What does a normal day at Hybrid Air Vehicles (HAV) consist of for you?
Lots of spreadsheets, lots of meetings and lots of banter!
Tell us a bit more about your role in the programmes team.
I am a Senior Project Coordinator, reporting to James Bell, our Programme Director. So far, the main focus of my role has been to set up the Programme Management Office and project controls. These are the various processes and metrics to ensure that the Entry Into Service programme stays on track and within budget and that any risks and issues are identified, logged, actioned and resolved as early as possible.
I have written several process documents and a project management handbook to ensure that good project management practices are followed, and I have evaluated software tools to be used for recording risks, analysing their impact and building the project schedule.
What made you pick a career in aerospace?
I actually spent the early years of my career working in the mobile phone industry in hands-on engineering roles, as well as operational, project management and customer facing roles. I worked for O2 as a handset test engineer around the time they launched their 3G network. I was involved in testing the very first mobile phones that could do video calls and use the Internet, which was very exciting!
By chance, I ended up working as a Programme Manager for a small aerospace manufacturing company and loved it from day one, so decided to stay in this industry. I was involved in manufacturing titanium components for the Rolls-Royce Trent XWB engine, and also doing some development work for their new UltraFan engine.
What is your favourite engineering innovation?
This is a tough one as most engineering is very exciting! Frequency hopping, which is a technique used in short range wireless communications such as Bluetooth to prevent eavesdropping and interference, would be one of my favourites. One of its early inventors in the 1940s was Hedy Lamarr, who was not only a self-taught wireless and aerospace inventor but also one of the most glamourous actresses of Hollywood’s golden era! Being a girl in STEM myself, I am always keen to raise awareness of little-known female STEM pioneers and their inventions.
What excites you most about the Airlander project?
I feel I am very fortunate to be working for HAV, as I have been a massive fan of the Airlander for a long time. It is amazing to be part of such a special project, which is also so well-known and well supported by the general public and local community. It is also very rewarding to work with so many highly talented people – all of our engineers and senior management are so knowledgeable, yet really down-to-earth, friendly and good fun to work with.
Any advice for the young people of tomorrow looking for a career in STEM?
Love what you do and do what you love. Be curious and ask questions. Believe in yourself and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Don’t be scared of complex technical concepts – anyone, absolutely anyone can understand science and technology, some of us just need a bit more time!