, having first project-managed the conversion of his Cotswolds home.

Ian vowed to “stun the critics who said I would not be able to do this” and “not to wear my disability as a badge”, and he has done just that. Even though his mobility is restricted and prevents him from travelling as extensively as he used to as a project manager, he can walk unaided and has passed his driving test in an adapted car. His in-depth knowledge and experience are as valuable to his employer as ever, and his story is truly inspiring.

Vanessa Littler, EC Harris
Back in 2005, Vanessa Littler, an infrastructure manager at EC Harris’ Liverpool office, raised £320 from her colleagues to take to two Romanian orphanages, where the money was spent on basic necessities such as clothes, as well as a baby scanner for the local hospital. Vanessa has since made further trips and worked closely with a charity that is building apartments for one of the orphanages. Vanessa’s philanthropic efforts are an outstanding example of how the UK’s construction expertise can support vulnerable communities the world.

Leslie Dep, Ove Arup & Partners
Leslie Dep is a founder member of Sri Lankan charity Hela Sarana (meaning helping Sri Lanka), which supports very poor people in rural villages. After the tsunami in December 2004, the charity initiated the construction of 100 houses in the southern province of the country. Leslie, a senior quantity surveyor who has managed many housing and community projects in the UK, provided project management and cost control, as well as encouraging locals to take part in the building of their houses, thus passing on his knowledge to those in need.

Peter Dennis Dawson
Self-employed quantity surveyor Peter Dennis Dawson is currently in his 59th year of practise. Over that career, he has helped rebuild his company’s offices around England after the Second World War, worked as the first ever quantity surveyor in Greece in the sixties and undertaken various quantity surveying projects around the world. After his emigration to Australia in 1973, Peter established his own company in Brisbane and has ever since been leading it successfully.

Bob Richardson Rider, Levett Bucknall
Bob Richardson of Rider Levett Bucknall has made an exceptional contribution to the delivery of all of the Olympic Games since Atlanta in 1996 and was involved in nearly every aspect of the cost control of the construction, fit-out and overlay of Sydney 2000 – considered by many to be the best organised Games ever. It is hardly surprising that his services have also been sought in Beijing and London. Bob’s involvement in these projects has given him a unique insight into the successful delivery of major sporting events and associated regeneration works. His tireless and enthusiastic commitment to the projects has been remarkable.

Cobalt Recruitment
Sponsored by Cobalt Recruitment


Cobalt is a leading recruitment provider to the real estate industry. Our dedicated technical team specialise in sourcing professionals with qualified technical skills on behalf of our clients, throughout the UK, Europe and internationally. With expert knowledge of the Construction industry, our experienced consultants are able to recruit at all professional levels, adding value to organisations from Surveyor to Board level positions. We are able to offer a wide range of opportunities to our candidates due to a diversified client base which comprises construction consultancies, developers, property companies, corporate occupiers, investment houses, local authorities and charities.

Cobalt is proud to sponsor the QS Champion of the Year Award as it recognises those who are outstanding ambassadors for the construction industry and ultimately who have made a positive contribution to the community.

The shortlisted entries for this category are;

  • EC Harris - Ian Cook
  • EC Harris - Vanessa Littler
  • Ove Arup & Partners Ltd - Leslie Dep
  • Peter Dennis Dawson - Peter Dennis Dawson
  • Rider Levett Bucknall - Bob Richardson