Professional Development Case Study
Name: Richard Craven
Job Title: Senior Analyst, Maritime Platforms
Professional Body (Member of): Ceng, MIMechE
Professional Qualifications: BEng (Mechanical), PhD (Impact damage of composites)
...... if you are passionate about something then go for it ......
Brief Summary of education, career and professional progression…
I’ve been working for QinetiQ for 18 months and I am really enjoying the technical challenges, breadth and variety of tasks I have taken on in my role as a Senior Analyst. I have always been fascinated with how things work, so engineering seemed the logical career choice. I completed my BEng (Hons) in Mechanical Engineering at Loughborough University graduating in 2005 with a First class degree. I was approached by one of my professors about studying for a PhD in Tribology. A PhD in Tribology didn’t appeal; however, it made me consider postgraduate study as an option. Which until that point I had not considered.. After considering which aspects of engineering interested me and where I would like to be based for the duration of my PhD I applied and was accepted to study a PhD on Modelling Impact Damage in Composites at Imperial College London. I successfully defended my thesis in early 2010 and then started looking for a job with which to apply my Composites and FEA analysis skills. I was lucky enough to get a position within the FE team at Vestas Technology R&D Ltd, on the Isle of Wight and spent 3.5 years there working on blade design and analysis and learning software design and coding to develop bespoke blade design and analysis tools and completed my Design for Six Sigma Green Belt. Looking for a new challenge and to broaden my engineering experience I was approached by a wave energy company in Edinburgh looking for a structural analyst and I took up a position at Pelamis Wave Power, where I was responsible for structural analysis of the next generation of Pelamis Wave Energy Convertor as well as leading the on-going verification and validation activities of the prototype Pelamis machines. When Pelamis went into receivership in November 2014, I was lucky to quickly find a new job at the Rosyth office of QinetiQ where my role is split between, structural analysis of ship and submarine structures, composite materials for maritime use and software development of structural analysis tools. I achieved my CEng status with the IMechE last year and am now a CEng mentor for QinetiQ.
Key projects undertaken throughout career
I have worked on a variety of projects over my career including design of the Vestas V164 wind turbine blades. Leading the development of Blade Analysis Toolkit a bespoke tool set for the automated design and analysis of a wind turbine blade. I have also worked as part of the team to design a 1MW wave energy convertor the Pelamis P2E.Since joining QinetiQ I have work on projects on the ageing of composite materials, the design of composite submarine structures and on the development of software for the structural analysis of submarines.
What advantages do you feel your career path gave you?
Completing a PhD at a research university allowed me the freedom to focus on developing my technical skills in an area of engineering that really interested me. It also gave me the freedom to attend conferences and meet fellow researchers and world leading experts. This enabled me to take responsibility for my own development and research from an early stage and gave me project planning and management skills and allowed me to enter the commercial sector with a proven and valuable specialist skill set.
Advice for future engineers or those interested in the industry
There are many different career paths to join marine engineering, and many different roles within the industry if it is something that interests you and you are passionate about go for it, and pick the route that feels best for you industrial experience can be just as valuable as academic qualifications.