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Martin Cilia: “I have plenty of missions and things to learn”

Human resources

Martin Cilia is the Engineering Manager for the Mechanical Design team and works for Safran Electrical and Power in Pitstone (UK). He talks about his career and the projects he is involved in within the company.

“I studied at the University of Northampton (UK) as an Architectural Technician. I always had, and still do have, a passion for architectural design and its relationship with mechanical engineering. So I extended my studies to graduate with a Bachelor of Science (Hons) degree in Engineering in 2002”, explains Martin Cilia when we asked him about his academic background.

He started his professional career working for a small architectural practice, which specialised in barn conversions. A change in career path then followed, to pursue his interests in both CAD design and mechanical engineering. Following several unique and interesting roles, in both the automotive and aerospace industries, his career, before joining Safran, culminated in 10 years of R&T research in the development of advanced automotive transmission technologies.

I remember joining Safran on August 6th, 2012, following a chance call from the Human Resource department, at what was Goodrich, here in Pitstone”, he explains. He joined the company as a ‘Senior Specialist Mechanical Design Engineer’ working on the Airbus products for both the VFG and APUG. “I spent the first two years carrying out various design investigations and improvements on these products. I was then approached with the opportunity to become the Lead Engineer for the A380 APUG product. I was issued the challenge to deliver an upgrade program, with an extremely tight timetable for completion”. During the next 18 months, he and his dedicated team worked intensively to ensure the on-time delivery of the new build standard. “Delivering this project on time was a team effort and very satisfying, but the greater satisfaction comes from knowing that the in-service reliability of the A380 APUG has been steadily improving since the introduction. In addition, the on-time delivery of the program and the closer working relationship formed with Airbus France and Spain, has also helped increase overall customer satisfaction. This has subsequently helped to secure several Airbus Supplier awards for the Pitstone site”, he adds. Following the successful completion of the A380 APUG project, Martin was asked to support the existing team on the Boeing EcoDemonstrator© program. This Boeing aircraft flight program aims to test emerging technologies, from potential suppliers. Safran Electrical & Power was given the opportunity to provide a full electrical channel for appraisal.

I was the work-package owner responsible for delivering the brand new housing design, which for the first time incorporated a speed change gearbox within the generator assembly. It was an intense and exciting project to be involved in, which brought together technical expertise, energy and innovative ideas from multiple Safran sites, and which led to a very successful flight test conclusion”. Once this work package was complete, Martin took the opportunity to become the Engineering Manager for the mechanical design team, working to support multiple projects across R&T, R&D and Legacy product programs. His experience as a functional manager is challenging, “Having not had any specific functional management roles in the past, this new challenge, over the past 18 months, has been a massive learning curve! With the support from my peers, I have seen my experience and confidence grow exponentially, and the team has grown from 8 to 31 people!

Today, he cares about making the skills and flexibility of his team grow. His goal as a manager is to generate a diverse and experienced pool of individual that can react and support the needs of the Safran Electrical & Power business and its projects. What he really prefers? “Variety! No two days are the same when dealing with people! And I have plenty of ongoing challenges and lots of things still to learn in this role”, he concludes.