Dan Spinney

Professional Development Case Study

Name: Dan Spinney

Age: 35

Job Title: Managing Naval Architect

Company: BMT Defence Services

Professional Body (Member of): RINA

Professional Qualifications: MEng, MSc

I believe my broad engineering experience allowed me to identify which job I found most interesting and am happiest doing

Brief Summary of education, career and professional progression…

Twelve years after graduating, I am Managing Naval Architect, leading the Structures group in the Naval Architecture department at BMT Defence Services in Bath. I started my higher education at Edinburgh University in 1999, where I studied a MEng in Mechanical Engineering. After graduating in 2003, I joined Rolls Royce on the two year, IMechE accredited, Naval Marine graduate training scheme. During the scheme I completed nine placements throughout the Naval Marine, Commercial Marine and Aero businesses in areas as diverse as gas turbine experimental operations and submarine nuclear reactor integrity, together with a variety of training courses. In particular, my interest in Naval Architecture was spurred on by working at the Ulstein and Nordvestconsult ship technology departments in Norway. After completing the Rolls Royce grad scheme I decided to pursue my interest in Naval Architecture, and studied an MSc in Maritime Engineering Science at the University of Southampton. My initial aim was to use my Naval Architecture qualifications to get into yacht design, but I quickly realised that there are limited career opportunities in that field. I found that after yachts, the most interesting things afloat are warships, so after a brief period with a commercial ship management company I joined BMT Defence Services. At BMT I’ve gained a wide range of experience in ship and submarine design and in-service support. I’ve also been lucky enough to complete a 6 month exchange with another BMT company in Melbourne. My work at BMT allowed me to fulfil the final criteria to achieve chartered engineer, which I was awarded by RINA in 2009.


Key projects undertaken throughout career

Although my career has given me considerable experience in ship design, my main tasks have involved in-service and future nuclear submarines. I’ve completed a number of projects supporting the MoD in identifying and mitigating risks with the aim of extending the service life of the Vanguard Class submarines, the UK’s current ballistic missile fleet.

What advantages do you feel your career path gave you?

I think my career route allowed me to try the different career areas that exist within marine engineering. This has given me a broad understanding of the industry and exposed me to the international engineering opportunities available. Ultimately I believe my broad engineering experience allowed me to identify which job I found most interesting and am happiest doing.

Advice for future engineers or those interested in the industry

Even with the current state of the economy there is still significant investment in defence, and the naval sector gives you a chance to get involved with some of the largest engineering projects currently being undertaken anywhere. Also as the Royal Navy now has to do more with less, this actually leads to more interesting technical challenges for the engineers, scientists and technologists involved.