Advisory Board Members

Advisory board members

David beattie

David Beattie
General Manager

Area of Expertise – Manufacturing/Engineering Supply Chain

I started my career at GTMA as Membership & Communications Manager in 2011 but rose through the ranks and since July 2016 now hold the position of General Manager. GTMA is a UK-based trade association representing leading companies in precision engineering, rapid product development, toolmaking, tooling technologies, metrology and other critical manufacturing related products and services.

Previous to that I worked within an Engineering & Technical Recruitment capacity for six years.  Other roles include working within Education, Financial sectors as well as Regional Newspapers.

I came across to England from Belfast at the age of 16 to sign apprenticeship forms with a then “first division” club. I completed a two year apprenticeship before signing professional forms. During my short lived footballing career which ended due to injuries, I achieved International Caps at several levels.

Pamela Cain

Pamela Cain
MarchantCain Design Ltd

Pam was a senior administrator at a computer software company before undertaking a communications, advertising and marketing course.  She began marketing imported manufacturing software and in the process organised promotional events and seminars.  

With lots of unanswered questions about the sustainability of life in the marketing fast lane she took herself off to university to study geography as a mature student where she met Rob Marchant, future husband and business partner.  

After university Pam joined a national NGO where she project managed environmental improvement activities with local community groups and small businesses.  After becoming regional project manager for business services programmes, Pam became more and more involved in research for Rob Marchant’s nascent company MarchantCain Design and decided that she needed to concentrate her efforts on the company.  

Having made the decision to leave the NGO she was soon responsible for marketing MarchantCain Design as a design and development company in the automotive and technologies sectors and, as all new business owners have to multi-task, was also responsible for managing HR.  The company is now successful, growing strongly with an enviable reputation for high quality design and manufacture of complex mechatronic components.  

With the advanced engineering and manufacturing sectors needing huge number of engineers now and into the future Pam makes it her mission to inform young people about the wide range of careers in engineering and goes into schools, colleges and universities to help them plan their engineering career paths.


  1. Tell us about your current role: My current role is trying to find enough staff to support our growth plans.  We have a lot of very exciting work on at the moment but might end up with a bit of a staff shortage if I don’t pull my finger out, although this is not a new story in advanced engineering.  The main task as the moment is sifting applications and interviewing candidates whilst trying to keep the rest of the business running smoothly.  I am also responsible for setting the personal development review programme, which is behind schedule due to resetting all our progression paths for new starters in all disciplines, not just engineering.  My concern is that the marketing programme is also getting bogged down by having to spend more time on HR.  Every year we try to demonstrate something different and new at the Advanced Engineering Show and every year I get the jitters that it will not be completed on time.  The same scenario is beginning again this year, with no engineers available to build my demonstration unit.  To complicate matters we are also looking for additional premises for ourselves and a client.  There is never a dull moment.

  2. Tell us about your organisation and its contribution to the industry including driving innovation: When people ask how we incorporate or generate innovation in the company it seems a strange question because it is implicit in everything we do.  All our work is bespoke, often using new technology or established technologies in new ways and so every project is approached from a clean sheet perspective.  Having said that, we embed everything in engineering first principles and have strong industry structures and processes in place to support our automotive OEM clients.  Our core competencies for marketing purposes are in mechatronic components and mechanisms; vehicle door systems including window lift mechanisms and electrochromatic glass and in active aerodynamic components – so changing the shape of the vehicle to make it perform better, more efficiently or allow it to go places it wouldn’t normally do.  On the strength of our 11 year history and reputation we are now approached by clients to undertake far more complex and wide-ranging projects from electric vehicle components to bridge parapet design.  We have facilities for low volume assembly of the parts we have designed.  Our clients sometimes take a while to get used to the idea that we can design and manufacture the parts that they need for their new model, low volume vehicles.  Are we design and prototype engineers, or manufacturers?  We are both and our low volume clients are delighted that they have found a one-stop shop for components that, very often, they cannot get anyone else to produce.

  3. What do you feel are the greatest achievements in engineering in the past decade? A lot of the achievements of the last 10 years were in preparation for many years prior but we have seen the blossoming of the iPhone and associated technologies such as touch screens and social media.  From an engineering point of view we have seen the widespread dissemination and use of 3D printing but again, not new.  However, one engineering achievement we have yet to see reach its full potential is graphene.

