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WSPs Stephanie Deuchars is a net zero change maker

WSP's Stephanie Deuchars is a net zero change maker

 July 04, 2022

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Women in WSP's Local Government discipline are aiming to be role models for the young generation of talent - and here we meet Stephanie Deuchars, the Deputy Commission Manager for WSP's Local Government Discipline in North Yorkshire, UK.

Accumulating a breadth of experience and qualifications

WSP Principal Designer

Stephanie has been working within the engineering landscape since 2004. Over the years, she has accumulated a breadth of experience and qualifications such as Incorporated Engineer through the ICE, BTEC, HNC, and BEng (Hons) in Civil Engineering to support her growth and development. 

Stephanie joined WSP in 2017 as a Senior Engineer and has been promoted twice since then - firstly in 2019 to Principal Engineer and in 2020 as an Associate.

Acting as Project Manager for the Northallerton Town Hall scheme where WSP was appointed as Principal Designer, she managed both the design stage and construction stage, with multi-discipline teams including landscape architects, pavements specialists, architectural lighting, and highway designers.

The works involved public realm improvements to promote space within the Northallerton High Street, for events, and the current town market to help encourage visitors and locals to visit the town. With a focus on the future sustainability of the High Street, the work aims to enhance the town’s heritage, giving people a reason to explore and enjoy all that it has to offer.

As the Net Zero Lead for WSP`s Local Government Discipline and a Net Zero Changemaker, Stephanie understands that the net-zero transition is going to change the way that towns and cities govern public space and the design of the public realm at the local level, specifically, how residents travel around cities. Low carbon modes of transport including everything from electric vehicles to active travel, will change how individuals access, use and share streets both now and in the future.

A day in the life of Stephanie 

WSP Stephanie Deuchars

Explaining her day, Stephanie says: "My alarm goes off generally, around 7am except on a Monday when I do the school run. Then it’s a blur of breakfast, teeth brushing, washing, dressing making sure my 5-year-old son is ready then heading out the door to the childminders for 8 am. Thankfully he has school lunches so one less thing to worry about, but I try to get everything set out the night before for the mad dash in the morning. We both like our sleep!"

WSP Careers

After work Stephanie and her son walk up to her parents' house to walk their dogs with them.

"When we get back home, we like to have tea and then listen to music or read or play games and sometimes we like to play Super Mario party games on the Switch. We’re both quite competitive," says Stephanie.

Delivering projects to expectations 

WSP Local Government

For work, Stephanie is responsible for working in conjunction with the Commission Manager. "I develop our business for North Yorkshire County Council and the neighbouring authorities. This includes working with clients to ensure we deliver projects to their expectations, working with WSP delivery teams to ensure we deliver to programme and budget, and expanding and cross-selling our services. I’m also a line manager and ICE Delegated Engineer and responsible for supporting and advocating for my team, who are amazing," she explains. 

Stephanie doesn't really have a typical day due to the variety of projects, and clients that she deals with day to day. As part of her role, she is the Key Client Manager for some of WSP's clients and works on improving relationships but also expanding the client's offerings.

"My most memorable work moment was when I was in my first year at Mouchel - I got to watch a helicopter lift an animal footbridge into place. We were in rural North Yorkshire, and it was very exciting to watch," recalls Stephanie. 

Enjoying the variety of her work 

WSP Stephanie Deuchars

When reflecting on the best part of her job, Stephanie enjoys the variety of work she does and the people she works with. She says: "In the last six months, I’ve been involved in cultivating work from the client in several fields which has resulted in working with a number of different disciplines. The work has covered woodland development, hostile vehicle security assessments, public ream projects (lots of landscaping and consultation), reservoir projects, high profile flood alleviation schemes as well as carriageway & footway maintenance."  

Did she have a plan B career choice? "I did think about teaching, but I’m not sure if I'd have the patience," Stephanie shares. 

"My passion is reading, I wouldn’t mind being a book editor. Although at school I was planning on becoming a solicitor, so I could go back and look at construction law."

Know your worth and never underestimate your abilities

Offering advice for young female engineers, Stephanie recommends making connections within and outside the organisation and have a support system in place around you.  

"There will be times that you need that support system to fall back on and to reciprocate. Know your worth and never underestimate your abilities, most of what we do in engineering is transferrable in terms of skills. Follow your intuition (ask lots of questions), always strive for 360-degree feedback to help with growth, and don’t stop learning," says Stephanie.

Stephanie has a favourite quote and it's by Nelson Mandela: Do not judge me by my successes, judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again' by Nelson Mandela.

"We do work in a male-dominated industry, but that doesn’t mean you need to follow the stereotypes of the industry. So be your true authentic self. It’s not always going to be easy, but there are networks out there in place to help," encourages Stephanie.

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