In the executive chair with: Georgina Molloy, Chartered Engineer and Programme Manager for Concerted Action EPBD, SEAI

by | Oct 4, 2022

Georgina Molloy is a Chartered Civil and Structural Engineer with over 20 years’ experience in the profession. She established the scaffold design consultancy department at Scaffold Design Ireland/McCrory Access in 2009 and she managed, developed and grew it for 13 years.

She has recently taken a position at the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) where she is the central team leader on the EU Concerted Action, Energy Performance of Buildings Directive.

She graduated from DIT Bolton St (now TU Dublin) with a BSc. Eng (Hons) in Structural Engineering in 2001. She also has a higher diploma in project management from TCD. She spent the first 21 years of her career working in civil, structural and temporary works design consultancy and contracting before moving into sustainability.

Molloy is a co-founder and chair of Engineers Ireland’s Women in Engineering group and is a committee member of the inclusion and diversity society. You can join Engineers Ireland’s Women in Engineering group on LinkedIn or by connecting with Georgina there. Its next career circle event takes place online at the end of October.

Best advice you’ve been given?

‘It’s all about the people’ … from the school of Tom McKenna from The McKenna Pearce Practice.

What project are you most excited about?

The current revision of the EU ‘Energy Performance of Buildings Directive’ (EPBD) which will set out ambitious targets to get the European building stock to zero emissions by 2050.

Concerted Action, which is a knowledge sharing project where 27 EU members states share their knowledge of energy performance of buildings.

I am the central team leader for Ireland. I will be leading the team in the next round of concerted action where we will share our knowledge of building energy performance.

Our specific topic will be ‘Building Codes and Technical Requirements’. The ultimate goal is to support the 27 EU members states in getting the European building stock to net zero emissions by 2050. There are many milestone goals along the way.

How do you approach long-term planning and strategy?

I try to include as many stakeholders as possible when considering long term planning and strategy. We have to consider how our plans will affect not only the climate but people.

What digital tools or technology are you embracing to get work done?

Tools such as Teams and Zoom are invaluable when collaborating and enhancing a work-life balance.

What are the big industry trends you’re noticing right now?

There is a terrible skills shortage in the construction sector. We don’t have enough qualified and skilled people to carry out the retrofit and new build work that we need done, in the required time frame.

We need to rebuild the culture of and appreciation for apprenticeships. That route is every bit as valuable as the university route and we need to rebuild that appreciation amongst parents and guidance councillors who are influencers of young school children.

We have pretty much excluded almost 50 per cent of the population from apprenticeship, i.e. women. We need to make huge efforts to attract and retain women in the construction industry.

Who’s impressing you most in the industry at present?

Women who work is a massively maledominated environment. Susan McGarry, MD of Ecocem Ireland is a shero of mine. She is doing great things for sustainable construction and is a leader and role model for everyone in the industry.

What did you learn from your biggest mistake?

Early on in my career, I was in a role where I wasn’t getting the experience that I needed. I didn’t speak to my manager about it. I’ve learned that it’s always better to have the chat, even if it’s awkward at the time.

Who’s your role model within the industry or wider business community?

Again, Susan McGarry, MD of EcocemIreland and Colette O’Shea, Aecom, have been huge influences in my career. They have led large teams
of people, in a male-dominated profession and they give back so much to the industry through mentoring, coaching and voluntary work. They are also leading in sustainable construction.

Best book you’ve read recently?

Women and leadership – Real Lives, Real Lessons by Julia Gillard and Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala was a fantastic read about women in politics around the world.

What’s your passion when you’re not at work?

I love swimming, yoga, reading and spending time with my sons, who are four and six, and with my husband who owns his own construction firm. We try not to talk about work but inevitably it comes up and we are a big support to one another. It’s very interesting to have a partner in the industry.

I think we should all bring a bit more of our personal lives to the building site and let our colleagues know who we are outside of work. When you have a coffee or a pint or share a bit of your personal life with a colleague, I find that it builds rapport and understanding.

Tom McKenna used to tell me ‘people will be much more willing to co-operate on a project if you’ve bought them a pint or a coffee in the past’. It’s all about the people!

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