Rupert Pugh

Professional Development Case Study

Name: Rupert Pugh

Age: 43

Job Title: Head of Structures and Survivability Maritime Platforms

Company: QinetiQ

Professional Body (Member of): Inst. Phys

Professional Qualifications: BSc Physics, Salford University, MSc Computational Physics, PhD

.... follow what you enjoy and what interests you ...

Brief Summary of education, career and professional progression…

I left school in 1991 and went to study for a BSc in Physics at the University of Salford. I followed this up with an MSc in computational physics and finally a PhD. My thesis was on Brillouin Light Scattering from Magnetic Multilayers and thin films.

I wasn’t sure what do with this once I left university so I decided to move into software development. Essentially something that gave the technical experience in a varied environment without the limitation of physical experiments. My first job was with Salford Software where I helped to develop, promote and support their range of Fortran and C++ compilers. From there I moved up to Scotland to become part of the dot com boom. I took a job working for a small start up company called Kymata who designed, developed and manufactured planar light lightwave telecommunication components, devices which are used to manage communication signals on optical fibre networks. I had a number of roles in the business from developing test systems within the reliability test laboratory, and the R&D lab to maintenance and development of the main production test systems. Kymata was taken over by Alcatel Optronics UK Ltd and I began work on porting the systems which made their Fibre Bragg Gratings from French to English. I left Alacatel and began work with QinetiQ where I worked on the Survive vulnerability assessment software, developing and implementing algorithms to allow the vulnerabilities of maritime platforms to be assessed before they get into harm’s way. I moved from the vulnerability team to the Noise and Vibration team and developed similar software as well as performing noise rangings on maritime platforms.

I left QinetiQ in 2007 and joined Petroleum Experts, a small company based in Edinburgh which develops oil field production optimisation software. I worked on their integrated field management tool which uses live field measurement data to perform analysis of the production systems and allow the production engineers to make decisions on how to manage the field.

5 years ago I returned to QinetiQ to work on the Survive software; however I was promoted to be the survivability team lead and became responsible for the delivery of the team’s output as well as recruitment, business development and planning.

After several years working with the survivability team, I was asked to look after the whole Structures and Survivability business within QinetiQ’s Rosyth office. This involves the management of 26 engineers, scientists and project managers across 5 teams from advanced maritime composites, shock testing and of course survivability assessment.

I am currently working towards an MBA with the Open University.

Key projects undertaken throughout career

I have worked on a large number of projects one of the most impressive is the Integrated Field Management software for Petroleum Experts. The ability to rapidly use, analyse and present live data to engineers really gives them an advantage in the industry. I developed a piece of software that was designed to allow gas production models to be updated in real time, thereby improving production forecasts by 50%.

My involvement with the Survive has been very interesting, being able to learn about weapon effects, maritime platforms and the systems that sustain them. A key project was the development of a fast running fire model within the software which allows fire spread, and fire mitigation measures to be assessed quickly and effectively.

What advantages do you feel your career path gave you?

Completing all my initial education in one go, and then focussing on a single capability has worked very well. My Physics background has been applicable to all of the industries I have worked in – and probably many more. This approach has given me an excellent perspective and experience of how software is developed and how business objectives are achieved.

Advice for future engineers or those interested in the industry

It’s important to follow what you enjoy and what interests you. The maritime industry covers a lot of disciplines so there is plenty of opportunity to get involved in something that interests you.