  4. What advances excite you the most in engineering? I’m not an engineer but I sit in the middle of an office surrounded by engineers and it’s my job to keep an eye on what is happening in the engineering world.  What excites me most is the realisation that sustainability is not just a buzz word but needs to be taken seriously.  So, whether it’s using lightweight materials and composites to replace heavier or polluting materials, using engineering to realise the potential of sustainable and renewable energy, or engineering to help people live more sustainably, I take a real interest in developments.

  5. What are areas in the industry that you feel need the most research? Industry 4.0 and automation are likely to be the biggest disrupters but no-one really knows how it will affect us as human beings.  Some pundits say that it will create jobs, others that it will lead to mass unemployment.  I’m sure someone, somewhere is running the risk assessments and refining the algorithms but it would be nice to have crystal ball to know where safeguards are needed.

  6. Are there any key changes in the industry that need to be made? More companies, big and small, but especially small, need to open their doors to young people and invite them to see how exciting engineering can be.  It’s no good everyone moaning about the shortage of engineers or how young people are not work ready when they don’t even know what happens behind closed engineering doors.  It is our responsibility to solve the skills shortages by shouting from the rooftops what a great career engineering can be.  But young people are not mind readers, they don’t know what engineering is and often their parents, friends and teachers can have a negative influence on them because they only know engineering from seeing dirty, smelly, noisy factories in films and old newsreels.  Industry needs to change minds.

  7. What effect do you think Brexit will have on the UK engineering industry and, specifically that in your area? I have absolutely no idea – and I don’t think anyone does, no matter what opinions they have and no matter what they would LIKE to happen.  What I know is that we in engineering will make the best of whatever the situation throws at us and will move heaven and earth to keep our companies going in the right direction.

  8. Do you think that the UK engineering industry can compete on a global scale? Please explain your answer. Of course!  British engineers are some of the most innovative, creative and competent in the world.  Our universities are full of not just British but many overseas students who come to learn from the best.  What we have to do is make sure that we stay at the forefront of innovation and creativity which is what our national psyche allows us to do.  Other nations, for many years have been ruled by authoritarian regimes which have stifled any independent thought.  They are catching up but we are ahead in innovation and high-end, advanced and accurate engineering disciplines and we can maintain that if we invest in young engineers and allow them to be creative.

  9. What can the UK engineering industry do to improve its position in the global market place? Continue to innovate, explore and use the latest technologies, cross-fertilise ideas between industries and keep our minds open to opportunities which play to our engineering strengths.


Michael Collins
Marketing & Sales Director
Penso Group

I am a Non-Executive Director with over 20years of demonstrated experience in the automotive industry

  1. Tell us about your current role: I have been Marketing and Sales Director at Penso Group, an engineering consultancy,  for six years. Penso Group is also involved in the design and build of circa 1,000 vehicles per annum, and over the last five years has heavily invested in new lightweighting technologies to facilitate High Volume Composite parts and vehicle manufacturing.  In line with the continued success and growth rate of the company, we have recently expanded our sales network. Penso Group now has sales representatives in Germany and Italy.

  2. Tell us about your organisation and its contribution to the industry including driving innovation: Penso Group is a global manufacturing specialist, providing lightweight engineering services to customers in the automotive, rail, aerospace and defence sectors. Driven by innovation, we pride ourselves on pushing the boundaries. Penso Group has invested millions of pounds into new plant and technology that enables us to manufacture carbon fibre parts in minutes instead of several hours.  

  3. What do you feel are the greatest achievements in engineering in the past decade?
    One of the significant achievements in transport has been the adoption of new powertrains and light-weighting technologies. The use of hybrid and zero-emission vehicles will further advance this technology adoption.  With these new technologies vehicles will need to be lighter, thereby putting Penso Group into a unique position with our lightweight multi-material expertise in metallic and composites competence.

  4. What advances excite you the most in engineering? The industry is fast paced; it embraces new and advanced technology. I think the most exciting time in my career for automotive is happening now. The industry has never changed so much in such a short space of time. The advancement of multi-model solutions, modes of transport and the ownership model is probably the most fast paced and cutting edge it has ever been.  I am totally envious of all the new engineers who are entering this marketplace at a step change moment. 

