Engineers, they really are an interesting lot!

Posted on 25 Apr 2015 by Callum Bentley

This manufacturing game – it’s an interesting sector to cover. The advancements in technology, the (mostly) streamline business models, the complex designs and research, and the engineers. Yes, the engineers.

Bentley, Callum - The Manufacturer
Callum Bentley, editor, The Manufacturer.

Stereotypically, engineers aren’t the most charismatic bunch. And they have never had to be. They are problem solvers. Many of them, particularly in the UK, have brilliant minds and are capable of thinking about complex situations on a level I only wish to someday mimic.

It can be intimidating when speaking to these individuals, and although on a one-to-one basis, the majority are extremely welcoming and, above all, enlightening, I will be the first to admit that a lot of the comprehensive, technical discussions can go flying straight over my thinning crown.

These kinds of interactions, which I encounter as part of my role on a regular basis, had me thinking again recently while listening to one of my favourite podcasts, Freakonomics, while partaking in the daily commute.

Its host, Stephen Dubner was interviewing MASH star Alan Alda about the institute he established at Stony Brook University in the US – the Alan Alda Centre for Communication (

The basic remit of the centre, according to its website, is to “enhance understanding of science by helping train the next generation of scientists and health professionals to communicate more effectively with the public, public officials, the media, and others outside their own discipline.”

Basically, they want people who do amazing things to be able to explain to normal folk (such as myself), what they are doing in clear, simple terms.

This, I think, is a great idea and perhaps something that could also transfer across to the engineering profession. If we are constantly calling for more engineers to engage with a broader audience to promote the industry, than surely training them to do so would be a pretty good start.

The Manufacturer Top 100 event took place in Birmingham as a part of The Manufacturer Week of Excellence.
The Manufacturer Top 100 event took place in Birmingham as a part of The Manufacturer Week of Excellence 2014.

At The Manufacturer last year, we kicked off our first attempt at driving something slightly similar – The TM Top 100. The Manufacturer Top 100 is a list of the UK’s most inspiring individuals in manufacturing, as identified by our readers, the wider industrial community and the public.

The project aims to dispel myths surrounding manufacturing and create a platform to publicly identify dynamic leaders and innovators in the sector.

Shortlisted individuals are nominated by you, our readers, the wider industrial community and the public, for their contributions in changing the face of industry; finding new markets; making marked investment in people, processes and customers; and for those making an impact disproportionate to their years.

The report is not ranked as it is intended to champion individuals in the sector rather than pit them against one another.

I encourage all of you to nominate those people who you work with who you believe are or can be a true role model for the future of UK manufacturing. You can nominate online at until July 31 at