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DIPT Celebrates Saint Lucia’s First Female Chief Engineer

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As Saint Lucia joined the rest of the world in the observance of International Women’s Day (and Women’s History Month in some territories) the Department of Infrastructure, Ports and Transport celebrates Mrs. Renata Philogene-McKie- Saint Lucia’s first female Chief Engineer.

This historical moment for the DIPT took effect on January 4th, 2023 when she was appointed to the Chief Engineer’s position.

If your first choice of description for Renata is result-oriented and driven, you are absolutely correct, for she is a quality driven engineer.

But the magic formula for her success is the genuine relationships she builds with people she works with, whether they are engineers like herself or clients and customers she meets on the many diverse projects she has been associated with, which include the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), the World Bank (WB) and the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development (KFAED).

It’s been a steady climb to the top for Renata whose professional journey started in this field after graduating from Sir Arthur Lewis Community College, Saint Lucia, in 1998, completing an Associate’s Degree in Building Technician Studies. This then led to her employment as a Quantity Survey Technician.

It was there she realized that beyond the expected tasks that building technicians must undertake, there are other requirements – called soft skills – such as attention to details, teamwork, customer service, etc.

In fact, Renata relishes in mastering such skills because they assist in her mission to build people up and to mentor them to be the best.  That’s the same advice she would give herself.  Her mantra is: adapt and easily acclimate to new concepts even while working under stressful circumstances.

Renata continued studies to the bachelor’s degree level at Universidad Central de Las Villas, Cuba, and obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering in 2005.

She is the current holder, since 2019, of a Master’s degree from University of Leicester (UK) in Risk Crisis and Disaster Management. Over the past 21 years, Renata has held positions that thrust her into leadership positions.  Her colleagues, too always made reference to her being “a natural leader”, so naturally, she included leadership skills as part of her career advancement.

The most recent positions are testimony to this:  Project Manager/ Team Leader (2016 – 2020) with the Ministry of Infrastructure Ports Services; Senior Engineer (2006 – Current) with the Department of Infrastructure.

To her credit, and the benefit of the nation, she established the Geographic Information Systems Unit (GIS Unit) within the Department of Infrastructure; which is one of the very few GIS units within the Public Service. She supervised and managed the unit from 2013 to 2020.

Between her academic qualifications, Renata has held positions at a number of companies and worked on several internationally funded projects locally.  Much of this information is detailed in her impressive CV.  Equally impressive is the fact that Renata, who believes in “lifelong learning” has taken advantage of several workshops and short courses that helps her remain relevant in an ever-changing and dynamic engineering landscape.

SOURCE: Department of Infrastructure, Ports and Transport/SLT

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