Our Judges

We have developed our judging over 18 years and our judges, all top business people within their chosen arena, have cited our awards as both the most transparent and professionally executed. Each application is scored by up to 4 different judges from a panel of up to 30 judges, all applications are seen by different members of the judging panel. The judges spend several hours and score not only their own sponsored category but several others too, this ensures transparency. The first page of questions is designed to give the judges a real feel for your business, followed by several questions that are scored from 1 to 5. It is worth noting that although all judging is computer based please ensure you upload images or screen shots of all important pages. There are no site visits or presentations involved. The finalists are chosen by adding all the scores and up to 16 entrants can make it through to the final, however if scoring is low, less entrants make it through. Should you wish to read our Top Tips, please click HERE

Ian Cording


Ian is a seasoned veteran in Business Awards judging with more than two decades of viewing applications UK wide and credits his ‘colourful life’ and no nonsense, pragmatic approach, to business and life in general as adequate credentials to be on this panel. Despite a very busy and full life in so called ‘semi-retirement’ he remains active in business and is receptive to new opportunities.

Out of school rather earlier than some he bizarrely started his adult life as a butcher’s apprentice. Thereafter a period of ten years in the public service in various departments allowed him to catch up on his education and then make the leap into the world of business by starting a Planning & Architectural Consultancy Practice which he ran for 33 years.

A keen UK  ‘crowd fund’ investor Ian has recently diversified and invested in a Ukraine based company which has 3 divisions including bioresonance device sales/distribution, a cutting edge pan-European web-based app allowing seamless interaction between businesses and businesses with their client/customer base; the third division acts in the global market of cryptocurrencies .

He continues to manage a modest property portfolio ‘in trust’ for the family. Family is very big on Ian’s agenda, he loves to travel widely and seamlessly mixes business and pleasure because … ‘he can’

John Carrig

Managing Director | Cardon Property & Construction

John is the Managing Director of the multi-award-winning, Cardon Property & Construction and the founder of the Cardon Group. With over 30 years experience within the construction industry, John has been involved with some diverse and exciting projects in the UK.

Hydrogen fuel has been a massive part of John’s journey including working on England’s first-ever Hydrogen Refuelling Facility in Perivale.

In 2021 Cardon Property & Construction took home the Gold Winner in the Green/Sustainability Award as well as the prestigious Gold Winner in the Contractor of the Year (contract value £1m to £5m), helping reinforce Cardon’s excellence within the construction industry.

John and his team are committed to Net Zero and bringing in new low carbon initiatives to construction, delivering places that change lives.

Alex Caruso

Managing Director & Principal Architect | ACA

Alex Caruso, is an architect and co-founder of ACA, an architectural and interior design practice specialising in Health and Social Care. He is also a Director of the Design in Mental Health Network where he leads the International Workstream with the aim to instigate discussions and capture best practice from around the globe. He regularly speaks and chairs sessions at the European Healthcare Design Congress and the Design in Mental Health Network Conference.

Alex believes that a true total design can be achieved if influenced by our emotions and our relationships. Our environments are possibly the most important form of energy capable of influencing our daily living in subtle ways without making us feel as if we are receiving a treatment.

As gold winner of the National Building and Construction Awards in 2021, Alex is honoured to be joining the distinguished judging panel this year.

Cathal McMullan

Managing Director | Kane Group

Kane has a strong heritage in designing, developing, and delivering building-service solutions throughout the UK and Ireland. Kane are an established multi-disciplinary building-services contractor, employing 250 people, with offices in Northern Ireland, London, Glasgow, and the Republic of Ireland.

With innovation, efficiency, and sustainability at the heart of their processes, they work hand in hand with clients to deliver residential, hospitality, education, commercial, and healthcare projects.

Alice Poole

Principal Architect  | Alice Poole Architects

Alice Poole studied at the prestigious Bartlett School of Architecture at UCL and founded her award winning practice, Alice Poole Architects, in 1984 and has carried out over 700 projects. The majority of the practice’s projects are residential with an emphasis on historic and listed buildings in conservation areas within the London/M25 area although projects have been carried out in all parts of the British Isles as well as Holland, France and Italy. Alice Poole believes in the principles of The Arts and Crafts Movement and The Bauhaus where Architecture and Interior Design are combined to achieve a unified scheme with great attention to detail, using the interplay of light, shapes, colours and textures to create exciting and stimulating environments. Previously a gold winner of National Building and Construction Awards, Alice is thrilled to be joining the judging panel this year.

