Chief Operating Officer
David’s career has been up and up, right to the very top.
When he left school for his first job, David wasn’t planning on one day leading a company. “I had no idea where I wanted to end up. I started as an apprentice, came to the UK Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA) to be a technician, got my degree, worked as an engineer. And then today I’m Chief Operating Officer running all operations at our site in Culham! It wasn’t planned progress, it sort of evolved.” UKAEA are trying to achieve nuclear fusion, the process that fuels stars. If they are successful at recreating this at a workable scale on earth, it would mean a carbon-free, boundless source of energy for mankind.
To make this happen, UKAEA rely on a team which includes scientists, engineers - and around 300 technicians. “Our business is built on technicians.”
“The collaboration between technicians and engineers is really important – neither would find the complete answer on their own but working together they find solutions. Engineers have the original idea but it’s the technicians that actually turn it into reality.”
David’s achieved a lot in his career, including restarting an apprenticeship scheme which now trains over 70 apprentices a year. But what’s been his highlight? “I’ve got a degree, I am a fellow of various professional organisations - but I think the thing that I am most proud of is my apprenticeship."
David's career pathway
- 1975 Apprentice at UKAEA
- 1980 Promoted to Technician
- 1987 Achieved a degree in engineering and became an Engineer
- 2001 Promoted to Deputy Chief Engineer
- 2005 Restarted the apprentice training and graduate scheme at UKAEA, then went on to establish the Engineering department
- 2013 Promoted to Operations Director
- 2016 Promoted to Chief Operating Officer, in charge of all operations at the Culham site