A father-of-four from Solihull is set to achieve his dream of travelling to the other side of the world as he retires from a house builder after nearly four decades of service.
Bovis Homes PA Manjit Chaggar with Chris O'Connor, regional technical director
Chris O’Connor, regional technical director at Bovis Homes, plans to visit Australia and New Zealand for the first time with his wife Maureen after 36 years with the company.
The chartered engineer, who was based at Bovis Homes' Milton Keynes office, said he would miss working for an employer that put people first.
The 63-year-old, who started as a structural engineer focused on building and bridge designs, before moving on to road and drainage layouts as a civil engineer, was presented with gifts at a surprise presentation where his family were special guests.
He said: “I’ve relished working for a renowned company since 1982 and tackling the many challenges faced by the housing industry.
“Bovis Homes really appealed to me because of the way it treats its staff and the way the company is always looking to improve and serve its customers.
“Progressing to the position I’ve reached today is a source of great pride. I feel that I’ve been able to play a part in the company’s development and growth, and I’ve always felt I could influence the department for the better and provide guidance where needed.
“Those that have just joined Bovis Homes or are progressing through the company should always keep an open mind and believe in themselves, this is a great company to work for.”
Chris, who was born in Birmingham, has four daughters aged from 20 to 26. Marketeer Katrina worked in Bovis Homes’ commercial department for 12 months when she left university.
Chris said being involved recently in a major construction project in Apsley, Hertfordshire, was a high point of his career.
The Brian Ayling bridge, which spans the West Coast Main Line on Featherbed Lane, was recently awarded the Exceptional Merit for Physical Achievement by the Institution of Civil Engineers.
Michael Stirrop, managing director of Bovis Homes’ Northern Home Counties region, said Chris would be sorely missed.
He said: “Chris is an outstanding member of our technical team and will be hugely missed. His wisdom and advice will be irreplaceable.
“To work for the same company for 36 years is a huge feat and we’d all like to thank him for his hard work and dedication over such a long period.”
The keen traveller will visit Chicago next month with Maureen, before the pair start on plans to visit Australia and New Zealand, which Chris said had always been at the “back of our minds”.