WENDY Blundell, who receives an OBE, is one of just seven per cent of women in the high-powered devolved regions branch of the Institution of Civil Engineers, which covers a large section of the United Kingdom.
She is proud to be head of the 15,000-membership body, taking in Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales and London.
Mother-of-three Wendy is a dedicated leader of the institution, making sure the interests and training of the members are paramount, and actively propagating the vital aspect of infrastructure, for which they are responsible.
This takes in a wide aspect of engineering, like water, transport, waste, bridges and energy, perhaps less glamorous than the more visible aspect of iconic buildings found in Wendy’s bailiwick – the likes of London’s ‘Gherkin’, the Millennium Building in Wales, Scotland’s Parliament in Edinburgh, and Belfast’s Odyssey.
The Odyssey is closest to Wendy’s heart as she worked on its infrastructure. “I worked on the Odyssey for three or four years, and called it my baby. And ‘baby’ is very apt, as I gave birth to my third child around the time it was completed,” she said.
She is married to Mark, a captain with British Airways, and the rest of the family is Callum, 18, Olivia, 16, and Erin, 11.
A former student of Victoria College, Wendy graduated from Queen’s University with her masters degree (MEng) in 1988, and worked in engineering for 15 years before being appointed head of devolved regions for the Institution of Civil Engineers.
“It means I spend a day every week in London, which I particularly enjoy,” she said.
“I love the life, and it’s really gratifying that, as a woman, I have been appointed head of such a vast organisation. It’s the old cliche of a woman in a man’s world, and we have to work and strive that bit harder!”
On the OBE, she said: “It’s a tremendous honour and I am surprised and overwhelmed. It’s a recognition for the institution and a real honour for my family.”