Today is International Women’s Day!

So what better excuse to celebrate the female members of the ABC team who are helping lead the way.

At the Active Building Centre we are fortunate to have some very knowledgeable, experienced and passionate female members of staff, who are all working towards our vision of a decarbonised construction sector and supporting the wider #netzero agenda.

At ABC 42 % of our workforce are female.

Here’s just some of them:

Dr Jo Atkinson

First up is Dr Jo Atkinson who works as our Building Projects Manager.

Jo leads on our commercial projects working with both public and private sector organisations, supporting them in the delivery of NetZero / low carbon developments.

She has a wealth of knowledge and experience from retrofitting and advising on new build developments, to get the best performance from buildings using the best suited technical approach.

She is a strong advocate of an appropriate fabric first approach to the retrofit and development of new buildings.

Prior to joining the Active Building Centre, Jo was a Manager at the Carbon Trust and worked on several large programmes, including the Welsh Government’s flagship Arbed retrofit programme.

It’s not just us who are lucky to have her on the team, the Sustainable Traditional Buildings Alliance also have her as Sustainability Co-Chair. 

When she’s not in work you’ll find her hurtling down a mountain bike track and touring about in her campervan.


Pragya Gupta

Joining Jo is Pragya Gupta who works as Building Physics Engineer.

Impressively she has a Bachelor of Architecture, MSc in Architectural Engineering: Environmental Design, is certified Passive Haus designer and a registered architect in India.  

When asked why she wanted to work in the built environment sector, Pragya said “I have always been intrigued by the art of designing buildings and the global challenge of making the construction industry greener, which drove me towards environmental design, which is an amalgamation of art and building physics.”  

When she’s not in work she loves to take long walks in and around her home city of Bath.


Abhilasha Somana

Abhilasha works as a Building Physics Engineer at the Active Building Centre and is involved in undertaking energy performance analysis and carbon assessments of buildings.

Prior to joining ABC, she completed her MSc in Sustainable Architecture: Evaluation and Design from the Oxford Brookes University. Between her degrees, she worked as an architectural intern at Kembhavi Architecture Foundation and Varna Shashidhar Landscape Architects.

She believes it is necessary to approach design of the built environment in a sustainable and climate-responsive manner. She is determined to use her expertise to bring about radical change in the built environment.

In her free time, you can find her reading a book or painting scenic pictures.


Rachel Wells

ABC’s Finance Director Rachel is an energetic, commercially minded, fully qualified accountant.

Before joining the Active Building Centre she was Head of Finance at Hydro Industries, and part time consultant specialising in start up and turnaround companies.

She previously acted as Director of Financial Operations of a VC backed medical device start up company.

During her career she has gained valuable experience in all aspects of financial management, including preparation of information for an IPO, M&A activities, financial reporting, management reporting, Sarbanes Oxley compliance and working capital management.

Her experience spans numerous sectors from SME’s through to large international manufacturing companies as well as housing association finance. Additionally she has seven years part-time lecturing experience.


Kate Reed

Kate is a qualified accountant and Financial Controller at Active Building Centre Ltd (ABC). 

She is responsible for all aspects of financial management within the business, as well as maintaining compliance with all external regulatory and funding obligations. 

Prior to joining ABC Kate worked in a range of sectors including 15 years managing multimillion pound European Social Funded (ESF) projects, before moving into senior finance roles in various SMEs in South Wales including Finance Manager at a large group of Pandora franchises.   

During her career she has gained valuable skills in aspects of grant funding, financial management, management reporting, HR and GDPR.

In her free time Kate enjoys baking, yoga and walks on the Gower coastline.


Mathilde Castagnet

Mathilde is ABC’s Programme Manager, working as part of the Operations Team and the Project Management function of ABC.

Mathilde has many years’ experience managing large scale R&D projects for key funders including UKRI, Medical Research Council, Economic and Social Research Council and Welsh Government.

She brings a wealth of experience in programme management having previously successfully managed large scale projects in biosciences, big data and sophisticated data linkage for scientific analysis and service improvement within Swansea University.

In her previous roles, Mathilde also successfully led the creation of key partnerships and secured funding from UK research organisations.

She’s passionate about exploring innovative solutions to benefit future sustainability and the circular economy.


ABC is also blessed to have 3/5 women of our Non-Executive team, here’s just one of them:

Kerry Mashford

Kerry is a Chartered mechanical engineer and has worked for many years in sustainable manufacturing and construction, energy transition and the circular economy. 

She initiated and led Innovate UK’s Building Performance Evaluation programme which began in 2009 and carried this interest into her role as Chief Executive of the National Energy Foundation (2012 to 2018).

She led the Each Home Counts Measurement, Monitoring and Verification workstream and has chaired and co-authored the British Standard on Building Performance Evaluation of buildings in-use, published in January 2022.

She was awarded an OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours in 2017 for her services to energy and the built environment and is currently planning her fourth self-build home.

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