Cleary Wins NUCA’s Ditchdigger of the Year Award

The National Utility Contractors Association (NUCA) awarded Darren Cleary the prestigious “Ditchdigger of the Year” Award, honoring his many years of service to the American underground utility industry and his years of support for NUCA’s membership programs. 

“Darren has been a leader of our industry in Kentucky and Tennessee,” said Doug Carlson, NUCA Chief Executive Officer. “His enthusiasm for this industry and what his company’s projects contribute to the economic growth and good health of his community cannot be understated. Darren’s hard work and entrepreneurial dedication merited this award and the recognition fitting a true champion of America’s infrastructure.”

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Darren Cleary is president of Cleary Construction, Inc., with its main offices located in Tompkinsville, Kentucky. Under Darren’s visionary leadership, Cleary Construction has consistently delivered high-quality infrastructure projects, contributing significantly to the growth and development of communities across the mid-South. His innovative approach, attention to detail, and passion for the utility construction industry have earned him the respect of colleagues, clients, and competitors alike.

Cleary has been part of the industry since 1985 when Cleary Construction was founded by his father, Ronnie Cleary.  Darren worked in the trenches for many years, gaining the practical everyday knowledge to become a successful contractor, before taking over the company after his father lost his battle with lung cancer. The company now employs over 200 employees in seven U.S. states.

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Cleary has been a founding member of two NUCA Chapters (Kentucky and Middle Tennessee), actively supporting their growth from their first meetings and continues to be an enthusiastic supporter of NUCA National’s programs. He also founded a blasting company (Rock Solutions) and today serves as president of both Cleary Construction and Rock Solutions. He is also a member of several other construction and business associations, including the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, NUCA of East Tennessee, and Kentucky Association of Highway Contractors.

Cleary’s tireless efforts on behalf of his company employees and unwavering commitment to excellence have set him apart as a true industry leader. Cleary continues to inspire others in the industry with his quiet confidence and leadership acumen, and deserves to be recognized as NUCA’s Ditchdigger of the Year.

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This national award is awarded to a NUCA contractor member who has made a significant contribution to NUCA and the underground utility construction and excavation industry. The 2023 “Ditchdigger of the Year” Award was presented to Cleary at the association’s Annual Meeting held in March of this year at the Hyatt Regency Indian Wells Resort & Spa in Palm Springs, California.

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