Chief Designer, Flybrid Automotive Ltd
For anyone interested in cars or racing, being able to say that you were part of the team that raced the first hybrid system ever at Le Mans 24hrs in 2011 must be a dream come true. However, this is Dan Jones' day job.
Dan typically splits his time between management and design work, heading up a team of designers and analysts working on the design and development of high-speed flywheel based mechanical hybrid systems. These systems are already used in motorsport, and under development for use in mainstream automotive vehicles, commercial vehicles and off-highway markets. "There is no typical day, which is one of the attractions of the job. I oversee all projects from the initial concept design through to drawing release for manufacture."
It was Dan's involvement in Formula Student during his studies that helped him land his current role. "I'd previously met both Jon Hilton (Managing Partner) and Doug Cross (Technical Director) through competing in Formula Student. I was able to secure my initial post at Flybrid as Design Engineer through a combination of my degree result and the experience gained from successfully leading the University's Formula Student team in my final year." Getting involved in Formula Student is something that Dan can't recommend highly enough, not least for the relevant experience that can be put on a CV.
He has stayed involved with Formula Student, and now holds 2 important roles as a member of the organising committee: the UK Representative on the FSAE Rules Committee (a group of around 15 engineers who set the technical rules and regulations for all FSAE/Formula Student events held around the world) and Chief Technical Scrutineer for the UK Formula Student event.
After starting his career with a year-long placement with Nissan at their European Technical Centre in Cranfield, followed by 9 months working as a suspension design engineer at Bentley Motors, Dan has now been with Flybrid for 5 and a half years. The company has grown significantly since 2007, and Dan believes that it's never been a better time to be an engineer, particularly in the automotive sector, even though competition for the best jobs is fierce.
He's excited about what the next five to ten years will bring at Flybrid, as the company moves from prototype systems to volume production. With all this change and development, what's been the highlight of his career so far? "It's difficult to pinpoint one thing in particular, but I'd probably say spectating trackside at Le Mans in 2011. It's amazingly rewarding to see your efforts in action on the racetrack!"