60 second interview: Mark Cattermole, Parker Hannifin UK

Written by: Paul Fanning | Published:

Paul Fanning speaks to Mark Cattermole, Systems Manager, Parker Hannifin UK

How did you first get into engineering?
From an early age I have always had a keen interest in engineering, with a strong influence coming from my father, who as a toolmaker by trade, ran his own small engineering company in Lewes. I often used to go after school and watch him at work, and as my competence grew I would have my own projects that I could work on alongside him.

I am always proud of the most simple weather vane I made as a schoolboy that still works to this day in my parents back garden – some 35 years after I made it! With this upbringing I knew engineering was my future career choice.

What does your role involve on a day-to-day basis?
Today, I am the systems manager for Parker Hannifin UK Sales based in Warwick, and my role centres around management of our 'Value Added' activities. My responsibilities are spread across the management of a multi-disciplined team of design engineers, production engineers and assembly engineers involved in the manufacture of hydraulic power packs and hydraulic manifolds from conception to completion.

What interesting projects and technologies have you worked on?
One of the most topical and interesting projects I am involved with at the moment is our corporate support of the Bloodhound SSC project.
Parker was approached by Bloodhound to provide product and technical support in the project to design a 'car' destined to set a new land speed record, with the ultimate challenge being the breaking of the 1000mph barrier.

What new technologies excite you?
The face of engineering is continuously changing, with new technology and boundaries being pushed still further, but I guess the area that impacts my working environment perhaps the most is the area of renewable energy. Parker has been fortunate to be at the forefront of this growing technology with active involvement in both wave and tidal generation projects. I see this as a major growth industry for the future and one that is likely to benefit us long-term.

What is the biggest issue/driver facing your industry?
The UK, along with many other countries across the globe has seen a decline in the number of engineers joining the industry. Statistics will show that a greater number of experienced engineers are leaving through retirement than are joining this critical industry. This is one reason why Parker is so keen to support the Bloodhound project, as it makes one of its primary goals to become the inspiration and catalyst to inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers through an ambitious education programme, taking the project into schools and colleges.

How do you see the industry changing going forward?
As environmental concerns escalate we need to be developing products that anticipate or exceed international directives. I believe that this change will be particularly prevalent in the automotive market as solutions to alternative fuels and the harnessing of wasted energy become the focus for reducing costs and emissions. I see new technology coming, particularly through the innovative strides in material development that will change the way we think and introduce new concepts previously unobtainable.

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