Richard Westgarth

Professional Development Case Study

Name: Richard Westgarth

Age: 60

Job Title: Strategic Major Programmes

Company: QinetiQ

Professional Body (Member of): Institution of Engineering and Technology (MIET), Fellow of the Royal Institute of Naval Architects (FRINA)

Professional Qualifications: Bachelor of Engineering (Honours)

The industry offers unique opportunities to work in multidisciplinary teams

Brief Summary of education, career and professional progression

I have 40 years’ experience in a wide range of UK Maritime Projects.  I graduated from Liverpool University and joined GEC Special Projects Division working initially in Research and Development for Sonar and Acoustic Analysis Systems before moving into Design and Engineering Management roles.  On leaving GEC I joined Plessey Naval Systems as a Systems Analyst before being appointed as the Systems Design Manager for the Vanguard Class Sonar Suite Prime Contract Office.

I was a founder of Systems Engineering and Assessment (SEA) an engineering consultancy company where I undertook a wide range of activities supporting MoD projects together with work outside of defence in the railway and information systems arenas.

I joined DERA (now QinetiQ) in 1997 to lead work on Future Ship and Submarine programmes in support of project teams based in Abbeywood. During the MoD Smart Procurement initiative in 1998, I was seconded from DERA to be an industrial member of the Smart Procurement Initiative change management team providing support and liaison between the MoD and industry, developing engagement and working on policy aspects.  This led to further work on MoD change programmes including working with senior programme boards and policy development.

I provided support to the UK MoD on options in support of the White Paper on the UK Deterrent and more recently led the Client Adviser Team supporting the MoD Future Submarine Programme. I am now working on Strategic Planning and am extensively involved on behalf of the Marine Industries Alliance on the Marine Autonomous Systems Initiative and supporting QinetiQ activities on the Defence Growth Partnership.  I sit on the Transport Executive Committee of the IET. I recently co-authored the Global Marine Technology Trends 2030 Report.


Key projects undertaken throughout career

I have worked on the majority of Submarine Programmes starting with work on Resolution Class Submarines in the 1970’s through early studies and R&D for Swiftsure (towed array Sonar), Upholder (Feasibility Studies and supporting the sale to Canada), Trafalgar (Towed Array Sonar), Vanguard Sonar Suite Design and Integration, S&T Update Studies, Batch 2 Trafalgar (now Astute) Studies, Future Attack Submarine concept phase (Now MUFC) and Successor pre-concept and concept phase. In addition I have work on surface ship Combat Systems and am now working on Maritime Autonomous Systems.

What advantages do you feel your career path gave you?

I have worked on a wide range of projects and engineering management roles, frequently working in multidisciplinary teams drawn from across the client and industrial base, this has given me a very broad understanding of the Maritime Industry, enabled me to undertake a wide range of management roles and always look for interesting challenges.

Advice for Future Engineers or those interested in the Industry

The Maritime and Naval industries require a very diverse set of engineering, science and technology skills, the work is challenging, varied and offers a wide range of career opportunities. The industry offers unique opportunities to work in multidisciplinary teams across a range of companies and develop engineering management careers on complex projects.