Electricity North West has made history by appointing Britain’s first female engineering director at a distribution network operator.

Gillian Williamson, a chartered engineer, has made the step up from the regional DNO’s strategic planning team.  Her new position will see Williamson – pictured – play a crucial role as the company aims to deliver a £1.8bn investment plan to lead the North West to net zero.

The appointment also means Williamson is the only female engineering director out of all of the UK’s DNOs. Six operating companies manage and provide service in 14 licenced distribution regions.

Speaking about her promotion, she said: “I am delighted to become Electricity North West’s first female engineering director.

“I’ve taken up the role at a pivotal and exciting time for the industry as we drive the technological developments and commercial approaches necessary to efficiently manage the increases and new ways our customers are using electricity.”

“I am looking forward to collaborating with colleagues across the whole of the company responding to the needs of our customers’ who are making the changes on their way to net zero.

“Engineering is definitely a male-dominated industry, but my experience is that women can bring a different perspective and be just as successful. I’m proud that I can add my voice and show that so many different roles and career paths are open to women of all ages.”

Boasting more than 20 years’ industry experience, Williamson spent a significant share of her career in power systems consultancy, focussing on the implications for the industry of transitioning to low carbon, Organisational requirements and the use of technology to address the challenge of network capacity, were a key area for her consideration.

Williamson’s move to Electricity North West was inspired by her analysis studies, which showcased the need for the strategic transformation of the electrical distribution industry and networks.

Peter Emery, chief executive at Electricity North West, added: “Gillian has only been with the business for four years but whilst here, she has shown excellent strategic insight and the ability to implement change swiftly and effectively.

“Gillian is a welcome addition to our exec team at what is an extremely critical time for the network as the pace of electrification of transport and heat accelerates.”

Williamson joins Emma Pinchbeck, appointed in January 2020 as director of trade advocates Energy UK, in strengthening gender diversity in the UK electricity industry.


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