Aotearoa New Zealand’s best consultants revealed at 2023 ACE Awards

New Zealand’s leading engineering and professional services consultants were celebrated at the 2023 ACE Awards Gala in Wellington on Thursday 21 September, part of ACE New Zealand’s Futurespace conference.

The awards, sponsored by Beca, are an industry calendar highlight and recognise the consulting excellence that underpins some of the country’s most impactful projects – from shared pathways that provide low-carbon transport options to restorations of culturally significant buildings and equipment repairs to ensure business continuity. 

ACE Chief Executive Helen Davidson says the event is the pinnacle of achievement for the outstanding talent that exists within the country’s professional services consulting sector, especially at a time when these consultants are operating in a very complex environment. 

“We’re living in extraordinary times. On the one hand, the government is investing in infrastructure to rebuild and revitalise the economy so there’s a lot of work in the pipeline, but on the other hand there’s also a massive skill shortage. It’s a real challenge for businesses to attract and retain the highly skilled people they need to deliver these vital projects.” 

Davidson also cites this year’s severe weather events throughout the country and the industry’s technological advances as having a significant impact on the sector. 

“There’s a drive to build back better, considering the ever-present challenge of climate change. Clients have growing expectations around social and environmental outcomes, as well as diversity and inclusion, and they are increasingly considering what a consultancy firm stands for. There are some immediate challenges as well as big picture issues to ensure an organisation can deliver for the future. 

“Layer that with advances in technology like AI that are no longer on the horizon, they’re here – and firms are having to think carefully about how to incorporate them into the business.” 

This year’s ACE Awards saw more than 20 entries evaluated and 14 awards presented across a range of categories, including Gold for exceptional consultancy service that sets a new industry standard, Silver for great consulting service that demonstrates great achievement and service to client, Merit for consulting service that exceeds expectations, and an Emerging Leader accolade.  

Other special awards included a Client award which celebrates a client who’s made a noteworthy contribution to the outcome, and a Sustainability award for consulting services with outstanding sustainability elements. 

The judging panel evaluated the submissions, conducted client interviews and toured project sites. 

Davidson adds it is important now more than ever to celebrate the sector’s triumphs. 

“If we want to attract and retain our best critical thinkers and ensure New Zealand is a world leader in designing sustainable futures for our communities, it’s vital that we celebrate and nurture our talent and everything this sector offers to Aotearoa and beyond.” 


2023 ACE Awards winners  

Gold Award winners

Northern Corridor improvements - Design services
Consultant: Jacobs and WSP in alliance with Fulton Hogan, HEB Construction and Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency
Client: Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency

Constellation Brands press building and front end automation
Consultant: Aurecon
Client: Constellation Brands New Zealand

St James Theatre and Ballet Building
Consultant: Beca
Client: Wellington City Council

Christ Church Cathedral stabilisation
Consultant: Holmes and Naylor Love
Client: Christ Church Cathedral Reinstatement

Te Mato Vai
Consultant: GHD
Client: Ministry of Finance and Economic Management, Government of the Cook Islands

Lime Kiln failure and emergency repair
Consultant: Index Engineering
Client: Oji Fibre Solutions - Kinleith Mill

Silver Award winners

Kauri Dieback mitigation in Northland's walking tracks
Consultant: Frame Group
Client: Northland Regional Council

Auckland Harbour Bridge emergency repairs
Consultant: Beca
Client: Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency

Wellington network operational readiness for Transmission Gully opening
Consultant: Aurecon
Client: Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency

Speeding up electrification - The ElectroNet transportable switchroom journey
Consultant: ElectroNet
Client: Transpower New Zealand

Merit Award winners

Te Matatiki Toi Ora The Arts Centre — Observatory Hotel
Consultant: Holmes
Client: The Arts Centre Trust

Te Ara Ki Uta Ki Tai - Section 2
Consultant: Stantec
Client: Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency and Auckland Transport

Sustainability Award winner

Frame Group, Northland Regional Council, Ministry for Primary Industries and Department of Conservation
Project: Kauri Dieback mitigation in Northland's walking tracks

Client Award winner

Constellation Brands
Project: Constellation Brands press building and front end automation
Consultant: Aurecon

Emerging Leader Award winner

Victoria Mills, Associate Environmental Engineer and Water Team Leader at Beca in Tauranga

President's Award winner

Warner Cowin, Founder and Chief Executive of Height


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