Jason Richards, Group Managing Director of Silcock Leedham, became paralysed from the chest down following a road traffic accident in 1996.

Since then, he has become a father, represented Great Britain at the World Triathlon and World Athletics Championships and has excelled in his career, but it has not been without its challenges.

“I spent 26 years as a non-disabled person before my spinal cord injury. I struggled with the difficulties and restrictions that came with being disabled. From the moment I wake up to closing my eyes at night, my day is a challenge. Things most people take for granted, such as getting in and out of bed, showering and driving, all require additional effort and energy from me. However, despite the immense physical demands of each day, I’m proud of what I’ve achieved so far, including being a husband and a father.”

“Being a parent with a disability can be frustrating at times. I have twins who are 15, and a four-year-old who started school this year, and I’ve tried to instil a ‘can-do’ attitude in them. My wife witnesses the frustration I deal with daily more than anyone, but I always try to share the positives and joys of my days with her to ensure there’s a balance.”

In April 2023, Jason took over as group managing director of Silcock Leedham, having initially joined the company as a Chartered Engineer before becoming director of Zero Energy Design (ZED), a sustainability consultancy that sits within the business. Jason cites the support and culture at RSK as major contributors to his rapid progression in the company.

“RSK has always encouraged me to be myself and this has enhanced my confidence in my abilities and has helped me to develop. As a result, I’ve progressed at speed since I started working at Silcock Leedham. RSK has always given me everything I need to ensure my job is done effectively, as well as making sure accommodation for events is accessible and finding routes to hard-to-access places. I’m valued as an employee for my uniqueness, and this has made my journey thus far so much more enjoyable and fulfilling. I’ve done everything from visiting sites and facilities to dancing at the ceilidh at the all-executive conference, and RSK has made it all possible.”

For a long time, Jason tried to hide how hard his days were from his family and colleagues before accepting the benefits that being open about his struggles brought. “I wanted people to view me in the same way they did when I was not disabled, but by letting them see the issues and experiences I go through, they gain a greater understanding of what I need to be at my best. Having open and frank conversations with colleagues enables the creation of an optimal environment that caters for people’s needs, celebrates our differences and allows people to shine.
“My goal within the Silcock Leedham Group is to create an environment in which everyone can thrive and achieve their potential. RSK is the most inclusive place I’ve ever worked. As a result, the company gets the best of me every day. I’m proud to be a part of the RSK family and the culture we encourage and promote we live it and don’t just pay lip service to it. It’s because of this that, long term, I want to continue to be involved in developing and promoting our culture across the group and to be an ambassador for inclusivity.”

Reflecting on the ups and downs of his life, Jason credits RSK for not imposing any limits on what he can achieve. “As an athlete with a disability, I was treated like a hero. I represented Great Britain at the World Triathlon and World Athletics Championships and felt like I was achieving greatness while overcoming adversity. When my twins arrived, I retired from athletics to be a father, and I felt like I had gone from hero to zero. I was just doing the same as everyone else, but it was infinitely harder than travelling the world racing, and I was struggling more than ever to keep going physically and emotionally. In the two years since I joined RSK, I’ve returned from zero to hero again as my career has developed, and I’ve been given the confidence to be myself and to believe in my decisions and direction of travel without any ceiling being imposed. At RSK, the sky really is the limit!”