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Steve Fannon, Business Improvement Manager

Steve has always been fascinated by machinery of all kinds, but he is most passionate about cars. From an early stage he wanted to work on them and design them. Steve remembers trips to the local paper shop to buy the new matchbox toy cars to add to his collection. His love of cars most likely came from his Grandparents who both worked in the motor industry so it's no wonder that Steve began his career working as a Design Engineer on new passenger vehicles - many iconic cars that are becoming classics now! He now works as a Business Development Manager for Jaguar Land Rover Ltd. to share his expertise with others and coach the engineers of the future.

Age: 47

Job title: Business Improvement Manager

Company employed by: Jaguar Land Rover Ltd.

When you were a child, what did you dream you’d be when you grew up?
I was fascinated by machinery of all kinds, but passionate about cars. I wanted to work on them, and then I wanted to design them.

What is the biggest impact your work will or could have in the future?
I've worked as a design Engineer on new passenger vehicles earlier in my career - many iconic cars that are becoming classics now! That product engineering will live on for a long time. More recently I've worked on resolving difficult product quality issues, and contributed to methods development for the business that have shaped how things are done within the organisation. Additionally, I'm moving into published academic articles which I hope will enrich the body of literature for Continuous Improvement approaches.

What excites you most about STEM?
I love to understand cause and effect relationships, and characterise relationships between inputs and outputs. Thinking of the whole world as a system of interacting systems fascinates me on an ongoing basis.

What do you love about your job? What would you change?
Gaining new understanding, or simplifying a complex subject with a more simple model. If I could, I would change some of the undesirable politics within organisations, and the underlying culture in some areas. I would like organisations and society more widely to value understanding far more than is currently the case.

What gives you the most job satisfaction?
Coaching others working in my area of expertise, and revealing new understanding about a problem that was previously not recognised.

What does a typical day at work involve?
Lots of coordination and project progress meetings, some analysis, lots of communication or preparation for communication, some people management, and some coaching.

Did you have any role models when you were younger? What inspired you to do the job you’re doing now?
Both of my grandparents worked in the motor industry in the middle of the 20th century in Coventry. I was also inspired somewhat by Thrust 2 land speed record project, and many automotive products of the 1980's.

Any influential toys during childhood?
I'd remember trips to the local paper shop to buy a new matchbox toy car, and building a sizeable collection. I had an outdoor pedal car too. That passion developed through Lego, the first Technic Lego sets, and then Radio-Controlled Tamiya model cars.

Your favourite subjects at school?
Craft Design & Technology, Science and Physics, Art.

Qualifications (school/college/university):
9 GCSE's C+; BTEC NC & HNC; BEng(Hons, MSc).

Your reason for choosing this career?
My passion for Engineering and Science.

Tell me about your career path to date?
Automotive product Engineer --> Lead Project Engineer --> Lead Product Quality Engineer --> Product & Process Quality Leader --> Business Improvement Manager.

If you could have any job what would it be? How does it differ from what you’re doing?
Product Design - Aesthetic.

Your advice to a young person considering a career in STEM?
Follow your passion.