- Shortlisted from 250 nominations from 10 countries
- Innovator, business transformation expert, female business leader, engineer
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Victoria Vasiliauskaite is co-owner and head of operations at Roadways (the trading name of Hailsham Roadways). She has recently been announced as a finalist in the Highways category of the Women in Construction & Engineering Awards (WICE).
Victoria was shortlisted out of 250 nominations from 10 countries: Belgium, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Chile, Poland, Spain and the UK.
Victoria is an expert in business transformation and has led projects for a multitude of different companies across the world from SMEs to blue chip corporations. She achieved a Master’s in Engineering at Vilnius Gediminas Technical University in her home country of Lithuania; followed by a Master’s in International Business Management. She then completed an EMBA programme at the Baltic Management Institute and EMBA in Business Administration and Management, General, at the Copenhagen Business School. She worked at executive level in multi-disciplines in the normally male-dominated agriculture, insurance, technology, and healthcare sectors across a number of continents.
Victoria has been a senior auditor, and a lecturer at the International School of Law and Business in Lithuania. She has also been Lithuania’s representative to the European Commission in Brussels and Courts of Auditors in Luxembourg.
Five years ago, Victoria and her partner were looking for a fresh challenge. They purchased a long-established road construction company – Hailsham Roadways (now Roadways). It has since become one of the largest employers in East Sussex as well as a regional leader in road construction in the South-East. The company was steeped in traditional methods and culture which meant there was ample potential to transform it into the modern, ethically based organisation it is today.
Roadways has invested heavily in the last five years in new equipment, technology, training, and innovation in more ethical ways in which to construct highways. The company works with local authorities, Highways England, developers and architects across the South.
Victoria’s role includes ensuring the business has the right culture and skills to grow from strength to strength. This last year has seen profits increase despite the disruptions caused by the pandemic. Roadways’ staff are key workers as they keep the highways of the South-East flowing and well maintained so that other key workers can get to their destinations safely and without delay.
The company has a loyal, conscientious, and happy workforce of 70+ directly employed staff.
Victoria and her partner are deeply committed to ensuring Roadways offers clients environmentally friendly products and the latest technology to make carbon savings, along with safe working practices and first-class quality projects. Roadways is the first construction company in East Sussex to offer recycled road construction materials that save 40% of CO2 in comparison to the traditional materials. This means longer-lasting roadways, less disruption long-term, and savings for taxpayers.
Victoria site manages each major project, liaising with clients, partners, contractors, operatives, local authorities, and regulators during the planning and execution process.
Safe construction or no construction at all
Health and safety is the prime concern in road construction, followed by employees’ mental health and wellbeing. An independent survey shows a 96% safety record and highlights that the team has the freedom and ability to raise any safety concerns, with management listening and responding.
Victoria instigated free regular counselling services and visits from massage therapists for the teams. A new addition to the wellbeing offering are free daily yoga classes. In normal times, there are frequent social events to ensure a cohesive company culture but during lockdown, there are virtual fun events such as quizzes and cookery classes for team members and their partners to attend.
Local charities and not-for-profits benefit from Victoria’s hard work too. Every employee donates at least one charitable day a year to a good cause, and as a company Roadways aims to complete at least one charitable project each month (lockdown allowing).
Victoria has proved that gender, language, background and class are no barriers to achieving what you want to do – if you work hard, plan and organise appropriately, are flexible, reasonable, and have a good sense of humour, anything is possible.
People rarely expect a civil engineer, company owner, and highways construction business leader to be (relatively) young, blonde and female. She takes great pleasure in seeing their faces when they realise it’s her! On a serious note, she has dealt with C-suite executives, government leaders, peers, and every level of staff over the years. Taking Roadways in five years to a regional construction leader is a massive achievement. They are key workers and they are winning large contracts. They are also on a growth trajectory the company has never seen before.
Victoria is also an Enterprise Advisor for East Sussex County Council’s Careers Hub, supporting Hailsham Community College, providing strategic advice on skills, employability, and young people’s careers. She is passionate about encouraging young girls and women to consider the STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering and maths).
Outside work, family life takes precedence. When she was growing up in Vilnius, Victoria was a multiple Lithuanian champion in water skiing and alpine skiing. Nowadays, Victoria calls Eastbourne her home town and she and her partner have a small daughter. Victoria enjoys sports especially cycling and running.
About the company
Established in 1966, Hailsham Roadways (Roadways) has over 50 years’ pedigree in civil engineering and asphalt surfacing. The company takes a bold approach to new technology, sustainability and the circular economy – applying these principles to its work in highways, groundwork, traffic management, construction materials, concrete, and recycling.
The company is also a regular supporter of local charities in the South East, a fair wage employer, and believes firmly in creating worthwhile jobs to support the local community.
Victoria and partner James Bailey bought the company five years ago, although Hailsham Roadways has been established over 50 years. During the last five years the company’s turnover increased by over 50%. Huge investments have been made into machinery, people and development of construction waste recycled materials.
Roadways won multiple awards over the last few years including:
- Employer of the Year, Woman in Business Awards
- Large Business of the Year, Business Excellence Awards
- Overall Business of the Year 2019, Business Excellence Awards
- Investor in People, Little Gate Farm
More info on www.road-ways.co.uk