Professional Development Case Study
Name: Roy Quilliam
Job Title: Business Development Director
Company: BMT Defence Services
Professional Body (Member of): IMechE
Professional Qualifications: MSc Marine Electrical Engineering, University College London , BSc Electrical Engineering, RMCS Shrivenham , HND Electronic Engineering, City of Bath College
..... offers unrivalled opportunity for variety.....
Brief Summary of education, career and professional progression
I began my working life as an electrical engineering apprentice with the MoD, moving 250 miles and leaving home aged 16 to do so. The MoD was kind enough to sponsor me through University and provide a structured training and development programme. I gained valuable work placements during that period, travelling the length and breadth of the UK and spending time in dockyards, shipbuilders, manufacturers sites, and onboard ships, testing and setting systems to work. My time with the Royal Corps of Naval Constructors also gave me 4 months at sea on operational submarines and ships. I left the MoD to work for Vickers Shipbuilding and Engineering Ltd (VSEL, now BAE Systems Submarines) where I worked on a bid for the replacement LPD project (now HMS Albion and Bulwark) and on the SSN20 (now Astute) Class submarine concept design phase. I joined BMT in 1990 as an engineer, became Chartered and progressed through to becoming Technical Director in 2003 and Business Development Director in 2014.
Key projects undertaken throughout career
I’ve worked on almost every type of Royal Navy ship during my career. The highlights include shaping the Astute Class project in the early days to deliver a winning design whilst the project was still in competition. Also helping Thales secure the winning design for the QEC Aircraft Carrier whilst that programme was in its competitive phase. I have also contributed to the Type 45 design, upkeep of Type 23, Type 42, CVS and RFA vessels. More recently the RFA Tide Class project with BMT’s Aegir design being chosen as the winning offer and which I look forward to seeing as a real ship in UK waters later this year.
What advantages do you feel your career path gave you?
The apprenticeship and graduate development experience I got from the MoD was second to none, something I only realised after I’d finished that developmental period and applied my learning to real work; it was a great base to begin from. To be honest I didn’t really plan my career path but have taken every chance to say yes to opportunities and give myself greater choices. It’s ended up giving me a huge variety of experience meaning that I’ve been able to contribute to a wide range of business opportunities and help the business grow.
Advice for future engineers or those interested in the industry
This is a sector of industry which offers unrivalled opportunity for variety, from designing new ships and submarines to investigating defects on old in-service ships, there is always a problem to be solved. Variety prevents boredom and allows learning from one project/work area to be transferred to another which is a way of making the whole greater than the sum of the parts. Always grasp opportunities to develop yourself personally and professionally.