Low-key Leitrim brothers Ray and Des O'Rourke jointly own UK-headquartered global construction giant Laing O'Rourke. In a letter to the company last December, qualified pilot Ray, who now lives in Jersey, outlined how it had made a 290m loss last year — its first in 15 years — with 3bn of revenue due to problems with a big hospital contract in Canada and other projects in the UK, but emphasised plans to achieve turnover of about 4.5bn by the end of 2019. This should be helped by a reported order book of 11.5bn.
His son Cathal and Des's son Stephen now work in the business, which has worked on Dubai's biggest skyscrapers, London's Olympic venues and Heathrow's Terminal 5. Ray stepped down as CEO four years ago, but returned once again at the end of 2015. He had built up the company from humble roots in his utility room with the help of some stellar phases of growth and a merger with builder Laing.