UNDER THE SPOTLIGHT: EXPERIENCED DESIGN ENGINEER, MARK HAYDEN,
JOINS THE DESIGN TEAM

We’re increasingly asked to help manufacturers which is why we asked experienced production engineer Mark to join the design team.

Mark has considerable experience of working on both sides of the design fence in industrial design and CAD.  He’s commissioned work from external agencies (whilst operating as a senior production engineer) as well as developed CAD designs whilst working as an in-house designer.

His broad skills and commercial understanding of the product development process make him an excellent new resource for our expanding client base. We wanted to find out more about what makes him tick – and to shed light on his hidden talents – so we put Mark under our interview spotlight…

MARK, TELL US ABOUT YOUR BACKGROUND AND HOW YOU BUILT UP YOUR CURRENT WIDE-RANGING BUSINESS EXPERTISE?

Mark: “When I started work as a production engineer it was the ‘80s – work was fluid, different opportunities arose – so I gained lots of experience in different work departments, doing a wide variety of jobs. I survived a few companies that downsized and had to pick up an overspill of different types of work. This taught me resourcefulness, especially how to adapt to different skills quickly, and how to manage and prioritise a busy job load – perfect for my role at Simple Design Works!”

HOW DID YOU GET INTO DESIGN?

Mark: “I started my working life as a draughtsman, at that time draughting on a drawing board. My first experience of CAD was back when windows were running on DOS – it was a very different animal to what it is today. Coming from this background of using pencils and rulers, it is fantastic the scope and flexibility that CAD brings.  I consider CAD an art, more than a skill.”

“The difficult part of a traditional drawing, of course, is that you can’t change things. Once you’d put ten hours into a drawing it would be much more difficult to incorporate a design change – other than going ‘back to the drawing board’. I learned how to pre-plan my drawings in considerable detail. Draughtsmanship is now a lost art, but it is a tremendous bonus to my CAD work to have had the experience.”

HOW DO YOU KEEP UP TO DATE WITH CAD TOOLS?

Mark: “I keep up to date as and when we get a new version of the software. I have used a wide variety of software and can utilise elements of my knowledge to support my design work. It also gives me an understanding of what’s out there.“

WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR CAREER IN PRODUCT DESIGN?

Mark: “Having qualified in engineering, my interest in product design stemmed from taking a design degree course. The course enlightened me as to the difference I could potentially make to people’s lives through excellent design. As a result of this, I started working for a company that designed homecare and rehabilitation equipment, so allowing me to help people by using design to solve their practical problems. It is incredibly satisfying to know you can make a real difference to someone’s life. At Simple Design Works I can carry this through to a wider range of products.”

WE HEAR YOU HAVE AN UNUSUAL SKILL. CAN YOU TELL US WHAT IT IS?

Mark: “I can carve stone! The opportunity to learn the skill came about by accident; at one point in my working life, I went to work for a precision engineer in Gloucester. After three months, however, the work dried up. I found myself without a job and needed to be resourceful! My father-in-law ran a building company and offered me a job to tide me over until I found my dream engineering job. However I didn’t have any building skills! The company worked in a highly specialised environment undertaking church restorations. I just got stuck in and quickly grew to love the work, which took quite a bit of skill to deliver. I replaced old stone with new, which required some careful and precise carving – I didn’t quite get to the ‘carving a gargoyle’ standard though!”

IT SOUNDS LIKE IT COULD HAVE BEEN QUITE A CHALLENGE FOR A NOVICE BUILDER?

Mark: “The most challenging part was doing dangerous things in a safe manner, for example having to stand on top of a church steeple. I did get stuck on a roof once and mortifyingly, had to be rescued by my boss – who is my wife’s father!  He’s taken great pleasure in reminding me of this on several occasions!’

WHAT IMPRESSED YOU ABOUT SIMPLE DESIGN WORKS AS A POTENTIAL EMPLOYER?

Mark: “This is the sort of position I always thought I’d like to do; an innovative, dynamic company, and a challenging role because of the variety of products and design work we deal with.  I also felt it would be more rewarding because you’re closer to the outcomes.”

AND DOES YOUR EXPERIENCE SO FAR LIVE UP TO YOUR EXPECTATIONS?

Mark: “I’m thoroughly enjoying the environment. I’ve already worked on several projects, gradually picking up work before I was let loose on my own clients. The team here are full of fresh ideas and every day is exciting. There’s a great buzz in the office.”

KRISTO, WHY IS MARK THE PERFECT ADDITION TO THE SIMPLE DESIGN WORKS TEAM?

Kristo: “Mark has a depth and breadth of experience in a variety of environments that aids his design skills.  He understands the production engineering process, so can create products with a view to ensuring they are not defeated in the manufacturing process. He brings wisdom and knowledge, and has a great sense of humour – always a bonus!”

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