I graduated from Oxford in 1980 with a middle 2nd, caused in no small part because I played University football for all 3 years (getting a Blue in my last year) and captained the college cricket club in my second year. I studied at Balliol where John Bridgewater and Alastair Howatson were my primary tutors. After graduating, I went to the United States and completed a Masters degree at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology researching rotating stall in axial flow compressors under Professor Ed Greitzer in the Gas Turbine Laboratory. In 1982 I joined Rocketdyne (just north of Los Angeles in California) and have worked there ever since. I started as a fluid dynamics analyst in the pump hydrodynamics group, and progressed to managing that group which eventually included all the turbomachinery fluids analysts (pump and turbine primary and secondary flowpaths). From the mid 90’s to late 2000’s I got heavily involved in what back then was called Process Reengineering and ended up leading our implementation of first generation solid modeling and PDM tools. Since 2010 I have been the Program Chief Engineer for our Clean Fossil Fueled Energy Technologies area.
Rocketdyne has provided the lion’s share of liquid propulsion systems to the US space program, and I have been fortunate enough to work technically on the Space Shuttle Main Engine, and turbopump development for several booster and upper stage concepts. I helped validate and implement Computational Fluid Dynamics in our turbomachinery design process, and put in place the infrastructure that was used for the development of our last major booster development (the RS-68 engine, currently powering the Delta IV vehicle). Rocketdyne’s heritage includes significant contributions in the Energy industry and I’m currently involved in re-invigorating gasification and oil recovery technology initially developed in the 80’s. Technically Rocketdyne is a very cool place to work – we make smoke and fire, and safely managing huge amounts of energy in as small a package as possible provides fun engineering challenges every day. I like to believe that Engineering makes a difference in the world whether it’s enabling us to improve the human condition through space exploration or applying that technology to solving pressing problems (such as environmentally responsible Energy), and because of that my career has been very rewarding. There is no doubt that the Oxford name helped get me a place at MIT and my first job at Rocketdyne, after that it’s how you perform in the workplace, and having the sound grounding in engineering fundamentals that I received from Oxford has certainly helped me in that too.