  5. What are areas in the industry that you feel need the most research? In my opinion, the whole ownership model is changing. There  will always be a place for the car, but the ownership model, its usage pattern and mode of propulsion will change and change rapidly.

  6. Are there any key changes in the industry that need to be made? With the implementation of new technologies, we need to think about a complete transport solution.  We need to embrace a stakeholder framework and seamlessly work with the Government,  Academia, Utility and Energy Companies and car manufacturers to ensure the right solution is developed.

  7. What effect do you think Brexit will have on the UK engineering industry and, specifically that in your area? Brexit provides a level of uncertainty because it is change and the unknown.  In the short term organisations will be cautious, however I believe the UK as a Nation is great in the face of change. Brexit  has happened, and we have to embrace it and face new challenges. I believe that companies who encourage change and are very technology focused, like Penso Group, will see a huge benefit out of Brexit. I also think that the current position of our economy makes it very attractive for the UK to export.

  8. Do you think that the UK engineering industry can compete on a global scale? Please explain your answer. Yes, I believe the UK is already competing on a global scale. When we talk to our customers overseas, the UK is perceived as one of the leading  engineering centres of excellence.  It also needs to be considered how much the Government is investing into the Science and Engineering sectors, evident with all of the Catapult Centres.  The investment in future technologies will enable the UK to become world leading and grow our economy. Penso Group are at the forefront of technology amd working with a number of the Catapult Centres, we are really seeing the benefits  of having clients overseas.

  9. What can the UK engineering industry do to improve its position in the global market place? I believe the UK manufacturing sector needs to promote its skills and competencies to the wider audience.  This is why events such as the Advanced Engineering Show, hosted at the NEC Birmingham, are vital to our industry.  We need to be promoting how good we are as a nation and the Advanced Engineering Show is an excellent example of how we could and should be doing this.


Mike Loughran
Automation & Software CTO
Rockwell Automation

I have been working in the field of Manufacturing and Industrial Automation since graduating from Liverpool John Moores University with a B.Eng Hons Electrical & Electronic Engineering degree.  I have worked with many blue chip and SME companies in both manufacturing and infrastructure to help them streamline, automate and optimise their production environments

Throughout my career I have worked in a number of differing industries helping them set out their automation strategy, how they can balance obsolesce versus innovation to unlock the potential of integration of new and existing technology, and create a smart factory which can help  to drive increased overall business profitability.

Over the last 4 years I have been an evangelist for the Industrial Internet of Things (IOT), and have worked closely with companies to help them implement and unlock the many benefits it can provide. I have a passion for working with companies to help them shape the future of UK manufacturing for the better.

I see the businesses both struggling with the challenge and grasping the opportunity that technological advances present.  And are fascinated by the massive increase of devices, mobility of the workforce and integration of big data analytics in shaping the future of manufacturing for the better. As a result, a critical aspect of my role is to help customers improve their visibility of manufacturing data and encourage the evolution of best-practice operations to drive increased overall business profitability through having a Connected Enterprise.


  1. Tell us about your current role: I am senior manager responsible for the Architecture & Software industrial automation business in the UK & Ireland. The Rockwell Automation Connected Enterprise improves customer visibility of manufacturing and industrial processes, using Internet of Things, data analytics and mobility to drive better decision making which is complemented and informed by government and industry initiatives, such as Industry 4.0 and Smart Manufacturing. I manage a highly skilled team of individuals with both sales and engineering responsibilities, working with them to achieve their true potential.

  2. Tell us about your organisation and its contribution to the industry including driving innovation: Rockwell Automation, the world's largest company dedicated to industrial automation and information, makes its customers more productive and the world more sustainable. Throughout the world, our flagship Allen-Bradley® and Rockwell Software® product brands are recognized for innovation and excellence. Rockwell Automation is built on a strong foundation of integrity. Our reputation for quality, reliability and innovation is represented by the brands our products, software and services. As we increase our offerings, we remain keenly focused on enhancing our unique technology differentiation and delivering integrated, value-added solutions. Smart manufacturing is the gateway to digital transformation. Connected smart devices open new windows of visibility into processes. Data and analytics enable better and faster decision making. Seamless connectivity spurs new collaboration. The Connected Enterprise makes all this possible. It converges plant-level and enterprise networks, and securely connects people, processes, and technologies.

