2-4 December 2024 | ExCel London

Getting down to the nitty gritty

The facilities market needs to bring more women into the sector. Vicky Lopez from De-ice offers her career advice to encourage women into the unique challenges of winter risk management.

"This is an exciting industry to work in; one moment we can be in full-on planning mode, working to take the business to the next level. At the drop of a hat, it can be all hands to the pump, as the whole team focuses on helping to manage harsh, wintry weather and protecting our clients’ sites – keeping them operational and safe and working around the clock. This is the time when planning goes out of the window, and we focus on tackling the conditions head on. 


"The winter risk management industry has remained male-dominated since its beginnings more than 20 years ago. I was one of the only women working in the sector when we set up in the late 1990s and sadly little has changed since that time. I have always worked hard to encourage more women to forge a career in the winter maintenance sector.


"The diverse nature of what we do has meant that I remain interested in the winter maintenance sector; my passion for the work we do is as strong as it was when we started. I work hard to educate both myself and the team on the new techniques coming through.”

Here are my tips to women looking to succeed:

  • Always question, never doubt. Imposter syndrome is all too prevalent amongst female workers; you are there because you deserve it!
  • Have a proper conversation with yourself and find your true passion – one that will get you out of bed every morning and raring to go.
  • Education doesn’t stop at university. We live in a knowledge economy so constantly seek to educate yourself.
  • Be prepared to get your hands dirty and learn every aspect of the job, so that you can eloquently talk about, and understand, the minutiae of the company.
  • Always look to help other women on your way up; the more we do this the quicker the working world will balance, and provide role models for youngsters.

Women should pursue a career, regardless of whether the industry they operate in is considered as being male dominated. Winter risk management is a really worthwhile and interesting field to become involved in, and the opportunities are endless – for all genders.

About De-Ice: 

De-Ice is one of the UK's longest-established and leading winter gritting and snow clearance specialists. The company provides winter maintenance services, helping to keep businesses, hospitals, schools and retail outlets safe and open during extreme weather. De-Ice is focused on ensuring customers' sites are made safe and remain open during periods of adverse weather. It has the latest gritting equipment and expertly trained operatives. The company has built a bespoke technology system which monitors the weather and triggers service delivery alerts. In the event of a possible claim, De-Ice customers can rely on an extensive service audit trail.