Civil engineer wins businesswoman of the year

Grant Prior 13 years ago
Share

BDP’s chair of civil and structural engineering, Michelle McDowell, has been named Veuve Clicquot Businesswoman of the year.

McDowell was singled out for her work on low-carbon building and promoting engineering as a career for all.

Projects McDowell has worked on include the revamp of Wimbledon lawn tennis club and the £70m redevelopment of the Royal Albert Hall in London.

McDowell, from Coleraine, Northern Ireland, began her career more than 25 years ago, after being persuaded into the industry  by what she calls “a fluke”.

At her school careers advisers tended to push girls good at maths into medicine, but she wanted to “do something creative and practical”.

So when her father brought home a leaflet on a residential school for engineers, she signed up for the week in Sheffield and her love of engineering began.

During the week everything “just fell into place” for her about how she could use the subjects she enjoyed .

At work, as well as pushing her firm towards its current £96m turnover, McDowell is also known for her conviction that architects and engineers thinking together from the start of a project will produce better building design.

“We are delighted that the judges have selected a winner who fully embraces the nature of the awards and can provide inspiration for other up and coming entrepreneurs,” Elsa Corbineau, Brand Director of Veuve Clicquot said.

“Michelle has proven that commercial success can be achieved alongside acting as an ethical business and it is wonderful to see a stand out business woman actively championing the next generation of female entrepreneurs.”

McDowell said she has had to work hard to promote engineering for women and women within engineering.

She said: “Women are scarce, perhaps it’s the image of construction – dirty, muddy boots; an unreconstructed working environment. But now the image is transforming, even on site.

“I’ve had to show a level of determination and hard work and make it easier for others to come through – through encouragement and bursaries.

“Even just two weeks in a design office or on a construction site can make it gel that it’s a career for someone rather than something to settle for.”

The Veuve Clicquot award was first presented in 1972 and recognises the role played by successful businesswomen in Britain.

Latest news

Receivers in at £125m Manchester tower developer

Domis Construction walked away from scheme following doubts over funding
11 hours ago

McAlpine pulls out of £55m Carlisle Citadels project

University of Cumbria starts hunt for replacement contractor
4 days ago

Strabag UK suffers further big trading loss

Austrian contractor is gearing up for major presence in the UK market
3 days ago

Durham Uni picks UPP for £130m student scheme

Firm will deliver 1,000 self-catered bed spaces
3 days ago

Architects now upbeat after 10-months of work gloom

Larger practices see rising workloads in next three months
3 days ago

Motorist dies after collision with road paver

Police Scotland investigating fatal crash
4 days ago

McLaren Living appoints HG Construction for £69m scheme

Build to Rent scheme will transform former vacant car park site in Leeds city centre
4 days ago

Squibb liquidator probes £2m of “missing” plant

Machinery, cars and scrap metal have disappeared at demolition specialist
4 days ago

Galliford Try to re-enter affordable homes market

Contractor sets out new five-year plan to build margin to 4%
4 days ago

Former Sellar chief to lead civils contractor Kilnbridge

Owen Dannatt joins as new CEO as founder Dermot McDermott becomes Chairman
4 days ago

Hunt starts for nuclear fusion plant construction partner

Fusion energy plant to be built at West Burton coal power station site.
4 days ago

National Grid raises £7bn for big infrastructure upgrade

Rights issue to fund a major round of capital investment in energy infrastructure
4 days ago

Grenfell police probe to last at least until end of 2025

19 companies and 58 individuals could eventually face charges
4 days ago

Mace confirmed on £100m London office retrofit

Work underway on Helical's 100 New Bridge Street job near Ludgate Circus
5 days ago

Wylfa chosen for next big nuclear power station build

Government names Anglesey site for a large-scale gigawatt nuclear power plant.
5 days ago

Bowmer & Kirkland trading profit halves

Contractor buys HVAC specialist Adcock despite challenging market
5 days ago

Piling specialist Van Elle plans further job cuts

Piling specialist plans further cost savings in face of lower demand
5 days ago

Civils contractor A Catlow files administration notice

High voltage cable specialist lodges court notice
5 days ago

Green light for ARC Oxford lab campus

Work to start later this year on £40m Ascent building job
5 days ago

Stonehenge tunnel hit by another legal delay

Court upholds latest appeal against £1.7bn scheme by campaigners
6 days ago

Plans go in for huge Olympic Park construction hub

Bow Goods Yard could deliver 3.5m tonnes of materials a year to sites across London
6 days ago

40% affordable homes target for Labour’s new towns

Labour pledges to select new town sites by end of first year
6 days ago

Plan for £100m Liverpool Baltic station

Construction work could begin next year
6 days ago

Surgo Construction went down owing £4.5m

Biggest creditor is Bellway Homes after dispute on housing job
6 days ago

Vistry seals £157m West London housing deal

Around 575 homes to be built at Merrick Place scheme in Ealing
6 days ago

Streamlined Watkin Jones returns to profit in first half

Multi-room specialist sees secured work pipeline hit £1.4bn
6 days ago

Bellway hires ex-brickie as group construction chief

James Griffin to oversee move to the Future Homes Standard and timber frame.
6 days ago

Persimmon under fire for delays to £10m relief road

West Suffolk Council serves Breach of Condition Notices after timetable slips again
6 days ago

BAM wins £33m Kent secondary school job

Replacement Swanley academy to be built at live school site
6 days ago

Aluminium cladding specialist collapses

Melton Mowbray-based firm worked for several main contractors
1 week ago

Contractor services