George Houston - Mechanical Engineer - Syngenta

Issued: Fri, 20 Nov 2020 00:00:00 GMT

Tell us a fun fact about yourself

I have climbed the highest mountain in Scotland, England and Wales in 24hours.

Tell us about your careers journey so far

I started my career after university working in the oil and gas industry in Aberdeen. I worked in the office for six months before being transferred to Shetland Gas Plant site. This was the largest construction project in the UK since the London Olympics. There I gained valuable experience of how design is put into construction and the steps that need to be taken to ensure everyone is working safely. I also learned that even with the best design in the world things can still go wrong and needs be modified and redesigned. I then left the oil and Gas sector to work for Syngenta, one of the world's leading agriculture companies in the agrochemical manufacturing sector. Where I help produce crop protection products for use by farmers worldwide. A lot of the machinery used in oil and gas and agrochemical is very similar, however being promoted to a management position, I am now responsible for people than just myself.

What was your favourite subject in school and why?

My favourite subject in school was Physics. I really liked finding out how things work and that you could apply equations to calculate what would happen. The experiments we pretty cool too, and I liked the practical learning, seeing the laws of physics come to life.

What subjects/qualifications are useful for your role?

Maths and physics are the two key subjects, other technical subjects are important also. Qualification wise a degree in mechanical engineering or related field is required, however the direct route to university from school isn’t. Some of the best engineers I work with did parentships first then further learning. 

What is your favourite thing about your job?

The favourite part of my job is that no two days are the same. I am constantly problem solving or working on different projects. I get to learn about new technology and how they can improve or make things easier.

What is a normal day in your role like?

Well as everyday is different its hard to say, but typically I have management meetings to find out any issues that my plant is faces and then investigate ways to solves these. First and foremost, we must make sure we are safe. Then I will spend time working on project material, from the design and construction of any improvements and even into the compliance aspects, what legislation and codes are applicable. Throughout the day I will be working with other engineers of different disciplines, Electrical, Civil etc. 

Can you suggest an activity that could be done at home that illustrates an aspect of your work? Please share links to relevant resources.

Catapult – Design a catapult with limited resources, evaluate your design and consider how it can be improved

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