L3Harris in Tewkesbury: Engineering Stories
Engineers come from all walks of life, bringing the benefit of different backgrounds, perspectives and interests to the table.
The term engineering covers such a broad scope of disciplines and specialist skills, it’s interesting to understand how people discover the initial spark that led them to the role they have today. Five engineers from L3Harris Technologies’ office in Tewkesbury give insights into their individual stories and explain why they’re so passionate about what they do.
A global aerospace, security and defence technology innovator, L3Harris delivers integrated end-to-end solutions that unlock mission agility for both military and commercial customers. From offices in Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire and Fleet, Hampshire in the UK, a 300-strong team collaborates to protect nations and save lives.
Geoff Hudson – Principal Engineer
I’ve always loved taking things apart and putting them back together again. As a teen much of my time was spent tinkering with old computers that were due for disposal from my parents’ office. Before university, I took part in a Year in Industry Scheme that gave me the chance to experience engineering in the real world. When the time came to start my career, I saw the exciting opportunities L3Harris offered and knew I’d found the right place. Unfortunately my position didn’t last long as due to family circumstances I had to say goodbye to the role after just four years.
Six months after leaving the pandemic hit and remote working became possible. I was approached by L3Harris for a remote position and gladly took it. Now I’m a Principal Engineer in charge of a large team and have the freedom and support to pursue new, innovative ideas that make customers’ lives easier. Problem solving is one of my favourite pastimes and there are countless opportunities to do that here. Keen to help young people get started within engineering, we support graduates and industrial placement students in getting their feet under the table. A previous IP student myself, I know the value of this first-hand. Outside of my role at L3Harris, I’m a National Trust volunteer who’s passionate about the outdoors and conservation work, which actually requires a lot of the same problem-solving skills.
Alix Longmuir – Software Engineer
I developed an interest in programming, computer science and engineering at a pretty young age. When it came to the second year of university I had a bit of an identity crisis of ‘what do I do with my life?’ My dad at the time was leaving the military and interviewed for a job at L3Harris. He asked if they did industrial placements and, well, the rest is history. I’ve now been working at L3Harris for nearly three years and I can’t imagine doing anything else. The work we do here is so interesting and so important, I don’t know where I’d rather be. You often get given a problem people say can’t be solved and you somehow manage to do it. That moment of success is the best feeling in the world!
That’s why I’m so passionate about getting young kids into engineering, especially young girls. I’ve just come off the back of running a stand at Cheltenham Science Festival and the amount of young girls who don’t think they’re smart enough is heart-breaking. Most young girls don’t have a role model to look up to, or someone to tell them ‘You can do it!’ If we can talk to kids early to inspire them into this field, we could make a huge difference – that’s what gets me up in the morning. A self-proclaimed nerd, if I’m not at work you’ll generally find me at live action role-playing (LARP) events, playing Dungeons & Dragons or painting.
Phil Taylor – Consultant
Having acted as tech support for my family since I was 10 years old, it was only natural I would later develop an interest in computing! I love making something out of nothing and the thrill of bending computers to my will. While at university I decided to do a Year in Industry, which just so happened to be at L3Harris. My course involved lots of work using MatLab, a programming language, during which time I learned a lot and was offered the chance to work on a wide range of projects. I’ve since stayed with L3Harris for 16 years and am currently a Consultant with the business.
I think the reason I’ve stuck around for so long is because there’s so much variety, the work always feels fresh. While our business is also part of a larger whole, we’re small enough that customers recognise us as the experts they can go to for advice. One thing we’d love to see more of is young people actively pursuing the specialist skills that form the backbone of what we do. When I was younger I didn’t know what career paths were available to me as there weren’t many outreach programmes or opportunities to experience real-world engineering. Now more than ever, there needs to be an emphasis on the critical skills we sadly have a national shortage of. Aside from my work at L3Harris, I’m also a fifth-generation bell-ringer! My whole family has done this for many years at local churches, including my parents. I even met my wife through bell-ringing!
Lucy Underwood – Hardware Engineering Manager
I actually started out life as a linguist. I’m fluent in four languages so specialised in international customer services. My last position was with a medical company where I had to eventually project manage the shutdown of the factory as well as my own redundancy! Thankfully this gave me the bug for project management and I took my career in a new direction. While working for an aviation company I decided to take a huge leap and complete a Master of Science degree. As the only person on the course without any foundation in engineering I was incredibly proud to earn a distinction.
I’ve worked at L3Harris for over two years and you can tell people are passionate about what they do here. The technology we create is so interesting and complex that it’s fascinating to work with. We’re not only making people’s lives better, we’re saving them too. As a woman in a traditionally male role I’ve encountered a number of cultural challenges over the years, but L3Harris has been a breath of fresh air. It gives me hope for the future of workplace diversity. That’s why I’m so keen to stay active in my outreach efforts, aiming to remove the gender bias surrounding Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) subjects. Outside of work, I’m a proud parent of two, play netball and am a huge reader of crime thriller novels.
Andy Jubb – Engineering Manager
I’ve always been good at science and interested in how things work but it wasn’t until I stumbled upon ‘Mechatronic Engineering’ in a university prospectus that my love of engineering got its spark. Electronic Engineering degree in hand, I made my way into the working world. Throughout my early career I seemed to be the object of an unfortunate trend; being hired for roles that didn’t use my skills or projects that never came to fruition. Eventually I found myself working on a substantial armoured vehicle prototype project, finally something I could get my teeth into.
In 2016 I was contacted by an old colleague working at TRL Technology, now L3Harris. Seven years on I’m an Engineering Manager responsible for our technical development strategy and plans to aid transformational growth. One of the best parts of my role is seeing customers’ eyes light up with possibility. It’s great to be able to spend some time understanding their problems and seeing them benefit from our kit. It’s strange looking back on my whole career now. At the very start I remember interviewing for a summer job as an engineer once. The interviewer couldn’t believe that no other members of my family were already engineers! This highlights a big issue that still exists within the engineering world today. There’s some hard work we need to do as an industry to widen the diversity of talent.
When I’m not working on projects for L3Harris, I spend my free time looking after my daughter, tending to our family’s allotment or doing the occasional ultramarathon!
What does L3Harris do?
Underpinned by an impressive breadth of capabilities that span multiple domains, L3Harris’ next-generation solutions range from revolutionary explosive ordnance disposal robots to high-grade encryption, life-saving force protection, and much more.
Ready to solve the most complex challenges on a global scale, they export agile, cutting-edge defence systems to more than 30 coalition countries. With over a century of experience shaping and delivering unrivalled solutions, they help customers stay ahead of the threat. l3harris.com/uk
L3Harris is dedicated to recruiting and developing diverse, high-performing talent who are passionate about what they do. Our employees are unified in a shared dedication to our customers’ mission and quest for professional growth. L3Harris provides an inclusive, engaging environment designed to empower employees and promote work-life success. Fundamental to our culture is an unwavering focus on values, dedication to our communities, and commitment to excellence in everything we do. Find out more about our current opportunities available to you here.