Women of Meridian - Jade Lloyd

With their parents both employed by Meridian, it’s perhaps no surprise that school holidays for the Lloyd kids can involve a day or two out at some of the company’s – and New Zealand’s – most iconic workplaces. 

“It’s really good for the kids to see what we get up to,” says senior project manager Jade Lloyd. 

“We’ve got these beautiful assets in our backyards and so many kids have never seen inside them.” 

A champion of the industry’s Girls with Hi-Vis® initiative, the veteran Canterbury-based project manager is keen to ensure as many Kiwi kids as possible have a chance to see the nation’s renewable energy generation assets at work.  

“We’ve got these kids who are growing up with these massive power stations and dams all around them,” says Jade. 

“I’m very keen to educate them and get them excited about the technical side of them as well as the environmental.” 

Having grown up in Taihape, Jade’s pathway to an engineering career began when she transferred to Taupo-nui-a-Tia College for her senior year. 

“I knew what I wanted to do but didn’t have a name for it. I defined it by the clothes I wore and the activities I did.” 

The penny dropped on a Year 12 school trip to New Plymouth, during which she met a chemical engineer who explained what she did for a living. 

“I was like ‘oh it’s called engineering’!” 

It was a career path Jade saw as delivering the best of both worlds. 

“I wanted to wear steel caps and stiletto heels in the same job – to be able to get down and grungy on the plant and yet still be able to wear nice executive suits around Wellington. Engineering really fitted that.” 

Her initial foray into the industry came straight out of high school courtesy of a scholarship working on geothermal sites around Taupō. 

Over the course of a four-year engineering degree at the University of Canterbury, Jade worked summers at geothermal and hydro generation sites, eventually deciding her future lay more in water than steam. 

“I was like ‘thermal is too complicated, hydro is the shizz.” 

After spending her final student summer at Manapōuri, Jade accepted an offer to join Meridian’s student graduate programme and became its first graduate in 2000. 

“It was supposed to be a three-year programme, but after about 18 months I was down in Twizel and one of the engineers had relocated to Christchurch, so I was offered a role as a production engineer.” 

The job involved examining the plant for issues or potential areas for improvement. 

“If something breaks you work out why it broke and how it can be fixed, but also how you can prevent it from happening again. That’s pretty important because a lot of our units are identical.” 

With a bent for the hands-on and highly-technical, Jade prefers to work on the more complex projects. 

In 2019 she featured in a Diversity Agenda article titled ‘How to keep mid-career women on track’. 

For Jade, staying on track has meant steadily progressing to more challenging and vital projects.  

“I’d like to be known as the go-to project manager – that ‘if we put Jade on this, we are going to nail it’. 

“My growth and development have not necessarily been about role changing. It’s more about the opportunity of the work I get involved with. I’m not aiming on being the next CEO or the GM of Generation or anything like that. 

“What I do want is to take on really interesting and challenging projects, and I want to bring people with me.” 

Jade and her husband – Meridian risk and compliance manager Paul Lloyd – share a passion for classic cars. It’s an interest Jade inherited from her artisan woodworker and builder father.  

“I describe myself as a ‘closet greeny’. I have many classic cars, but they don’t get out very often.  I’m usually cruising around town on my 1930s Phillips push bike! 

“I have a strong belief in reducing waste, reusing, repairing where possible and replenishing our environment however we can.  

“We are strong maintainers, fixing what we have rather than buying new. We recycle and try to reduce our plastic waste and we have planted over 100 trees on our section and last year installed Solar, which has saved us around the equivalent of 14,800km of road travel to date.” 

Now into her 25th year with Meridian, Jade recalls starting out when the entire staff numbered just 150.  

“It’s still a cool and groovy place to work. I’m very proud to work for Meridian, very enthused by the company’s intent,” says Jade. 

“We get to work on iconic national assets – and being on the right side of the ledger when it comes to environmental sustainability is even better.”

Meridian is an equal opportunity employer with Advanced GenderTick accreditation. To learn more about working at Meridian, check out our careers homepage.

Women of Meridian is a series profiling some of the amazing women working across our company, with a focus on those in roles traditionally held by men. It’s about raising the visibility of these women, and the opportunities that exist here and across our industry. As the saying goes: if you can see it, you can be it.