written by
Iza Buysse

Celebrating the female engineers of BESIX Group

Global Me@BESIX Group Me@SixConstruct 6 min read

Today, 23rd of June, marks International Women in Engineering Day, a day during which we celebrate female engineers and their achievements. At BESIX Group, there’s no shortage of talented female colleagues in the field. In light of this special day, we talked with Alessia, Morgane, Louisa, Lies and Liesbet, five of the many incredible female engineers of our Group.

1. Alessia Osti, Regional Façade Manager at BESIX Middle East

What exactly do you do as a Regional Façade Manager?

I give support to the different teams in terms of expertise in the façade field. This goes from the tender stage to projects in execution on the operational side. I have been touching all ongoing projects in the Middle East. For the moment, I’m looking after the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi Museum.

What do you love the most about your job?

Our industry is very demanding. Each day is unique, and a new challenge will always arise, both from a professional and a personal perspective, considering the interaction with so many different people.

Why did you become an engineer?

As a child, I used to spend hours listening to my grandad’s stories about construction projects in Milan (Italy). Of course, those projects cannot be compared to the ones we have today, but I have been captured by the industry ever since. It was no surprise that I went to study Engineering. And I’m happy that my grandad lived long enough to proudly witness part of my career.

What advice would you give to young engineers?

It sounds obvious, but to work hard and never give up. I have been a pioneer in the industry as a woman and yes, the female presence is growing every year, but we still have a very long way to go. Even to just reach parity, as it is one of the oldest and most traditional industries on the market.

2. Morgane Dufrasne, Methods Engineer at BESIX France

What exactly do you do as a Methods Engineer?

Methods engineering is the study of the feasibility of execution. What we need to do, is to understand what we have in the drawings. I basically check whether we can actually build it and if we can build it with the materials that are foreseen.

What do you like the most about your job?

That every day is different. Every project is different, and every problem is different. For example, I’m currently working on the project of the Triangle Tower in Paris (France), but I’ve also worked on the Mohammed VI Tower in Rabat (Morocco). Although these are both towers and both are kind of the same height, the projects are entirely different. You must always learn and constantly try to find new solutions. There’s a lot of challenges and that’s what I really like.

Why did you become an engineer?

My parents and grandfather were all engineers, so I guess it’s kind of in my blood. I’ve always been interested in construction, in how something is built.

What advice would you give young engineers?

To learn from other people. At BESIX, we get the opportunity to work with people that have much more experience. It’s from those people that you’re going to learn the most, more than from school or the internet. So go work on project sites, and don’t hesitate to ask things. Contact colleagues active in other countries and ask them how they do stuff.

3. Louisa Budharto, Senior Project Engineer at BESIX Watpac

What exactly do you do as a Senior Project Engineer?

I manage subcontractors from design to management and coordinate works on site, whilst promoting a safe workplace culture.

What do you love the most about your job?

I love that every project has different challenges and allows me to continuously learn new skills. I also like the fact that it’s a combination of desk and site-based work.

Why did you become an engineer?

I’ve always been interested in construction. I also wanted to be in a role which combines problem solving and people management. Engineering is an industry that communities will always need.

What advice would you give to young engineers?

Take the opportunities that are presented to you and don’t be afraid to ask things!

4. Lies Vergote, Technical Office Engineer at BESIX France

What actually do you do as a Technical Office Engineer?

I work on the Saint-Denis-Pleyel metro station in Paris (France), where I monitor the subcontractors of doors and the metal inner cladding. It’s difficult to summarise my tasks, as it’s a very varied and broad job. On the one hand, there’s the technical side, where I verify whether the subcontractors’ execution plans meet the architect’s and client’s criteria for an efficient execution. I also monitor the production of materials and look after the execution of the planning. I stay in contact with the subcontractors in case of problems. On the other hand, there’s also a financial side. First, subcontractors are selected, based on their price-quality ratio. Afterwards, I monitor whether all additional work is correctly invoiced to the client.

What do you like the most about your job?

Every day is different. What I like about being on a project site is that I witness the evolution of the project day by day. When a building is finished, I am proud to say that BESIX executed this project. Nothing is impossible for us! In addition, being on site guarantees a good mix between technical aspects and social interaction.

Why did you become an engineer?

I chose to study engineering, because of the many possibilities. Logical thinking and problem solving are the most important things and it’s something I find so interesting. As an engineer, you always look for improvement and that’s how the job stays challenging.

What advice would you give to a young engineer?

Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone and take a leap into the unknown. It will make you stronger. A woman on site is seen as atypical, but there’s really no reason why this job could not be done by a woman. You should do what you want and never let the opinions of others hold you back. And I stand by that!

5. Liesbet Grymonprez, Technical Office Manager at BESIX Belgium-Luxembourg

What exactly do you do as a Technical Office Manager?

I manage a team of technical office engineers and monitor the general quality, planning and budget.

What do you like the most about your job?

The variety of the job. It goes from price enquiries to making up contracts, to the execution on site… Apart from that, I also like the human aspect: working in a team within BESIX, as well as having external contacts with the client, architect, design office…

Why did you become an engineer?

I chose to study Civil Engineering-Architecture because of my interest in science and math, as well as in architecture and construction.

What advice would you give to young engineers?

Take your time to find your way and to discover what you really like to do. Be open to new experiences and dare to take the leap into the unknown.