Women in Engineering 2017

Ping Fu
Women might still only make up less than 10% of the UK engineering workforce, but at NT CADCAM we’ve discovered you don’t have to look very far to find some truly inspirational stories about women doing great things in engineering. 

Ping Fu is the woman behind our new reverse engineering scanning software Geomagic Design X. Lisa Su is now CEO of our hardware partners AMD and has just been named one of the “World’s Greatest Leaders” by Fortune magazine. While Julie Brierley, an ex-RAF Avionics Mechanic is now working with our STEM partners at RAF Museum Cosford to showcase the opportunities and life skills a career in engineering can bring. 

With International Women In Engineering Day  (INWED) on June 23rd, we’re on a mission to inspire. As Allie McAdam, one of the world’s leading railway engineers behind St Pancras International refurbishment, High Speed One and Crossrail, says, “Women can feel drawn to being part of a team that’s doing something to help the world. Engineers have a direct impact on people’s lives, sustainability, the environment, disadvantaged countries and communities.”

On Allie’s Crossrail project, an above average of 30% of engineers employed were women, and she says events like INWED are key to raising awareness and inspiring future generations. With an estimated million engineers and technicians needed before the end of the decade, she adds, “I know mixed teams make more sense – they’re more profitable, but that’s not all that matters. I visit schools and I know that many girls don’t have the right information about engineering to make an informed decision.”

So, if you think engineering is just for boys and all about greasy overalls, read what Ping, Su and Julie did about changing perceptions….

The co-founder of our cutting-edge scanning software Geomagic Design X, Ping’s story is a true tale of triumph over adversity. Born in China, at eight she was separated from her family in Shanghai during the Cultural Revolution and sent to a re-education camp in another city with her four-year-old sister to protect. Exiled from China in her early twenties with no money and little English she was deported to America with just $80. She made it through with waitressing jobs and enrolled at university to study computer science. She went on to gain more than 20 years of software industry experience (she was part of the team that initiated and managed the NCSA Mosaic software project that led to Netscape and Internet Explorer) and co-founded Geomagic in 1997. A 3D imaging software, Geomagic Design X is the industry’s most comprehensive reverse engineering software that allows solid modeling extraction and accurate exact surface fitting into organic 3D scans, mesh editing and point cloud processing. 
Read our Geomagic customer case study with Redesign Sport Limited.  

A budding engineer by the age of 10 when she used to take apart and then fix her brother’s remote-control cars to see how they worked, Lisa Su has gone on to establish herself as a pioneering engineer in the semi-conductor industry. A driving force behind IBM’s work to replace the industry standard aluminum interconnects that were used in nearly every major chip with copper was a major industry advancement. She joined our hardware partners AMD in 2011 and played a prominent role in pushing the company to diversify beyond the PC market to place AMD chips in Xbox and PS4 game consoles. Made CEO in 2014, Lisa was recently announced by Fortune Magazine as one of the world’s 50 greatest leaders after she quadrupled the company’s stock price in 2016 with plans for a whole new family of microprocessors, dubbed Ryzen. AMD’s professional graphics cards are designed for advanced SOLIDWORKS workflows. 
Watch our video interview with AMD’s Mark Andrews.

At school, Julie discovered a natural flair for electronics and was encouraged by her teachers to consider swapping her chosen vocation of nursing to become an engineer. She enrolled with the RAF as an avionics apprentice, learning about air radar and communications before becoming the first female Avionics Mechanic onto 17 Squadron Germany. Fixing Tornado and Jaguar aircrafts, she served two tours in Saudi Arabia and a post in Incirlik, Turkey. She is now a STEM ambassador at the RAF Museum Cosford encouraging the next generation of engineers. 
Julie says, “Being a female avionics mechanic has its advantages – we often worked in confined spaces and I’d find myself upside down in cockpits repairing equipment before a flight. The roar of the aircraft and the job satisfaction when they take off is incredible. INWED is so important to highlight the vast opportunities and wide range of roles available for women in some typically male-dominated industries. The opportunities, training and life skills that are available in the RAF gave me the opportunity to pursue something I feel passionate about. Now, at RAF Museum Cosford, we hope to inspire young women to follow their ambitions and showcase aviation as a possible career path.” 
RAF Museum Cosford is offering Pupil Enrichment Days through July 2017.  Find out more at RAF Museum Cosford.

Read about the SOLIDWORKS Women in Engineering Programme and our interview with Marie Planchard, director of SOLIDWORKS education portfolio.

International Women in Engineering Day (INWED) 
23 June 2017 
www.inwed.org.uk @inwed1919 #inwed17 #we50 #menasallies 

Set up in 2014 by the Women’s Engineering Society (WES) to celebrate its 95th anniversary, this national, and now international, awareness day focuses attention on the amazing careers in engineering and technical roles, especially for girls and young women, and celebrates the achievements of women engineers. 

INWED is a fun and inspiring way for schools, colleges and universities to encourage students to take up engineering careers, but also companies, professional organisations, government and individuals to showcase their commitment to diversity. It will feature hundreds of exciting events, from talks, tours, open days and debates to competitions, networking events, site visits, videos and campaigns – more than 550 in 2016. 

Through partnership with The Daily Telegraph, INWED will also announce the ‘Top 50 Women in Engineering under 35’ on 23 June. This year, the list focuses on the rising female stars across all engineering sectors. Working in partnership with many of the engineering world’s globally recognised names, INWED seeks to foster a spirit of cooperation, collaboration and enthusiasm. 

To find out more about how you can get involved, visit inwed.org.uk or email inwed@wes.org.uk.
Ro Pimlott - author


Ro Pimlott View profile

My role as Content Marketing Executive within NT CADCAM is to manage all digital content across our social media channels, email communications and the website.