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News > Former Pupil News > To engineer or not to engineer....

To engineer or not to engineer....

Make a difference, do the impossible, leave your mark, have fun. Become an engineer!
With the Nanjing team. After a large lunch.
With the Nanjing team. After a large lunch.

“I have noticed even people who claim everything is predestined, and that we can do nothing to change it, look before they cross the road.” One of Stephen Hawking's many insights.

Fortunately, we can make choices so all have opportunities to contribute in ways large and small, making our communities kinder, our society more productive and wealthier, and safeguarding the future of our environment. These goals need not be contradictory.

My route, a while ago now, was to become an engineer. To be clear, a Chartered Engineer, as opposed to the technician who services your gas boiler. Engineers are the men and women designing better heat pumps to supersede fossil-fuelled boilers. Or in my case, developing and building point defence systems to protect Royal Navy vessels, supervising the fabrication of antennas that brought colour television to the Falkland Islanders, directing software projects that provided training simulators for the Hong Kong metro, and building a USD 200 million precision machining plant in Nanjing, China. An instance from each of four decades. I've many more examples but time flies.

Chances I took to make a mark and try leaving the world a little better than when my life began. Certainly, challenges along the way: late nights, long flights, demanding customers, even more demanding shareholders, and sometimes stressed colleagues. On the other hand, great satisfaction, laughter, and enormous fun.

My fulfilment is such that as I near the finish line, it seemed time to share the modest wisdom accumulated along the way. Not through a ponderous memoir, though. I've written a sci-fi novel, now published, with two more to follow. Look out for Jimbo, an engineer and a fellow Herioter.

Life is there to be grasped. Make a difference. Become an Engineer. Use your excellent brain. Cogito, ergo sum, as a very clever guy once concluded.


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