A Day In The Life - Chris Rutter, Design Engineer14th February 2017
What does your job entail?
Predominantly the development of new products, from research and concept stages through to post production. Depending on the project this may entail some or all of the following - manufacturing / materials development, upholstery, costings, budgets and rapid prototyping. Project work is periodically reviewed and we are required to present this work to management and / or the directors at weekly / monthly meetings.
Alongside project work, small production or re-design work is required to improve the final product through feedback from quality and production departments, or from feedback received from the field.
Is it 9-5pm?
A normal week would consist of 8am - 4:30pm Monday to Thursday and 8am - 2pm on Friday, however extra hours are required at busy times to meet deadlines. Visits to exhibitions and field trials often require longer hours or overnight stays. Design or project deadlines often require extra time due to the nature of the work, personal pride in your work ensures that you often put extra time in.
How did you get into this line of work?
Previous design engineer position was not challenging enough and I responded to an advertisement online for Leckey.
Outline your career to date?
After completing my Industrial Design degree from Loughborough, I worked in high end furniture design in England. I then moved to the postition of Design Engineer in a stainless steel fabrication company in Northern Ireland, working on projects which ranged from high specification items for the pharmaceutical sector to large public sculptures for local artists and councils.
What personal qualities are required to do your job?
Creative thinking and problem solving are key qualities that are required in a lot of the work we do in development. Being able to work as individual and more importantly as a team, as some projects are large enough for many people to be working on them at the same time. Good communication within the team and also within the company as we have strong links with the various departments and we need their information as much as they need ours at times. To be conscientious about every task undertaken as there are no parts on a product that are not in some way important, and it is vital that everyone has all the information they require.
Every member of the Leckey staff are very helpful towards each other and when you can help, you do. Everyone is expected to, and does, put 100% effort into their work and there is a good sense of reward when work is completed.
What are the biggest challenges in your job?
Becoming knowledgable about the complexity of the conditions that some of the children and carers have to deal with, and in solving as many of those as possible, knowing the difference and improvement it is possible to make to their lives.
There are a lot of demands on a new product from all corners and balancing the requirements of the function against the cost for example, is one of the biggest challenges. The design of a new product is an ever evolving process so keeping control of this as 'manager' of the project is important.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
I enjoy all sport particularly football, cricket and golf. I am a keen reader, cinema goer and music fan!
Tell us an interesting fact about yourself.
I have played darts against World Champion Martin 'Wolfie' Adams.... and lost. I have also played against World Championship finalist Kevin 'The Artist' Painter... and also lost!
Who has inspired you most in your life?
My younger sister is the person I most admire, despite the fact that she is disabled she has pursued her love of the arts. She attended mainstream school, has completed her degree in the area and has auditioned in London to further her career. She has never seen her disability as a barrier and was one of the main reasons I was keen to become a member of the Leckey staff.
Thank you Chris.
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