In our Bright Lights series, we’re showcasing some of our brilliant employees and their experience here at STG Aerospace. In this month’s feature we talked to Andreas Pitsimakis, who leads the Mechanical Design of our LED cabin lighting solutions.
In a nutshell, tell us a little about your career journey before joining STG Aerospace.
I’m originally from Athens, Greece, and moved to Wales to study Mechanical Engineering at Cardiff University. After completing my degree, I pursued a Masters in computational fluid dynamics and subsequently moved to Oxfordshire. There I worked for an engineering software company for four years, before taking the opportunity to move back to Cardiff to do an MBA. I really liked living in Cardiff and it’s where I got my first job in mechanical design. Starting as an NPI engineer and gradually moving into product design & development.
Before joining STG and the aerospace industry, I experienced working in various sectors, ranging from small batch to high volume manufacturing, i.e. telecoms, automotive, construction, and more recently, video gaming.
What are some things that have been surprisingly helpful moving from the gaming industry to aerospace?
There's a lot of transferable skills that you can take from one industry to another. At STG, we benefit from having different perspectives from across a variety of industries throughout the team.
Video gaming was a very fast paced environment. At some point we were releasing 10 to 20 new products a year. In aerospace, however, we move at a much slower pace because of the nature of the industry and the safety requirements and certifications involved in everything we do. I think that moving from one industry to another, has equipped me with a better understanding of the different aspects that can influence design and development.
What’s your favourite part of the role?
I would say the creative aspects at the start of a project, where we talk to our customers and challenge ourselves to develop smart solutions to the problems they are facing. Our creative sessions give birth to the best quality products for our customers.
What do you like about STG?
I really enjoy the variety of work within my role and department. No two days are the same, there's so many different aspects that we can be involved in within design & development. From talking to internal and external stakeholders, translating their needs into engineering requirements, to brainstorming for new bids and generating new concepts, creating detailed 3D models and drawings and producing presentations or other engineering documentation. I also get to interact with so many different teams within the company, that makes me feel part of the wider STG team.
Since joining STG what do you notice most when flying for leisure?
Travelling on aeroplanes will never be the same since joining STG. I now tend to look out for illumination details in different areas of the aircraft, sometimes fiddling with reading lights to study their design. I can imagine the passenger beside me probably thinking “why is this guy so obsessed with his reading light” – haha! Working in this industry has definitely made me more curious about aspects of aircraft and transport, that I wasn’t before.
What’s your favourite aeroplane model?
As a passenger I enjoy the flying experience in the A380 aircraft. Production of this aircraft has ceased, for good reasons, but I’ve always enjoyed the comfort, cabin details, and how quiet it is. Even in economy class.
Finally, do you have any advice for people starting out their career in the industry?
Being able to see the big picture, while dealing with the minute detail is an important quality in this line of work. Sometimes we can be too focused on regulations and procedures. It helps to just take a step back to remind ourselves what the end goal is.
I would also warn against complacency. It’s easy to become comfortable within your work environment, but things change all the time and as engineers we need to keep up with new processes, technologies and materials. Learning never stops, so be open to new ideas and ask questions.
Overall, you need an open mind, be passionate about what you do and thirsty for knowledge.