Who, ten years later, won the prestigious Woman of Achievement Award for 2013? Katy did!
Who started work at the age of 19, worked her way up to a senior level while taking her Master's degree at the same time? Katy did!
When Katy last year in London received the Woman of Achievement Award for 2013 at the Women in the City Awards, she said: "I hope this award encourages fellow women in my industry to be brave - to be yourself, develop your skills and grab those opportunities when they come along."
And Katy Dowding did grab her opportunity. Katy is only the second woman to hold a managing director's position at Skanska UK. Since 2012, she has been the Managing Director of Skanska UK's Facilities Services operations.
The unit offers a variety of services, including both planned maintenance and reactive repairs. A 24/7 help desk service ensures that the clients are guaranteed efficient workplaces at all times.
Clients are found in the both public and private sectors, as well as for PPP projects which comprise offices, hospitals and schools. The largest assignments are for an International law firm, Woking Borough Council and several global broadcasting organizations.
About 600 employees manage everything from stopping a leaking pipe and retrofitting, to installing a multi-ton chiller plant or an advanced electronic monitoring system.
What is the most exciting aspect of your job?
"The variety! No two days are ever the same and I love the challenges this brings," says Katy.
How do you take care of the clients?
"Taking time to listen to them and understand them. Making sure I speak to them even when they haven't got work," Katy says.
How do you develop your team?
"Really make sure I understand their competencies and understand them as people. I'm always prepared to give them a stretch challenge!"
Her past victories include winning a number of high-profile public private initiatives, also known as PPPs, such as the GBP 352 M refurbishment of the Ministry of Defence's headquarters in Whitehall and the GBP 1 billion redevelopment of Barts and The London hospitals in London.
Before Katy started with Skanska in 2003 as a Commercial Manager on the Ministry of Defence Main Building Refurbishment contract, she had tried almost every task you could image within the construction business - quantity surveying (she's a Chartered Quantity Surveyor), commercial manager, operational manager, business planning and business development.
This all came in handy when she was promoted to the Skanska UK Senior Management Team, where she is one of the brains behind Skanska's 2015 Business Plan, determining the future development of the unit. She is one of five women on the team that comprises the 20 most senior people within Skanska UK.
See more about Katy Dowding and the award at Women of Achievement Winner.