Celebrating Women in Construction Week

04 March 2020

Women in Construction Week is a wonderful chance to celebrate Howard Civil Engineering’s hard-working women employees and their contributions to the company. This year, we’re proud to highlight the tremendous work of Lucie Jones, our fantastic Pre-Contracts Manager, and Wanda Curtis, our amazing Health and Safety Advisor.

Lucie Jones, Pre-Contracts Manager (right)

Lucie discovered her passion for civil engineering at the age of sixteen after being invited to visit the site of the Conwy A55 Tunnel as part of the constructors’ community liaison programme, and subsequently went on to study at the University of Manchester. One of only five women on the 120-student course, she squeezed in on-site work placements between her rigorous studies and achieved her degree in Civil and Structural Engineering.

After graduating, Lucie undertook a variety of roles (Setting Out Engineer, Section Engineer, Sub-Agent and Agent) before becoming an Estimator. Lucie excelled in her role and was promoted to Senior Estimator and, finally, Pre-Contracts Manager.

Lucie joined us five years ago as Pre-Contracts Manager, which was an entirely new position at Howard Civil Engineering. ‘I’d heard about Howards and I knew they were a forward-thinking family-owned business,’ Lucie commented. ‘They were looking develop their main contracting arm, and I was looking for a new challenge at the time. It was an exciting opportunity to take on a role that I could really make my own.’

Since starting her journey at Howard Civil Engineering, Lucie has been a driving force in developing the company’s Tier 1 arm and her wealth of experience in road schemes and bid writing has been invaluable. Lucie has also taken on the responsibility of community liaison on schemes such as the Hard Ings Road Improvement scheme for Bradford Council and Germany Beck S278 junction, adopted by York Council, which have both been well received and highly praised by community stakeholders and clients.

Wanda Curtis, Health and Safety Advisor (left)

Wanda entered the construction industry sixteen years ago as a document controller and quickly involved herself in other elements of construction such as estimating, planning and commercial matters before training as a Quantity Surveyor. During her training, Wanda discovered her passion in Health and Safety and instead sought a role as a Health and Safety Consultant. This role included various duties such as Principal Designer, site inspections and producer of in-house training courses.

Discussing her route into her role as Health and Safety Advisor, Wanda commented, ‘Although my route to where I have ended up was not direct and not where I initially planned to be, I do thoroughly enjoy my role. Health and Safety in the workplace is about promoting positive wellbeing as well as preventing injury and illness, and I feel I have opportunity to make the workplace a better and safer environment.’

Wanda joined the SHEQ department of Howard Civil Engineering one year ago as Health and Safety Advisor. 'Having already had some contact with Howards for conducting onsite inspections, I was aware of the types of works and schemes they were involved with,' she commented. 'I came for an interview with Michael Howard (Managing Director) and Andrew Rafton (SHEQ Manager) and heard about the plans to develop and grow the business further, which sounded like something I’d like to get involved with and be part of. I have always relished a challenge! In my role at Howard Civil Engineering, I have plenty of responsibility to help promote positive wellbeing and prevent injury and illness whilst still having opportunity to venture on-site and get my boots muddy,' she commented. I have also been offered training in new areas to expand my responsibilities, such as Mental Health First Aid Training, which I thoroughly enjoy. Each day presents a new challenge and no two days are the same. It is not a role for everyone, and I wouldn’t have expected to be where I am now when I started my career sixteen years ago, but I certainly wouldn’t change it.’

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