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Global construction consultancy innovator honoured by Northumbria University

30th November 2022

Chair of the International Centre for Connected Construction and former Chief Operating Officer of Turner & Townsend, Tom Harrison, has been awarded an honorary degree of Doctor of Science from Northumbria University, Newcastle.

The award recognises the global revolution Tom led in his sector which enabled the construction industry to recognise the value of independent project management and systems integration within construction. 

A Northumbria alumnus, Tom graduated with a degree in Surveying in 1977 and later in Project Management. He went on to work at Turner & Townsend, Global Construction Consultants for over 40 years, latterly as Chief Operating Officer.

Highly respected across construction and management consultancy, not only in the region but also internationally, Tom was one of the driving forces behind Turner & Townsend’s growth into a global business, which now operates in 110 offices across 45 countries. 

In 2003, Tom was instrumental in the organisation receiving the Queen’s Award for Enterprise in International Trade. This award recognised three years of sustained expansion for the international division of the group, which under Tom’s leadership had seen it open offices in Germany, Singapore, Australia, the US, China and Zambia, doubling its annual turnover to £70m. 

The Queen's Award for Enterprise was the second award won by the company that year, having been presented with the Project Manager of the Year Award in the same year's Building Awards. Under Tom’s direction as COO, Turner & Townsend went on to be awarded the Queens Award in 2009 and again in 2014.  

A keen Northumbria ambassador, Tom has maintained strong links with the institution since graduating, serving two terms of office as a University governor contributing to the Strategic Performance, Future Business Group and Employment and Finance Committees. 

In 2020 he became Chair of International Centre for Connected Construction (IC3) - a centre of excellence driven by a vibrant cluster of innovative North East organisations to create positive transformation in the global construction sector. 

An active member of Northumbria’s alumni community, Tom has delivered guest lectures on project management, leadership and business acumen.

Speaking about his honorary degree from Northumbria, which was presented during winter graduation ceremonies held at the University’s Newcastle City Campus, Tom said: "Naturally, it is a great privilege to be recognised with this degree by the University - and even better to have been given it without having to write another dissertation!"

In addition to serving as Chair of IC3, Tom provides strategic advice to businesses in the private and voluntary sectors both in the UK and overseas. He also continues to be active and is trustee of the Venerable English College Trust in Rome.

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