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2019 BLAKE Medallist, Sir Ron Carter '48 ONZ KNZM

Each year, the Sir Peter Blake Trust awards a New Zealander with the BLAKE Medal, an award that recognises and celebrates those whose leadership has helped create a more sustainable future for the country and/or globally. The criteria for the award requires the individual to:

  • Demonstrate outstanding leadership at the highest levels of their field
  • Create an impact and help lead a sustainable future for NZ and/or globally
  • Ability to clearly communicate a vision and inspire others
  • Display some or all of the characteristics that Sir Peter Blake himself demonstrated, including belief in achieving extraordinary things, the initiative to pursue an idea, a desire for constant improvement, trusting and empowering teammates, and integrity

The 2019 BLAKE Medallist is Old Boy Sir Ron Carter '48 ONZ KNZM.

Growing up in Auckland, Sir Ron's father was an aircraft mechanic who fought in World War I and sadly died when Sir Ron was a teenager. He says his parents instilled in him good values. "You were expected to do your part."

This sense of service has remained with him throughout his life, including his five years at Auckland Grammar, to which he is still part of the advisory panel. Despite being in A stream classes each year, he never 'crossed stage' to receive a class or subject prize, but his masters said he was "keen, intelligent, hard-working and industrious."

Sir Ron completed his engineering degree and post-graduate study at the University of Auckland, one of two great decisions he has made in his life - the second one was marry his wife Lewell, Lady Carter. "I have been lucky enough to have such a rewarding career."

That career included the founding of the firm Beca, Carter, Hollings and Ferner, eventually becoming what is known today as Beca Group Ltd. The company has over 3,400 staff worldwide and was the driving force behind such projects as the Sky Tower.

Sir Ron became a partner of the company in 1965 at just 30 years old and held both the CEO position from 1986 to 1996 and the Chairman's role from 1986 until his retirement in 2001.

Sir Ron says his choice to become an engineer meant he spent his career surrounded by smart, logical people whose work necessitated collaboration.

"I have been lucky as an engineer. There are very few engineering projects that are carried out by an individual. You work with a wide range of expertise to make a project happen. A lot of the voluntary positions that came my way made good use of those collaborative skills I learnt at work."

Sir Ron's extraordinary contribution was celebrated in 2014 when he joined the ranks of the Order of New Zealand, where only 20 living New Zealanders are members in the Order at any given time. "Mine has been an interesting life."

Click here to read the full story of Sir Ron's achievement.