Tell me what your role involves?
I lead the Stress engineering team at Acro, where our goal is to minimise the risk of structural failures occurring on our seats during test and in-service. We do this by estimating the level of internal force or ‘stress’ generated in a design when subjected to various loading scenarios and compare this against the material limits. We use several different techniques to do this ranging from simple hand calculations of passenger abuse loads to complex dynamic simulations of aircraft crash events.
Much of our work is focussed on supporting the development of new products but another responsibility is to assist the production team in the event of a non-conformance by checking if such parts are structurally fit for purpose.
A very important requirement of my role is to support the personal development of my team and assist them in growing and achieving their career aspirations. We meet regularly to discuss their personal development plans, to set objectives and review progress towards their goals.
What is a typical day like?
A typical day starts by reviewing simulations that have been computing overnight. Any modifications are made before re-submitting the runs to have results ready for the following day.
We often witness structural testing of our designs either on Acro’s test rig or offsite at facilities like Millbrook. We’d follow this up by checking correlation of our predictions to test and implement any changes to our best practice if required.
The rest of our day is normally spent working on stress calculations and giving feedback to help the designers. This could be at the screen or in formal design reviews. We might also be supporting production with any issues they have relating to stress and attending team meetings or 1-2-1s with our managers and direct reports.
What attracted you to Acro?
I was impressed by the elegance and simplicity of Acro’s designs, using relatively few separate parts but also demonstrating some great innovation.
It was different to more traditional aerospace companies, not constrained by exhaustive process or legacy design and recognising the importance of employee wellbeing and personal development. I liked the fact that the design, development and test teams were all on the same site and there was an opportunity for me to grow and make a positive difference.
What do you enjoy about working at Acro?
It’s busy and there’s always something happening but I still feel valued as a person rather than a resource. There is a strong culture of working and progressing together as one team that’s not hindered by unnecessary politics. Success is recognised and celebrated at all levels but when things go wrong it’s an opportunity to learn and improve, not apportion blame.
What did you do before you came here?
I worked for 15 years in stress engineering and have been fortunate to work on some great projects in wind turbines, supercars, F1 and armoured vehicles.
Tell me something interesting about yourself
I grew up in a village in West Yorkshire, famous for being the home of David Brown tractors and tv comedy ‘Last of the Summer Wine’. I have played in brass bands for many years and studied euphonium at the Royal College of Music.