- Kate Grant is recognised by her peers on International Women in Engineering Day
- This year’s annual #INWED21 celebration showcases the “the best, brightest, bravest women in engineering, who recognise a problem, then dare to be part of the solution.”
- Cadent’s Monisha Gower among a further 50 women in the highly-commended list
West Midlands Network Director Kate Grant, a champion of renewable technologies and finding solutions to the climate change crisis, has today been named among this year’s Top 50 Women in Engineering
Kate, who leads our team managing a 15,000+ mile underground gas distribution network – from North Staffordshire to Herefordshire, and the M1 to the Welsh border – makes the annual list published to celebrate International Women in Engineering Day (#INWED21).
“I am thrilled and honoured to be among such company,” said Kate. “There can be no better feeling than being acknowledged by your peers for doing something you really care about and love doing.”
And, in another fantastic development for Cadent, the head of our Eastern Network Investment Planning Office, Monisha Gower, is among a further 50 women named in a highly commended list.
From South Africa to Leamington Spa
Kate Grant’s journey to her current home near Leamington Spa began in South Africa, where she spent the first 25 years of her life. Her passion for engineering and shaping the world around us has its roots in her first job, part of a team building a power station on the coast near Cape Town.
“Every day I was working next to a beautiful beach. I realised then that, as engineers, we have responsibility to act in a conscious way to protect our environment. We are at the interface between science and nature. It was my lightbulb moment and something that’s driven me to this day.”
Kate completed a Masters in engineering for sustainable development at Cambridge – the third generation of her family to study at the same college, after her grandfather (a lawyer) and her father (a doctor). Her thesis focused on decarbonising the energy sector in South Africa.
As an electrical research engineer, she designed and delivered one of the first customer-led electric vehicle charging trials in the UK. Kate worked on the construction and maintenance of venues during the Olympic Games in London, managing to watch Team GB win gold in the velodrome having stayed up all night to commission the back-up power supply to the impressive new building.
She then worked in aviation, supporting the commissioning and operational readiness of Terminal 2 at Heathrow Airport, also known as the ‘Queen’s Terminal’.
After this – and keen to move to the West Midlands to be closer to her family – she found a position as Head of Innovation at Cadent. This enabled her to apply her passion for sustainability to help transition the gas industry away from fossil gas into a ‘net zero’ era, using hydrogen.
Kick-starting the hydrogen ‘net zero’ revolution
Kate’s chance meeting at a conference with a very like-minded Keele University colleague led to what has now become the first UK trial of injecting hydrogen – a zero-carbon gas at point of use – into an existing gas network, the 130 buildings on the Staffordshire campus.
This project, called HyDeploy
, has become a blueprint for a wide roll-out of hydrogen to help heat homes across the UK, which will stop millions of tonnes of carbon polluting the atmosphere.
Kate, who is 38, and a STEM ambassador (science, technology, engineering and mathematics), has two pieces of advice for anyone thinking about a career in engineering.
“Achieving anything in life is not done independently; it is so important to surround yourself with a network of support – family, friends, work colleagues. You also need to learn flexibility and resilience – our profession is continually evolving, and you need to keep broadening your knowledge, so that you’re ready for what’s coming next.”
What are the WE50 awards?
awards are now in their sixth year and are co-ordinated by the Women’s Engineering Society. This year’s theme celebrates #EngineeringHeroes – “the best, brightest, bravest women in engineering, who recognise a problem, then dare to be part of the solution.”
This week, to coincide with International Women in Engineering Day, we’ve been publishing stories on just some of the brilliant women who work for us
, who help keep people safe and warm in their homes, and delivering a net zero future.
Cadent in the West Midlands
We operate four of the UK’s eight gas distribution networks: North West, West Midlands, Eastern and North London. Our West Midlands network covers a wide area from North Staffordshire to Herefordshire, reaching the M1 in the East and the Welsh borders on the West.
Hundreds of engineers and support teams ensure 24/7, year-round management of an underground piped gas distribution network which, if placed end to end, stretches to more than 15,000 miles. That’s almost 4.5 times the distance from Wolverhampton to New York.
We also provide the region’s gas emergency service, with operatives ready to respond quickly, day and night, to reported gas escapes or carbon monoxide incidents, or to support the blue-light emergency services dealing with incidents where gas is present (e.g. house fires).
Our West Midlands network is playing a huge role in helping to switch the gas grid away from fossil fuels, with Cadent, Keele University and other partners recently completing a UK-first trial of blending hydrogen into the existing gas pipe network. Using hydrogen in this blended way is a key step to converting the UK-wide system – essential to achieving net zero carbon emissions.