Clear Seas Ahead

Whether it is sailing, researching, building aircrafts or designing tapestry, WSP | Opus’ Wendy Turvey can tell quite a tale.

Joining the firm in 2001 in our Hamilton office, New Zealand (NZ), Wendy has enjoyed a vast variety of roles in her time. Now calling Wellington home, she is the National Manager at WSP | Opus Research. In this capacity, Wendy delivers a highly specialised level of consultancy that provides future-thinking research and design projects for clients.


“Working in the research centre gives you the pleasure of seeing innovation happen in its infancy,” says Wendy. “Being at the forefront of research gives us the ability to help conceptualise ideas that engineers can use to develop great design solutions.


“It is a pleasure being able to work with so many talented people with extraordinary technical skills. We analyse everything from developing new sustainable roading materials, to analysing human interactions with our infrastructure, to developing remote infrastructure monitoring systems. We have provided research and guidance notes to the government around responses to natural hazards and resilience and have even developed instrumented smart bicycles.”


“For riders, the new instrumented bicycle measures how fast cars are travelling, how far away they are, the roughness of any given surface and also provides a panic button to measure rider discomfort. By analysing the data provided by these instrumented bicycles, we can deliver information to the end-user that can be leveraged for future regulatory work, the service of the network, and as a tool to promote rider safety.”


Flexibility in the Workplace

Following a 12-month voyage around the South Pacific Ocean in 2000-01, Wendy found a role within the WSP | Opus Environment team. From there, she has broadened her experience to span property, planning, heritage management and business development.


“I’ve always enjoyed the multi-disciplinary aspect of the firm,” explains Wendy. “I believe that if you give people flexibility in their roles, the business will be better off.”


Speaking on the topic of gender balance and flexible work options, Wendy maintains that by instilling a level of confidence in women in the firm, they can hold their own with males of the same calibre. This can also liberate them and provide exposure to greater opportunities.


“I’m not a believer in the 9-5 traditional work day,” she says. “I think a person’s value should be based on their work not their hours. The recent push into flexible working conditions is likely to have a positive impact on the industry. There are obvious benefits now, but I think you will see a genuine benefit down the track.”


Smooth Sailing?

A self-anointed hobbyist, Wendy has a passion for the arts and the ocean. Apart from her South Pacific expedition, Wendy and her husband also sailed large parts of the world on ‘Topsy Turvey 1, 2 and 3.’ She says, “The ocean is the last bit of freedom in the world, we had nothing but ourselves to rely on, so our destiny was in our own hands.”


Whilst her sailing days are behind her for now, other hobbies have included, creating a fully certified experimental aircraft with her husband, the designer and Wendy the apprentice mechanic, designing miniature railways, motorcycle racing with her husband having raced in the world-famous Isle of Man TT.


Right now, Wendy’s focus is on arts and crafts including designing tapestries.


She concludes, “If I can’t play, then I’m not happy. Life should always remain fun!”


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