LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT IN CONSTRUCTION
have previously shied away from pursuing individual Whilst studying science and maths A levels I was inspired to enter the civil engineering profession through the promotion of Women in Science and Engineering in the late 1980s. It was still a rare job for a woman but I have found it to be a rewarding career that can make a real difference to people’s lives and truly benefit humankind. I have seen how challenging it can be for women in engineering but also how much the industry needs skilled and motivated engineers to meet the infrastructure challenges of the future. I am a passionate civil engineer and after graduating with a first class honours degree I specialised in the delivery of complex nationally significant infrastructure projects, including the London2012 Olympics, High Speed 1, Jubilee Line Extension and Transylvanian Motorway. My work on such projects earned me a place on the ‘Top 50 Women of Influence in Engineering’ list published by the Women’s Engineering Society in 2016.
“I have seen how challenging it can be for women in engineering but also how much the industry needs skilled and motivated engineers to meet the infrastructure challenges of the future.” My favourite and most notable role was as Infrastructure Director for the Delivery Partner to the Olympic Delivery Authority for the design and construction of the London 2012 Olympic Park where, for 6years, I managed the successful delivery of £2billion worth of critical infrastructure; including 2million cubic metres of earthworks, 300km of utilities; 15km of roads and bridges as well as the beautiful park landscaping, all of which facilitated an amazing Games as well as regenerating a contaminated and derelict part of East London. Always up for a challenge, having handed over the Olympic park in 2012 two weeks later I gave birth to twin girls!
Life’s changes and challenges often shape the direction of one’s career and after the death of my partner in 2015, leaving me to bring up our young daughters alone, I began building a non-executive director portfolio combined with my voluntary activity, which includes FTSE250 board roles as well as public sector positions in the housing sector. I am a board member of both the Ebbsfleet Development Corporation, creating a new garden city, and the North West Cambridge Development where a new academic community is emerging. I also sit on 3 FTSE250 boards; Sirius Minerals which is building the first mine in the UK for 40years to exploit the world’s largest and highest grade Polyhalite (fertiliser) deposit located in Yorkshire, creating thousands of job and boosting the economy; and Crest Nicholson, the house builder, where I utilise my mix of technical/commercial/innovation skills to help create new efficient construction methods. This has seen us complete test houses built in Off Site Manufactured steel frames and launch new optimised house types in 2018. I am also on the main board of Polypipe Ltd, a leading manufacturer of plastic piping and building products for the construction industry specialising in sustainable solutions. I love the variety of my career portfolio, especially working as a Stemnet ambassador. In the last 5 years I have talked to 1000s of school children to inspire the next generation of engineers; given lectures and talks on programme and project management to 20 different institutions and universities and written and featured in many articles at both local and national level to promote careers in STEM. I was honoured in 2018 to be elected as the Institution of Civil Engineer’s Chair of Fellowship Panel and have been exploring processes to increase applications from fellowship calibre women. Recently, with my daughters as assistants, I have created and delivered a series of interactive building exercises to Brownie and Rainbow Packs handing out ‘Girls Go Engineering’ badges that I have designed and funded. It is certainly energising and rewarding to generate excitement about engineering in youngsters! After all, some of them will be creating the built environment of the future.
THE EUROPEAN WOMEN IN CONSTRUCTION & ENGINEERING AWARDS >> MAY 2019
2019 WICE awards and summit summary.