  3. What do you feel are the greatest achievements in engineering in the past decade?
    •    The integration of IT (Information Technology) with OT (Operational Technology) in manufacturing businesses.
    •    The impact of disruptive and innovative technology in society and and the benefits this can offer.

  4. What advances excite you the most in engineering?
    •    Product innovation and disruptive technologies
    •    The merging of technology groups Information Technology & Operations Technology and Information Technology (IT/OT) in industry and the innovations / opportunities it brings.

  5. What are areas in the industry that you feel need the most research?
    •    Linking the enterprise to operations,
    •    Implementing secure digital manufacturing

  6. Are there any key changes in the industry that need to be made?
    •    Address the skills gap shortage and encourage new graduates and apprentices into industry / manufacturing.
    •    More governmental sponsorship and promotion of smart factories, digitisation and support for small and medium enterprises to become the factories of the future.

  7. What effect do you think Brexit will have on the UK engineering industry and, specifically that in your area?
    •    It could offer both opportunities and challenges, opportunities to promote UK investment in becoming an advanced digital manufacturing based economy, and challenges to ensure we can attract the right skill set to help us achieve this.

  8. Do you think that the UK engineering industry can compete on a global scale? Please explain your answer.
    •    Yes, and we are demonstrating this is a number of areas already such as automotive, aviation and Food & Beverage.

  9. What can the UK engineering industry do to improve its position in the global market place?
     •    Advertise the UK’s great historical and current history of engineering innovation around the world.
    •    Offer global business a vision for development in the UK, provide the engineers of tomorrow from STEM, further education and continuous personal development train establishments.
    •    Lobby for proactive support from the government, to support UK manufacturing and its commitment to support this as a major part of the UK’s GDP contribution.


Sameer Savani
Technology Advisor

Sameer Savani graduated with a first class Masters degree in Physics from University College London in 2002, specialising in fluid dynamics. Following five years of stealth technology research within the UK MOD, Sameer was recruited by the Aerospace and Defence Knowledge Transfer Network to develop and progress the roadmaps within the UK’s National Aerospace Technology Strategy – which today forms the basis of a £4bn joint industry-Government investment in Aerospace technology. In August 2010, Sameer joined ADS – the UK’s trade organisation advancing the UK Aerospace, Defence, Security and Space industries – as its Technology Advisor across all sectors, which includes the Digital Manufacturing agenda.

Sameer’s role involves advising the UK’s industrial strategies in those sectors, influencing Governments and agencies on all matters related to research, technology and innovation, as well as advising ADS’s 1000+ members on research and innovation opportunities, such as the Horizon2020 programme. During the world-renowned Farnborough Airshow, Sameer is lead for Futures Day (the industry’s single largest STEM outreach activity), Innovation Zone (dedicated exhibition of the UK’s R&T sector) and the emerging Aerospace 4.0 Zone.

Sameer is married, has two young children, enjoys playing badminton and the bagpipes, supports a number of charitable activities, and is the head of public relations for a local charity with global reach.

  1. Tell us about your current role: My role here at ADS is really interesting and broad ranging. Innovation as a route to competitiveness, growth and productivity improvements have always been the backbone of ADS’s sectors, but is enjoying particular attention from Government at the moment. For those funding programmes flowing from Government, my role is all about encouraging participation from ADS members to take advantage of those opportunities. Meanwhile Brexit and Industrial Strategy both have innovation at their core, and we hope Government is in the market for good advice from our sectors on both of these important policy areas. My role is to ensure our Policy and Public Affairs team are armed with the right messages to ensure ADS’s sectors find favour in the emerging landscape. My role also gives me the freedom to operate in emerging topics, those that will be of most importance to businesses in the near future. Digital Manufacturing is just one of those, and while I’m learning the sector specificities of this incredibly wide topic, I am already identifying and progressing specific areas of interest to ADS members. And then there’s the Farnborough Airshow – something im hugely passionate about and so im incredibly

