Two pioneering women lead £90m Highways Framework

By Anita Jaynes on 19 October, 2021

Claire Coetzee and Suzie Mott, who head up the Framework Contracting division for family firm M J Church, have helped the company win a £90m deal which secures work for their 400 staff for the next six years. 

The company has been selected by National Highways to deliver one of their most prestigious packages, working on highways projects across the A road and motorway network across the south of England – from Cornwall to Kent (known as the south super region).

Pivotal to the bid that secured the work, and now heading up the framework, are Claire Coetzee, who is Framework Manager for MJ Church and Suzie Mott, who is Commercial Manager. 

Ben Staff, Group Managing Director, MJ Church, said, “We are thrilled to be chosen as one of the civil engineering contractors to keep the UK’s main road infrastructure fit for purpose. 

“We are proud to have been chosen to deliver this work over the next six years as this gives our committed workforce confidence in our future. 

“The work Claire and Suzie have done – not just on the bid, but also on the existing framework with National Highways – has been central to our success and they deserve high praise. We know they will run this for us with the same professionalism and enthusiasm over the coming months and years.” 

The company, which started life in 1974 as a small plant and tipper hire business from its HQ in Marshfield near Bath, has grown to become a multi-million pound earthworks, civil engineering, plant and transport and waste management contractor. Its lorries and plant are a familiar sight on construction and highways projects across the region. Founders Mike and Paula Church are still involved in the company and their son Tom is the plant and transport director. 

 M J Church has numerous sites including its head office at Marshfield, contracting division office in Chippenham, five waste transfer stations in Swindon, Allington, Malmesbury, Warmley and its HQ at Star Farm, Marshfield as part of its waste division, and a separate operation at Wick Quarry  in South Gloucestershire producing high quality natural and recycled aggregate. All these sites are supported by a significant plant and equipment fleet, all owned by the company.

Claire Coetzee, who lives in Bristol, is a civil engineer who has worked with the company for nearly five years. She has worked in the construction industry for 26 years and has been part of the teams involved in such as building the Queens Jubilee Bridge in London.

She said, “I love my job and I’ve loved being an engineer from the very first day my career began. I was always interested in construction, went on to do construction at college and later a degree in civil engineering at the University of Plymouth. Working with the team at MJ Church has been wonderful, it’s a company which inspires and cares for its staff and I’m looking forward to leading the framework team through its next chapter.”

Suzie Mott, who lives near Chippenham, will be managing the finance and contracts around this £90m deal. She joined the company two years ago after more than 18 years working with a railway contractor. She has Masters degree in quantity surveying from South Bank University.

She said, “I’m proud and excited to be part of the M J Church team which will take these works forward. I believe we have won this contract because National Highways has come to trust and believe in us as we work very hard to be open and transparent in all that we do.” 

Securing this contract means MJ Church are also looking for talented people to join their growing team in roles which include quantity surveying, project management, engineering to name a few. For more information about the roles on offer and supplier opportunities visit:

Pictured above: Claire Coetzee (right) and Suzie Mott, who will be heading up the £90m project with National Highways (the new name for Highways England) for M J Church.