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Spotlight on alumni

Spotlight on alumni

Professor Rhys Vaughan Williams C.Eng, FIMechE, FIET 

I joined Glyndwr as a mature student and a fully qualified Electrician, so I was effectively already in the “World of Work”. I started a full time HND and B.Eng in Electrical and Electronic Engineering in 1992.  I continued to work as an Electrician, evenings and weekends to support my family. After graduating in 1996 I went on to be Mechanical and Electrical Contracts Manager in Cambridge. After a few years of leading a team of 50 personnel and managing a range of contracts, assurance and procurement and the project management team on all co-ordination and contractual issues.  After just 4 years in various different roles in different organisations I was offered my current role at Crossrail Ltd in 2009.

My current role as Head of MEP on Crossrail Ltd is a £14.8bn major infrastructure program to construct a new railway system for London and the SouthEast. It will deliver a worldclass, affordable railway, with a high frequency and accessible train service across the capital from 2019. My role as Head of MEP Engineering whilst acting as Chief Engineer for MEP related issues is to provide Technical Authority and Professional Leadership for all the Mechanical, Electrical and Public Health aspects on the Project. This includes Lifts and Escalators, Tunnel Ventilation and Fire Safety.

I chose to study at Wrexham Glyndwr University as it was local to my home and convenient for me to commute every day to undertake my studies fulltime. Studying at Wrexham Glyndwr University gave me the stepping stone to become a Chartered Engineer, which was the first step on my current career path.

At Crossrail Ltd I am responsible for the Electrical, Mechanical, Public Health, Fire, Acoustic and Lift & Escalators Engineering on Europe’s largest construction project.  This involves leading a team of nearly 100 Engineers.  The current budget value of which I have direct responsibility is in excess of £500M and an annual staff budget of circa £4M for the central section, this includes ensuring consistency of approach and excellence of design, along with providing the appropriate professional resources during the design development and construction phases.

My career highlights to date are being appointed Head of MEP on Crossrail Ltd. Receiving a Fellowship from the Institute of Engineering and Technology.  Receiving a Fellowship from the Institute of Mechanical Engineering and being appointed Visiting Professor to Wrexham Glyndwr University.

My advice to someone thinking of working in a similar field would be to put everything you can into your studying. Some of the subjects may seem pointless at the time, but they will all develop you for later life. Understand that every day is a school day, be it in University or work.

I would certainly recommend undertaking a course with Wrexham Glyndwr University.During my time at the University I was able to speak to my tutors one to one, the campus was small enough that the lecturers were close to their students to really care about them, treating everyone as an individual.

There are many favourite memories of my time at Glyndwr but the one that makes me smile the most was being able to involve my new born twins to test the precursor to the baby monitor for checking for sleep apnoea.

More information on the Crossrail Ltd Project

The trains will be significantly longer than existing London Underground trains and will run into the platforms behind completely sealed barriers with door openings synchronised on the train and the platform edge. These barriers are still being constructed and hence currently give the impression of a blank wall on the platform edge, but this will soon be transformed as pilot testing will start later this year.

All of the stations are being constructed to include footings for tower blocks above, the rental for which will provide a significant defrayal of the overall cost of the £14.8 billion project. Some impression of the scale of the surface construction at present can be seen in one of the photographs.

Transport for London is planning a "Crossrail 2" project as London will need further additional transport capacity due to its growing population. This runs from North-east to South-west London and will require skilled graduate engineers of all types. Rhys has family connections in Wrexham and he gave a lecture on the project to the North Wales Society of Engineers at Wrexham Glyndwr University last year: He will be happy to advise anyone interested in joining the project (contact Prof. Excell at WGU).

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