Alex Whitehead - Project Engineer
Triumph profile: Project Engineer
Graduated in 2004 with a Masters degree in Mechanical Engineering from Loughborough University.
I first joined Triumph as a student during my University Placement year. Triumph offered me a graduate job at the end of my placement year and I returned as a graduate Design Engineer in September 2004. The main factors that encouraged me to return to Triumph after University were the variety and depth of different tasks that I would be involved with.
Working in the Design Department as part of a relatively small powertrain design team, I have responsibility for the entire development process for a wide variety of motorcycle components and systems, taking the design from the initial motorcycle concept stage through to production. This involves producing designs for motorcycle components using 3D CAD in addition to analysis and simulation software. Having full responsibility for these components means that I am also involved in development and testing which can include anything from monitoring in-house engine dyno testing, designing specific test equipment or visiting a proving ground to run a test session either in the UK or abroad.
As well as daily discussions with other internal departments, I am in regular communication with suppliers from all over the world. I have also had the opportunity to visit a number of these suppliers, travelling within Europe as well as the Far East.
I was promoted from Design Engineer to Project Engineer in July 2008. As a Project Engineer, in addition to the main responsibilities of a Design Engineer I also have increased responsibility in a number of areas. I am required to deputise for my Team Leader in management level review meetings as well as taking greater responsibility for planning and monitoring projects. Occasionally I am also required to supervise and assist less experienced members of the team, delegating work where appropriate.
Triumph is keen to develop the skills of its employees within Design and I have attended several training courses to support my development as an engineer. These include technical/analysis based training such as Pro/Engineer 3D CAD and Pro/Mechanica Finite Element Analysis in addition to project related training such as Project Management and Communications. I have also been trained to use Autoform pressing analysis software and am responsible for providing pressing analysis support for the powertrain design teams within the Design Department.
As well as my day-to-day design responsibilities I also chair a Noise, Vibration and Harshness (NVH) Working Group within the Design Department. This Working Group is responsible for the development of knowledge and best practice for NVH related issues across all the project teams within the Design Department, including the maintenance of several in-house procedures.
I have seen Triumph expand rapidly over the several years that I have been with them and it is a fast moving and exciting place to work. The aspects of the job that I find most enjoyable are the continuous challenges involved in the development of a new motorcycle and the opportunity to gain experience in a wide variety of different areas. The most rewarding part of the job is seeing motorcycles that you have contributed to in production and being ridden on the roads. Also the positive feedback you receive from magazine reviews and customers at somewhere like the NEC Motorcycle Show makes all the hard work worthwhile.