Kirsty McDermott

Kirsty McDermott | National Grid

Kirsty McDermott

I left school at 15 to study at college, but soon realised that this wasn’t for me.

I carried out a careers aptitude test which then identified that I would be suited to a career in engineering. So, I found a local training academy, that matched interests with a career. I did an advanced apprenticeship in Welding and Fabrication. I attended college part time and obtained qualifications in manufacturing engineering, whilst also developing skills in welding, sheetmetal and machining.

In 2012, I secured a place on the Gas Transmission Engineer Training Programme at National Grid, during which time I worked in the Engineering team and started a Foundation Degree in Gas Transmission Engineering. These both provided opportunities for me, including a technical lead role on National Grid's first Network Innovation Competition Project. Following my Degree, I was keen to continue my learning, and develop a specialism in an area which interested me; Welding. National Grid supported me to commence an MSc in Welding Engineering.

I have had a range of roles, ranging from Project Management of Innovation Projects, to Quality Assurance on Construction Projects.
I am now a Senior Welding Engineer in the Engineering and Asset Management Team. My key areas are around Welding and Materials, ensuring that National Grid and our contract partners comply with the requirements for construction on our assets.

I am considered a Subject Matter Expert for Welding and Materials, my knowledge, experience and support is key to providing assurance to the business to ensure the assets we construct are safe and reliable. National Grid is responsible for the supply of the UK energy. My team is a key part of that chain and we are involved in the UK asset pipeline integrity, in terms of construction, maintenance and compliance with company, national and international standards.

Danielle Stewart

Danielle Stewart | National Grid

Danielle Stewart

Danielle is responsible for the development of National Grid Gas Transmission’s long term business strategy as the UK transitions to Net Zero.

A chartered engineer, she was a Finalist in the UK 2020 Top 50 Women in Engineering: Sustainability.

As Long Term Strategy Manager, Danielle supports and develops innovation projects that investigate alternative zero or low carbon sources of energy. She is currently leading the development of a collaborative programme of work to build the evidence base for hydrogen technology as a cleaner alternative to natural gas for use in homes, industry, power and transport. The outputs of this work will help to inform government policy and future energy network design. A regular speaker at conferences, she recently had the privilege of contributing to a panel at the World Energy Council Hydrogen Innovation Forum.

Danielle started her career at National Grid using simulation software to model gas flows on the UK’s gas transmission network to support operational decision making. Since then she has led projects to redesign two of the UK’s gas terminals, developed and managed a multi-billion-pound capital investment plan and led regulatory business plan submissions. Keen to develop others, she is proud to have established a new high-performing team of analysts and engineers to create gas system asset management and investment strategies.

Prior to the energy industry, Danielle was a published post-doctoral researcher in the Elementary Particle Physics Group at the University of Warwick. Working in international collaborations, her main area of focus was particle detector development where she coded simulations and ran experiments to optimise detector design. As a spin-off from her research, she investigated an alternative technology for solar panels.

Alongside her passion for sustainability, Danielle actively promotes inclusion and diversity. Danielle sits on the board of the UK Women’s Infrastructure Network, which creates opportunities for women to network, exchange ideas and shape the infrastructure agenda. She mentors a diverse range of people and works with the Kent Academies Network on a social mobility programme that supports high potential students from disadvantaged backgrounds to go on to higher education.

Danielle holds a PhD in particle physics, a first-class Masters degree in Maths and Physics and is currently completing an MBA at Warwick Business School. Outside of work she is a keen triathlete.

Katie Entwistle | National Grid

I do not have a degree. I started in supply chain as a stock controller and quickly advanced my skills on MS Excel, incorporating VBA and advanced formulae with no prior knowledge and enhancing processes for the team, quickly becoming the go-to for SAP related queries throughout the business. I constantly explored better ways to do something and was not happy sticking to the status quo. I was then head hunted by the emerging RPA team in National Grid and brought in as a developer, on first impressions alone. I received my UI Path (based on .net) foundation diploma within a month and delivered my first solo project in the second month in the team. 9 months on and I have built and am maintaining 13 regular processes, along with peer reviewing and supporting the senior developer. I have written the tech standards document for our team and helped implement best practice. In my own time I am trying to further my knowledge of software development – I have signed up to FreeCodeCamp and am currently working through an intense Java and algorithms module for my part time Open University degree. I’m passionate about the environment and would love to use tech to save the planet – my entrepreneurial friend has just opened a zero waste shop and I have been looking at QR scanning to enhance her customer experience. I have a curious mind and love a challenge! I have attended conferences and always challenge the speaker, and people are always surprised by my age. My dad is a senior software developer and has worked in many large organisations - he is very supportive and as a consequence I have a lot of reading material, a raspberry pi to play with and a great mentor!