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Today (Tuesday 11 October 2016) is also known as ‘Ada Lovelace Day’ – the annual celebration of women working in the fields of science, technology, engineering and maths (commonly referred to as STEM).

Ada Lovelace Day is named after the woman now regarded as the world’s first computer programmer.

Ada worked with the inventor Charles Babbage on his ‘analytical engine’ creation in the 1850s – a mechanical computing device that he designed but never built.

To commemorate Ada Lovelace Day, we spoke to women across Connect Plus Services to hear about their greatest achievements in our industry.

Sustainability by Hayley Oates, Ecologist

When I became a Master of Conservation Biology, my aim was to save one species at a time. I was able to begin this journey – not on the M25, but nearly 10,000 miles away in Western Australia!

I worked as a volunteer for the Friends of Western Ground Parrot charity. There are fewer than 140 of these birds left in in the wild due to wildfires and invasive species predation so the week’s aim was to capture four of them to take back to a captive breeding centre so that the species could have a strong hold.

After a successful week capturing the birds, I was faced with my first Aussie driving experience – driving this precious cargo for six hours, all while thinking, ‘Don’t crash, Hayley! Don’t crash!’

They are the most beautiful, elusive birds I’ve ever seen and to protect the species for the future made me feel like I’d accomplished something truly magical. As the first species I was able to help save, these birds still have a special place in my heart.


Legacy by Julie Hyland Structures Engineer

When I started out as graduate engineer, I worked on the construction of the Channel Tunnel, Europe’s most high-profile project at the time. After that, I worked in Hong Kong, on the bridges at either end of the North Lantau Expressway, part of the New Chek Lap Kok Airport Programme.

Returning to the UK – I saw a change in the civil engineering landscape – with less construction taking place and a greater focus placed on asset management. My work at Connect Plus Services challenges me to look at how we can safely extend the life of structures around the M25, in a sustainable and profitable way.

I now look back on my career and feel extremely grateful for the support and guidance offered to me by others when I was starting out. Prior to joining CPS I set up a Lunch’n’Learn initiative which was really successful and I found it rewarding. I’m about the launch Lunch’n’Learn at CPS to help individuals share their sometimes untapped knowledge with the wider team. Sometimes, it’s not the specific projects that are the greatest achievements, but the growth and development of the teams that produced them.

Empowerment and motivation by Melissa Wise Operations & Maintenance Manager

My greatest achievement at Connect Plus Services has been giving the team at our Blunts Farm depot, the tools and drive to create an atmosphere and culture of empowerment and motivation.  Through their own hard work and dedication, the team have transformed an out-dated, tired site office into a very special working environment.

The team here were engaged through a series of communication and relationship building projects.  Together, we created training programmes and succession plans and the team collectively chose to refurbish the depot working space to a high standard using their own ideas and concepts.

Since the refurbishment, the atmosphere at Blunts Farm has completely changed.  The team are now working together as one unit, becoming more efficient and innovative.  The team are buzzing with ideas and personally, I am very excited about working in this depot.

I would like to think that I have had a positive impact in bringing about these changes and I am proud of that, and even more importantly proud of each and every member of the team here at Blunts Farm for having the motivation and dedication to bring about these changes.

Thank you to Hayley, Julie and Melissa for sharing their greatest achievements with us.

To find out more about Ada Lovelace Day, visit