I have been a member of NAFEMS since its inception and recall the early discussion meeting at the National Engineering Laboratory in East Kilbride, followed by a meeting at the Café Royal in London during November 1983. The latter meeting is etched into my memory for the sole reason that, as a young and extremely nervous lecturer, I had to make a presentation in front of Zienkiewicz, who was sitting in the front row! During my long membership, I have had the privilege of serving the organisation in various capacities. Current activities include: Membership of the Education and Training Working Group; Assessor for the Registered Analyst Scheme and Membership of the World Congress Planning Committee. I had the pleasure of being one of a small “band of brothers” responsible for the detailed planning of the Rhode Island, Lake Como, Orlando and Malta events. Prior to this, I had also been a member of the organising committee for two “non-NAFEMS” International Conferences on Education and Training in Finite Element Analysis, which had also benefited from Anne Creechan’s professional input.
Previous NAFEMS related activity has also included presentations of papers at the above Congresses as well as at earlier events, including those at Stratford-upon-Avon and Amsterdam; organisation of seminars; publication of articles in Benchmark; refereeing of deliverables and production of a web-based learning exemplar. I was also a member of the recently completed FENET Thematic Network , serving on the Steering Committee and as one of the coordinators in the Education and Dissemination area.
My first contact with numerical methods happened just over 30 years ago, on an ICL machine called “George” with punch-tape input, before graduating to a Burrough’s machine with new “interactive” teletype terminals as well as a card batch input service. This was rapidly followed by Prime mini-computers and then Apollo workstations. It was on a Prime P400 that my finite element interest started, some 27 years ago. My first love was PAFEC and despite wasting 3 months of my PhD trying to convert PAFEC to double-precision, before being gazumped by an official release, I still have fond memories indeed of the team at Nottingham. The following years brought exposure to Computervision, Patran, Abaqus, Ansys, Rasna, Pro-Engineer and Mechanica. In fact, along with one of my students, Aloysius Lai, I was responsible for the original PATPAF and PAFPAT translators, as well as similar translators for Computervision.
My research interests are generally focussed on the areas of pressure vessels, composite structures and biomimetics. I also taught Finite Element Analysis on an MSc in Pressure Vessel Design for over a decade and this postgraduate teaching related activity continues, through my activity as External Course Assessor and Examiner for T884 “An Introduction to Finite Element Analysis”, with the Open University.
I am still active as a consultant with industry and have worked with over 50 engineering companies throughout the UK. For this purpose a personal investment was made in a commercial license for Rasna and latterly Mechanica. I am a NAFEMS Registered Analyst (number 3) at Advanced Level and also regularly run “Design by Analysis” courses for industry.
I was formerly Head of Department of Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering and the Quality Centre at the University of Paisley, before becoming a senior member of academic staff in the Mechanical Engineering Department at the University of Strathclyde a few years ago. Other relevant professional activity includes: Fellow of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Fellow of the Institute of Materials and Fellow of the Institute of Engineers and Shipbuilders in Scotland.
Education has always been at the heart of NAFEMS and the FENET world-wide survey into barriers to the effective use of analysis and simulation technologies, illustrated that many challenges still exist in addressing the needs of industry. The delivery of effective resource material to the workplace, via a secure web-based environment, is an area that I would like to see further developments in. The users of “designer” products and the needs of the increasing number of small to medium enterprises, are also issues close to my heart, as well as being of current interest to NAFEMS. It is my hope that during my term of office, I can assist NAFEMS in addressing these issues, as well as the wider business agenda.