What we do
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How long have you worked at AWE?
I started work with AWE in September 2007, so I’ve worked here for 10 years.
Describe your role?
I am head of the production engineering area. I am accountable for the delivery of the manufacturing products and processes, through its people and capability, enabling the technology centres to deliver against our programme and project requirements. I define our strategic goals and operational plans and am accountable for the engagement, motivation and performance of over 200 people.
For the past 10 years, I have also been the Head of Profession for Manufacturing Engineering across the company, mentoring, coaching and developing our people for professional registration with their chosen professional institution.
What is you previous experience?
I started my engineering career and completed a four-year mechanical engineering indentured technical apprenticeship, I worked as a design engineer designing products and special purpose equipment for ten years and then moved into project engineering, production and manufacturing engineer, at several different manufacturing companies. I have over forty years of experience working in an engineering environment, twenty five years within the space, civil and military aerospace industries. Working in concept design, engineering, project management, quality, tooling, through to manufacturing, inspection and supply. During my career I have had a wide experience of many different types of materials and manufacturing processes and I have written and presented technical papers, at world-wide conferences.
What is important about your discipline?
The design of the manufacturing process is fundamental to the delivery of a product. The skills required are broad covering manufacturing processes, materials, tooling and containers.
Who do you work with?
As Head of Profession, I work with other Heads of Profession, the IMechE, IET, CMI and the IED. As Head of Production Engineering, I work with many stakeholders on a daily basis, from our frontline workers through to the warhead design authority and external regulators.
What is a typical day like?
There is no real typical day, it is always interesting and challenging. We are designing safe and efficient manufacturing processes, including design and provision of tooling and transport containers. These cover a very wide range of materials and some are very challenging.
What projects are you working on?
We work within six Tech Centres (factories if you like), to manufacture their components and could be working on several projects within each Tech Centre. We use new technology where we can, including additive manufacturing, specialist machining centres and coordinate measuring machines. This requires a very diverse mix of skills and experiences; our current team comprises ex apprentices, trainees, graduates, skilled, competent and professional engineers.
Share your views on the importance of research or STEM
STEM is extremely important to AWE and the engineering profession. We need to promote engineering and manufacturing in schools and encourage uptake of technical subjects and spark pupils’ interest at an early age.
What do you think is the biggest global challenge for your discipline?
There is still a real shortage of skilled engineers and the biggest challenge is attracting new engineers to our manufacturing industries.. There is an amazing amount of new technology available to industry and I believe that it could be used far more effectively.