Adam Alexander

Director of Energy and Sustainability | Paragon Building Consultancy

Adam is the director of the Energy and Sustainability team of the award winning Paragon Building Consultancy Limited. With over 25 years’ experience within the construction industry, Adam has built a wealth of knowledge around energy efficiency and sustainable design.

Adam has a MSc in Building Services and Environment, is a Chartered Engineer and a Member of the Chartered Institute of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE) and a Low Carbon Consultant (LCC).  Adam’s venture into the construction industry started with the design of heating and ventilation systems leading to wrestling with the complex nuances of the ever-changing Building Regulations for Part L and Sustainability.

Beyond general legislation matters Adam also advises and guides on Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) compliance for his clients across domestic and non-domestic sectors.  Including establishing the pathways to Net Zero Carbon for 2025 and beyond.

Adam provides CIBSE approved CPD’s on the above topics tackling the  challenges faced by the construction and refurbishment industry in relation to climate change.

When Adam isn’t trying to help reduce everyone’s carbon footprint, he is normally found out in a field cross country running somewhere keeping his own climate impact as low as possible.

James Maguire

Director | Crannull

James was brought up within the construction industry and prior to graduating from university, James spent many summers working on site with Byrne Bros, giving him a great understanding of how this sector operated.

With a Degree in Business Studies, James was originally going to pursue a career in accountancy, however, taking a temporary sales job highlighted a natural ability in corporate sales, which later turned into a permanent role.

James spent many years in the Corporate Finance Market where he realised that the more sales opportunities you have, the more you can pick and choose which ones to focus your time on. James progressed up the Corporate ladder, leading sales teams with the philosophy being built into his teams of having more choice!

After 15 successful years in this arena, James set up Crannull with his Business Partner Tom Fitzgerald, to provide companies within the construction sector and whole built environment more sales opportunities and more choice. 11 years on and servicing over 70 different clients weekly, Crannull are still providing new sales opportunities to their clients, with many having secured several £m’s worth of business through their efforts.

Paul Whitnell

President | British and Irish Trading Alliance Ltd

Paul Whitnell has a background the varied arenas of politics, business and the music industry, and is well placed to spot trends and needs in the current diverse and rapidly changing economic environment. After arriving in the UK looking for work in 2008 during the economic crash, Paul realised that there was a need for a different kind of networking group to fill the gap. He founded BITA in response to this need, creating a friendly, relaxed networking community that is focused on creating business opportunities for UK and Irish businesses and offering advice. A pre-requisite of membership is that connections and knowledge are shared, so all have the opportunity to forge successful and profitable networking relationships.

In 2018 Paul signed an agreement with similar networking organisations in Scotland and America – Causeway and IN USA. “We enjoy working with businesses in the UK and Ireland but recognise we need to expand our gaze and look to further afield. Not only are there incredible opportunities for UK and Irish companies looking to trade with America, but there are also great markets here for American businesses looking to expand. We are looking forward to working with Causeway and IN USA and offering their members what we offer our BITA members – advice, opportunity, and a guiding hand if needed. With these new friendships we will be extending our brand and offering more.”

BITA is a not-for-profit membership organisation that adheres to their motto of being the ‘People who Know People that Help People’. Aside from business and events, they value their communities and look for chances to give something back, supporting various charities through fundraising and promotion.

Sarah Ainslie

Owner | Network Engineering Services

Sarah has been a passionate supporter of small business and enterprise matters for over 20 years. As a former North East Policy Manager, her professional career has included representing the interests of SMEs at regional and national level, managing SME policy campaigns and successfully building key partnerships with political decision makers, business and community stakeholders. She previously founded a public affairs consultancy company, setting a new agenda within the industry as a social enterprise to help organisations better understand the impacts of complex political and policy environments. Most recently Sarah has been responsible for managing an extensive portfolio of leadership and workforce development training, creating bespoke skills solutions for public, private and voluntary sector organisations. She holds a Master of Arts in Regional Development, formerly co-founded a women’s business network, is an active member of the business community and Trustee of Epilepsy Outlook.

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