International Women in Engineering Day 23rd June
International Women in Engineering Day takes place on 23 June annually.
To help celebrate this day, we asked our own Managing Director, Beverley Ford some interesting questions.
What is your favourite thing about engineering?
The thing that continues to amaze me about engineering are the historical achievements (eg. Stonehenge, Clifton Suspension Bridge – how did they do that???!!!!) and the continual modern day achievements (3d printing!!!). For Rota Val it is how we consistently achieve rotor clearances of <0.25mm, now that is precision.
What’s been your route to success?
I started my career as a legal secretary and being administratively trained has helped in many other roles I have had. I fell into an accounts role at quite an early age and eventually decided to gain the qualifications for the experience I had. I qualified as a Certified Chartered Accountant in 2007, just as I took the role of Finance Director at Rota Val. I worked closely with the Managing Director until his retirement in 2010 and after a brief spell of a third party in the MD role I took over as MD in 2013.
What’s your advice to young women wanting to have an engineering career?
My advice would be perseverance, and always keep questioning everything. Just because something “is” doesn’t mean to say that is “should be” . From an educational stance, work hard with your mathematics.
What are the main advantages of being a women in engineering?
Men have an inherent trait to help. I find that they are willing to explain things to me so I can have an understanding of the products/problems to hand. This has led to times where the problems were in “the basics” which they wouldn’t normally have questioned as they go straight for the intricate details. They also use me as a benchmark, if they can get me to understand why something should be done then it is usually the right thing. If they cannot get me to understand then it is normally not a viable option.
What have been your highlights so far?
My highlight has been instructing our main product to be taken back to the drawing board and watching as it evolved into the high quality valve range we have today.
Why do you think fewer people have taken up Engineering?
Engineering is a very broad subject and many people believe that factory based engineering is a low skilled option for those that are ‘good with their hands’. This is not true, our machinists have to have a high knowledge of mathematics and have to read and interpret drawings – something that I cannot do! To then convert this into a program on a machine and achieve such precision work is very highly skilled.