Kate Mills

Head of Bid Management

Kate has 30 years as a Sales and Marketing professional under her belt, kicking off her career selling cakes and biscuits across the UK. Her pathway into construction was fortuitous, a chance conversation in the school playground and a role with a global engineering firm was the catalyst for the past 17 years in the industry.

As a passionate ambassador for diversity in construction, she actively encourages young women to consider a career in the industry. Kate was the first woman to chair The Building Forum Devon & Cornwall in 2019 and has been a committee member of South West Women In Construction for 15 years, beginning her tenure as Chair in 2022.

Biggest career influence?

My mum. She left school at 15 with no choice and no qualifications. She set up her own successful business when all her friends were settling into family life. Mum has always encouraged me to ‘Go For It’ and given me the strength to be myself.

Best networking event you’ve been to?

The Building Forum Devon & Cornwall Dinner is a blast! Held annually in November it’s a chance to meet with the local construction community, catch up on all the news and stay out far too late.

What do you like most about bids and tenders?

I just love the challenge of assembling a tender, particularly multi-disciplinary submissions. Working with bid professionals from other organisations is such a fantastic opportunity to share best practice, market knowledge and of course – winning!

What are the key challenges that affect your profession?

I’ve noticed in the last 5 years the level of information required in the tendering process is increasing. The quality of the documentation provided to tenderers, however, is on the decline. I’d like to see bid professionals invited to help shape future changes to public procurement – after all we see the good, the bad and the unintelligible on a daily basis.

Best book you’ve read?

A scientist at heart, The Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins hugely opened my eyes to how we and our fellow animals have evolved. The author puts a biological perspective on behaviours that are driven by an overwhelming desire for our genetic material to be carried into future generations.  ‘Lightbulb Moments’ in every chapter – well worth a read!

What is your proudest achievement?

My children, all 3 of them. Despite obstacles and challenges along the way, they have grown to be kind, considerate and hardworking individuals.

Industry bodies and memberships:
  • Association of Proposal Management Professionals (APMP)
  • Chartered Management Institute Coaching and Mentoring Level 3
  • Chair of The Building Forum Devon & Cornwall 2019 – 21
  • Chair of South West Women in Construction 2022 – 24
  • STEM Ambassador
  • Building Plymouth Steering Group 2020 – Current