  2. Tell us about your organisation and its contribution to the industry including driving innovation: ADS is the UK’s largest trade body for the Aerospace, Defence, Space and Security industries, and directly represents over 1000 members, most of whom are SMEs. With our network of regional partners, that number is over 3000, with supply chain companies in all regions and nations of the UK. A big part of the role of ADS is to encourage Government and Industry to work together to maximise global growth opportunities by co-investing in UK industry’s competitiveness. The Aerospace Growth Partnership is one example of how ADS is supporting one of our sectors to do this – delivering a prioritised industrial strategy that is delivering for the sector. For example, the AGP gave rise to the Aerospace Technology Institute, which represents nearly £4bn of joint investment in Aerospace technology that is anchoring manufacturing in the UK for years to come. Encouraging investment in innovation, and shaping public funded innovation programmes for the benefit of our sectors, is one of the five pillars in ADS’ business plan, so it is one of our top priorities. 

  3. What do you feel are the greatest achievements in engineering in the past decade?
    You cant ask a scientist that! In all honesty, I’m still in awe every time I see a plane take off – hundreds of tonnes of steel, harnessing some of the laws of physics to defy other ones. To think, some of the metals inside the engine operate at temperatures 200 degrees beyond their melting points, and engine fan blades face forces of over 100 tonnes each – all part of a system that contains over 30,000 individual components, and that’s just the jet engine. It’s a truly remarkable feat of engineering that happens every day and that we take for granted. But to be honest, as a physicist by training, I have to say the Large Hadron Collider is at the top of my list – it just makes it in as it was switched on in September 2008. The 27km circular tunnel met up with itself with a mere 1cm error; protons arrive in the LHC travelling at 0.999997828 times the speed of light; and it’s vacuum is comparable to outer space. So much of the LHC and what goes on at CERN represents the frontier of science, engineering and ingenuity – it is without doubt the most ambitious ever scientific undertaking.

  4. What advances excite you the most in engineering? Data! All aspects of what we can do, and what we will be able to do, with data from an engineering perspective is hugely promising. Half of the data in the world today was created in the last year alone – think about that for a second. As we learn to harness the power of that data, share it, analyse it, use it to teach machines and allow it to give us previously unknown insights, the opportunities for engineering and manufacturing in particular are really exciting. Data will be the golden thread throughout the value chains of the future. Even today, manufacturers can gain valuable actionable intelligence by applying analytics to the data they have today, so this is something everyone is going to have to get on the journey for. 

  5. What are areas in the industry that you feel need the most research? Manufacturing Engineering has perhaps been somewhat neglected while the focus has been the products of the future. In today’s competitive world, how you make things is as important as what you make. Having said that, we are redressing the balance – increasingly, I am seeing large scale research and technology programmes focus as much on manufacturing capability as product performance. Research also feeds the skills agenda, and from my conversations with companies, the most acute skills shortages are in manufacturing engineering. While there have been huge strides made in manufacturing technology, will we have the MEs on the shop floor with the right skills to deploy it?

  6. Are there any key changes in the industry that need to be made?
    Although it sounds cliché, the industry is facing a culture shock with the dawn of digitalisation. Strong leadership and cultural change are going to be needed up and down the supply chain if Aerospace and Defence manufactures are going to take part in the fourth industrial revolution. This is not a technology challenge, it’s one of people. The Operational Technology and Information Technology sides of organisations are going to have to come together in a way that they have never needed to before. Existing workforces are going to need to be re-skilled with digital capabilities or other higher-value functions, such as design – as lower value tasks will be more efficiently carried out by machines – we will need more machine operators than machinists. And all the while, young people entering the industry will expect to be working with technologies that are at least on par with the smartphones and tablets that they’ve grown up with. 

