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Alumnus Harry Claxton: A Career in Design

last modified Mar 03, 2015 12:04 PM
Careers talk - 26 Feb 2015

Harry Claxton, Technology Development Manager Johnson Matthey Davy Technologies, returned to his alma matter to delight Chemical Engineering undergraduates with a personal account of his career adventures since graduating in Cambridge with an MEng back in 1996. In addition to his intellectual pursuits, Harry enjoyed his time here playing rugby and little did he know then that his Chemical Engineering degree would open up many career doors including coming up with creative design solutions for chemical plants.

Harry has over 18 years experience identifying and developing process technologies working for Johnson Matthey Davy developing and designing chemical processes and their individual core technologies. Davy Technologies licenses these to manufacturers who wish to build a new plant or make a new product.

In his talk at the department about 'A Career in Design' he described his own experience as Tech Development Manager with proven track record in the development and commercialisation of process technologies. Using visuals depicting his work, he also told about the exciting travels around China designing chemical plants whilst he had wonderful opportunities to be fully immersed in oriental culture, customs and cuisine. He shared comical anecdotes whilst giving students a sense of the day-to-day technical and personal challenges involved in a career in process design.

He explained how, in his role as Technology Development Manager, he applies chemical engineering principles in his development work on a daily basis, including basic engineering challenges of designing very large methanol plants with novel features.

He also talked about the services commissioned by Davy Technologies like troubleshooting plant start-up, working in foreign countries. Harry also went through the proposals he puts together to optimise designs, sell technology benefits and agreeing on technical parts of the contract.

Finally, he highlighted the important elements of managing risk, managing people, driving improvements in managing new technologies, along with the challenges involved in these key tasks. 

As part of his visit, Harry also had the opportunity to catch up on department research interests and strategic direction with Professors Nigel Slater (Head of Department) and John Dennis and Graham Dransfield, CEB’s Knowledge Transfer Co-ordinator.

More information on Davy Technologies.