Could you tell us about the background to your career?
I have had a long career in the Aerospace and Defence industry after graduating with a BSc Hons in Electronics Engineering from Northumbria University. My first job was as a development engineer in Radar Signal Processing and had the opportunity to work within a very specialised, specialist team. I moved quickly into team leadership and management positions within engineering, realising that the thrill of the job for me was driving delivery of the product rather than the technology itself.
My career history has spanned some 35 years and I have been the Engineering & Programmes Director for two large UK defence prime contractors before joining Cobham in 2015. During my various roles I have also been a visiting Professor at Cranfield University and am a fellow of the IET. My current role is the SVP of LCM and Programmes. I have responsibility for leading functional excellence in Portfolio, Programme and Project Management across the business.
What are the highlights of your career so far?
My career highlights have included a number of organisation transformation projects delivering new engineering capability to enable the businesses long range strategic plan. This has included the introduction of mature Systems Engineering capability, processes and people, as well as improved Engineering leadership. I have also led the delivery, negotiation and programme set-up of a strategic bid worth $1M.
I have learned that transformation programmes are the most rewarding programmes that can be delivered; leaving your mark where something has been positively improved as a consequence of your vision and leadership gives you a great satisfaction.
Why did you chose a career in engineering?
As my Dad was an Electrical Engineer, I have always been exposed to the marvels of making things, learning at a young age how to solder in my Dad’s garage. I would like to say that I always knew I would become an engineer but I really didn’t know what I wanted to be until I left collage and then had to decide… I have no regrets in the path that I have taken and I still love working in an industry that solves our modern day problems through technology and engineering know-how.
What are the challenges of your job?
With responsibility of driving functional excellence into the Project and Programme Management function across the group, some of the challenges in the role are working a plan to meet the needs of each of the business units given the different levels of maturity and different business priorities. There are also lots of different stakeholders in delivering successful programmes and so stakeholder management is key to this and the other functional roles within the business.
What are your thoughts on the importance of diversity within engineering/in the workplace?
I have always been fortunate to work within very diverse teams. We work in a world where complexity is the norm; working with people who approach problems differently and offer alternative strategies is key to a successful team. Who would want to live in a world where we all thought the same?
Why should people consider a career in Cobham?
Cobham is a great place to work with a wide portfolio of products and projects. Cobham also offers a great opportunity to work with a diverse group of people with different backgrounds and geographic cultures. We all have one thing in common however; we can all change something to help to transform the company!