  7. What effect do you think Brexit will have on the UK engineering industry and, specifically that in your area? While we don’t understand the details of the nature of the deal being sought, both the “divorce settlement” or future trading relationship, everything is up grabs. We urge the Government to push for deal that secures access to the customers, suppliers, skills, R&D and influence critical to our sectors’ global competitiveness. Specifically, we are asking Government to secure the following:
    •    Deliver a Brexit deal that sustains our global competitiveness
    Our sectors need a smooth transition to a new relationship with the EU, or risk seeing the costs of doing business rise and the UK’s international reputation for innovation and job creation fall.
    •    Access to and influence in the European Aviation Safety Agency
    Remaining a member of EASA regulatory regime is the most cost effective and practical solution to maintaining safety, accessing global markets and attracting global investment.
    •    Inclusion in collaborative European space and R&D programmes
    Participating in programmes like Galileo and Horizon 2020 gives UK companies the chance to collaborate with international partners, and to access funding, expertise and facilities.
    •    Trade with the EU Single Market without burdensome barriers
    Our sectors use just-in-time processes to compete globally. They need tariff-free access to the Single Market without burdensome customs procedures or time-consuming customs checks.
    •    Access to the skilled labour required to maintain the UK’s global competitiveness
    If the UK is to remain attractive to world-class skills in order to stay at the leading edge of innovation, then the Brexit deal should secure free, flexible movement for skilled employees.

    ADS will work with Government and Industry through the Brexit process to try to secure all of these priorities.

  8. Do you think that the UK engineering industry can compete on a global scale? Please explain your answer. Yes, we certainly can. But we have to Innovate to stay ahead of the competition, and we need to move fast in transforming industries, such as Digitalisation. The UK has always been at the forefront of these kinds of developments and I’m confident, that with the right partnership approach between Government and Industry, we can compete and thrive on the global stage. If you look at what the Aerospace Growth Partnership has achieved through such close collaboration across the Aero sector, you can see that global  companies are putting down long term investments in the UK, which have benefits up and down supply chains. If we get the transformation on industry right, jobs will move higher up the value chain – higher wages means higher living standards. We have the building blocks in the UK – the world’s best universities, globally competitive industries (like Aerospace) that compete on the world stage and have access to the world’s markets, and a spirit for innovation, ingenuity and entrepreneurship – and so it is matter of investing in the entire enterprise to maximise its output.

  9. What can the UK engineering industry do to improve its position in the global market place? Invest in Innovation and Skills. These are the only real competitive differentiators we can leverage. We need to significantly increase industrial R&D investment (as we are beginning to see through the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund) to not only leverage the fantastic knowledge and science generated by Universities, but to demonstrate to young people that there are some really amazing high-tech, well-paid and exciting job opportunities in engineering sectors. We also need a substantial investment in the right skills areas to create the pipeline of talent that will fill the jobs created by the growth of our engineering industries – that is certainly the demand we’re seeing from growing sectors such as those represented by ADS.

iAN Simmons

Ian Simmons
Vice President Business Development
Corporate Engineering and R&D
Magna International

Ian Simmons has served as Vice President Business Development, Corporate Engineering and R&D since 2012. In this role Simmons is responsible for validating innovation opportunities for Magna along with developing cooperative relationships with customers as well as coporate venture groups, government agencies, educational communities and other research institutions. He also manages outside investment in partner technology companies to commercialize inventions for the Magna product groups.

Simmons joined Magna in 2003 as Executive Director Sales and Program Management for Magna Steyr North America. In 2008 he was promoted to General Manager, Magna Steyr North America and in 2010 this role was expanded to President of Magna Steyr North America.

Simmons, who has worked in the automotove industry for more than 35 years, began his career in 1976 with student training at the Ford Motor Company in the U.K. Upon leaving Ford in 1982 he undertook engineering assignments in Europe with Volkswagen and DAF Trucks.

In 1990 Simmons held the position of Manager of Business Development for Hawtal Whiting Plc. in the U.K., where he was responsible for sales activities throughout Europe. In 1993 he accepted a transfer to the company’s U.S. operation to become Vice President of Sales. In 1995 Simmons became Vice President of Operations for the Hawtal Whiting technical center in Sterling Heights, Michigan.

Simmons returned to the U.K. in 1997 as Director of Business Development for TWR Ltd. supporting TWR Group sales and operational tasks for the technical services division. He subsequently returned to the U.S. in 1999 and joined Porsche Engineering Services as Head of Sales in 2000. Simmons holds dual U.S. / U.K. citizenship.
Simmons has been a member of the Society of Automotive Engineers for over 20 years.