Lucy Wanjiku Mutinda is a mechanical engineer specialising in onsite waste water treatment and recycling.
Eng. Lucy is also founder & CEO of Ecocycle Ltd; the first vice president of the Institution of Engineers of Kenya; 2021 Top 50 Africa Business Heroes, Ali Baba Foundation; 2021 Allianz Scholar & Fellow for MBA (Analytics, Innovation & Leadership) at the European School of Management & Technology, Berlin; 2019 Invest2Impact Award Winner on Climate Change Action & Environmental Protection; 2019 Environmental Conservation Champion Finalist DIAR Awards; Top 40 under 40 Women in Kenya, 2018, Business Daily Newspaper.
The mother of two shared her Career Path with the Sunday Nation.
“I grew up in Mutheheni, Machakos County. I attended two primary schools, Kaliambeu and Makutano boarding school for class 4-8. I then ended up in Muthetheni Girls High School, all within my locality. I transitioned to Moi University to study Mechanical Engineering, then known as Production Engineering.
“Upon graduation, I worked in the automotive industry for three years and got a full scholarship through GIZ for the Afrika Kommt programme on leadership and management training for one year in Germany.
I have since undertaken other short-term training in the US and Sweden to upskill, and currently an ongoing MBA (Analytics, Innovation and Leadership), through an Allianz full scholarship.
“Upon leaving campus, I joined DT Dobie as spare parts technical sales intern for four months, and in January of 2005, I was hired by Toyota Kenya as a service advisor. The job was both technical and a baptism of fire in grasping customer service and managing irate clients. This opened up my mind that in addition to my technical engineering background, I needed to work on my soft skills.
“I moved on to General Motors East Africa as process engineer overseeing the car assembly line, quality control and managing a large team of technicians. Somehow, I wasn’t settled with routine production activities, so I shifted interest to technical sales of Autodesk software at Gath Management Limited, where I discovered my potential and prowess in business development and technical sales.
“While at Gath, I secured the German scholarship and relocated to Germany for one year. While there, I discovered the wastewater recycling technology to protect the environment from sewer pollution. When I returned, my interest was in this idea, which is part of environmental engineering. I was hired as a projects engineer for four years overseeing design, installation, servicing and maintenance of onsite wastewater recycling systems.
“In 2014, I moved on to found my firm, Ecocycle Limited, partnering with a German manufacturer to design, supply, install and maintain onsite wastewater recycling systems, which is what I am fully engaged in to date.
“My mother influenced my care for the environment. Despite our home being in a semi-arid area in Machakos, it has always been filled with trees. My husband has been extremely supportive and allowed me the space to prosper; we support each other. I also have mentors who keep guiding me, pointing out opportunities, and encouraging me to grow. While I only had 12 years with my father, he inspired and instilled ambitiousness in me. He had a big heart, supporting almost an entire village. This has influenced me and I do not struggle with giving back to society.
“Key decisions I have made along the way include quitting jobs without second thoughts when I needed greater challenges, relocating to a foreign country at a young age for further training, and quitting employment to found a company without much capital.
“To the youth, there’s no wasted opportunity; every opportunity is a chance to develop skills. Be bold enough to take on leadership and be part of the solution.”
My current role and scope entails being the lead Engineer & Technical expert, overseeing designs, installation, service and maintenance, Ensuring Legal compliance, Company Mission execution, Policy & planning, Business Development, Management & administration, Financial management, Developing company policies, Project management & implementation, Staffing & training, Human resources affairs, Technical Business development, Marketing & sales management, Leadership and reporting to Board of Directors all this coupled with lots of Mentorship.
My advice to the youth is that there’s no wasted opportunity, every opportunity is chance to develop skills. The youth should be bold enough to take on leadership and be part of the solution.