A Day In The Life - Fiona Bennington, Design Engineer14th February 2017
What time did you wake up at this morning?
6:20am but I didn't manage to peel off the cosy duvet until 6:30am!
Describe your job in 5 words
Creative, technical, fun, rewarding and challenging.
Where do you spend your day?
At my desk, in the workshop or in meetings, sometimes out on trial with prototypes, visiting factories and customers.
What does your job entail?
We more or less take products from idea to launch, which involves a lot of different things. We work on ideas with families, make prototypes (sometimes by hand), test them, get things wrong, learn and improve (rinse and repeat). We also figure out the best way to manufacture things, design in a very detailed way, test parts to destruction, calculate costs, create engineering drawings and plan production to name a few!
Is it 9-5pm?
It's technically 8am - 4:30pm Monday to Thursday and 8am - 2pm on a Friday. Project demands vary a lot and when we are busy, we sometimes work long hours to get products ready on time.
How did you get into this line of work?
I studied Product Design Engineering at Queens University, Belfast because for as long as I can remember, I have been making things and I couldn't imagine doing anything else. I worked for a few years developing disaster relief products before I joined Leckey as I'm really interested in design to improve lives. It's great to go home at the end of the day knowing that you have spent your time making a real difference to families.
What personal qualities are required to do your job?
Determination and ability to learn quickly. We have to constantly question our own work and push ourselves to try new things. It's also just not possible to know everything so we need to learn very quickly from therapists, part manufacturers, material suppliers etc.
What are the biggest challenges in your job?
We are really only ever doing new things, it's the nature of our work and some things inevitably don't work out as expected. For me, the biggest challenge is to not take it personally, to dust myself off and start again. I'm still learning!
What is the most rewarding part of your job?
Seeing a child's face light up when we test a prototype and knowing we are onto something!
What is the best piece of advice you could give to a new person joining your team?
Chat to everyone - I have had so many really great ideas and insights from people not in the design department. It's good to get outside the bubble.
What do you do in your spare time?
I don't like doing nothing... I bake, cook, do a lot of Yoga and make things! I run a not-for-profit group of designers, engineers, artists etc. who offer their time for free to worthy causes who need some creative minds, it's called The Potting Shed. I also manufacture and sell Hug wearable heatpacks. A few people on the design team have their own products, we can't help it.
Any fun / interesting facts about you?
I'm studying Mandarin Chinese and can hold a basic conversation. I'm hoping to take my 4th international HSK exam this year!
What time will you get home at today?
Tonight not until 9:30pm, as I'm going straight from work to night class. I'll be in the office until about 6:30pm but don't worry I brought my dinner with me!
Thank you Fiona.
If you have any suggestions on who you would like to take part in our 'Day in the Life Of' series, email us at email@example.com