Rhian Bache: Expertise built on experience

The aerospace industry has never moved at the speed it currently finds itself moving at. The Covid-19 pandemic is behind us and the recovery of the sector is now at full tilt. Airlines are racing to meet passenger demand, while OEMs are doing everything they can to get back on top of their order books. We have an incredibly exciting year ahead of us.

As she nears her seven-year anniversary at STG, it will also be an exciting year for Rhian Bache, who started 2023 with a promotion to Product Manager. Having joined us as a Design Engineer with a background in lighting design, Rhian now works across both our lighting and photoluminescence offerings and provides a vital connection between production, technical and sales teams within the organisation.

I’m responsible for collating bids for OEM customers, supporting our Regional Sales Managers and making sure they have all of the technical information they need, and supporting in our marketing activity and acting as a sort of technical liaison between the engineering department and our customer base,” Rhian summarised.

My role has changed quite a lot over the past six years, but there are definitely elements that flow through. I’m talking with customer’s design departments a lot, and using my experience of that role to work out what it is our customers need to fulfil their requirements, and creating a brief for our R&T teams.

“I have that experience and knowledge on the photoluminescent side, and now I’m adding our electrical lighting products as well, so it’s exciting to help customers find solutions they hadn’t considered.”

With her promotion comes a great deal of opportunity as well, making 2023 not only an incredibly exciting year for the industry but for Rhian individually, too – in March she will travel to Hamburg for Airbus’ Red Cabin Summit, before returning to Germany in the summer for AIX 2023.

But to kickstart the year, it was a trip to Texas to visit Heads Up Technologies (HUT), whose acquisition of STG in 2022, has opened a number of doors for both businesses.

There was a huge snowstorm while I was out there, so it didn’t feel a lot like Texas!” Rhian joked, “but it was really interesting to see their facilities and their processes, especially as they have some equipment and capabilities that we don’t have over in the UK.

I spent a lot of time with Brendan Lanigan, their Product Manager, to learn their product catalogue and how they best serve their customers. Their customer base is mainly Part 23 aircraft, private jets, whereas at STG we’re dealing with commercial, Part 25 aircraft, so it’s very different. But there’s a real degree of synergy between the two businesses, and it’s evident that we’re both looking to learn from each other.

“It’s two different worlds, but we’re both looking at what’s happening in each other’s worlds and how we can apply it to our own, how we can incorporate the new product offerings to support our customers. They have huge capabilities with switches and buttons which I’m interested in for my key accounts, and they’re interested in our print capabilities and our photometric measurement equipment. It really is a two-way street.”

With Texas ticked off, the next destination is Hamburg as industry leaders and key spokespeople travel to Hamburg for the Red Cabin Aircraft Cabin Innovation Summit 2023. Across three days there will be keynote speeches, panel events and networking sessions with some of the industries leading names and airlines, covering everything from cabin sustainability and profitability to discussions on cabin air quality, design and accessibility.

Rhian has watched on from afar a few times now and is excited to be on this year’s list of attendees.

I’ve been a bit jealous of Pierre [Michard, Sales and Programming Director at STG] but this year we’re both going and I’m ridiculously excited,” Rhian exclaimed. “It’s a great opportunity to meet other people in the sector and to have those cross-interest conversations, where you’re not necessarily working in the same spheres but there are topics and ideas that you can latch on to.

“There will be lots of talks on sustainability this year, which will be really interesting and I’m looking forward to continuing my learning on that.”

Rhian’s calendar is a busy one – after Red Cabin, it’ll be on to AIX in June and then back to the States for NBAA Business Aviation Convention and Exhibition 2023 to support HUT. Rhian’s experience of more than six years working on the design side will be invaluable in her new role as a Product Manager, equipping her with the experience and inside knowledge required to provide our customers with the best possible service.

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