Ray O’Rourke, comments about a CEO


Born in Co. Leitrim, Ireland in 1947. In 1977 he founded R O’Rourke & Son. He is known to be one of construction’s greatest leaders. Let’s see what people’s experiences were..

CEO of Laing O'Rourke
Credit: independent.ie
by Andrew CurtinMarch 20, 2023

A couple of weeks ago, we wrote a LinkedIn post about Ray O’Rourke.

He is the CEO and founder of Laing O’Rourke. We posted about his rise from humble beginnings to building a construction empire.

The post went viral

A leader’s job is not to do the technical work. A leader’s job is to lead, set the standards, and build an environment where teams can execute successfully. 

While watching the likes and comments come in. I got an insider’s view of the leadership qualities he possesses. As lots of entrepreneurial people read Construction Wave, I thought it would be rude not to share.

Here are some of the most insightful comments we received on our post:

“I worked at LOR and I remember getting into Dartford HQ at 7am. I went to there amazing restaurant for a coffee and some toast were I sat on my own, a voice said may I join you, I said of course. I look up and it was Ray, a true inspiration and leader.” – Mark Dormer, CEO at 3nvision.

“A genuine gentleman of the industry. His first thought is for the people working for him and that goes to as far down the ladder as it can. When he visited the site I was running for LOR, after a brief chat getting to know me the first place we went to were the welfare facilities.  His view was they should be kept to the same standards I’d have my own house… thankfully he found them acceptable!  He sets the standards and puts his own money forward to keep them that way. You can’t ask anymore of him than that. Unfortunately, not everyone working for him had the same moral integrity.” Bill Flannigan, Contracts Manager at Galliford Try.

“Ray is, without doubt, a real industry leader, but let’s not neglect the role his brother Dessie has played in the LO’R story, nobody has ever linked the boys and girls on the shop floor with the Company Board room better than him.  I’ve had many a call off an adgitated Client PM saying “a guy called Dessie had turned up unannounced at site & should they agree to him entering”, announced or not my answer was always “Yes” for his contribution was always well worth it. He knew construction, he knew ‘his’ team, he knew his company, he listened to his clients … priceless. Ray & Des, true giants of the Construction Industry.” – Steve Livingstone, Independent Advisor at Executive Project Execution

“A true legend and an extremely humble leader. I had the privilege to meet Ray few times when I was working in Abu Dhabi and also in Sydney with LOR. Every minute spent with him has always been inspirational.” – Ish Ahuja, National Director – Project Planning & Controls at Arch Artifex.


There you go, folks. Real-life insights into one construction’s greatest leaders.

I hope this adds value to all you aspiring leaders.

Get industry news in 5 minutes!

A daily email that makes industry news enjoyable. It’s completely free.