11 June 2015 09:07

Imagine the world of luxurious high performance cars where you actually get to drive a Bentley as part of your everyday job! That’s precisely what two Lancaster University engineering graduates get to do most days.

Martin Fowler, 32, originally from Abergele in North Wales and Alex Hazle, 32, from Banbury in Oxfordshire, both work at the world-famous, prestigious Crewe-based car company.

Martin, an automotive engineer (fuel systems) was educated at Ysgol Bryn Elian, Colwyn Bay. He is responsible for the design and validation of vehicle fuel systems that can be used safely and meet project and all legislation requirements.  Testing ranges from refuelling validation to high-speed test.

He chose Lancaster University to study for an MEng in Mechanical Engineering after an open-day visit to the campus.

“Lancaster is rated very highly for Mechanical Engineering and the visit led to Lancaster being my first choice,” explains Martin. “I liked the campus set up and the department was a good size – not overwhelming compared to the other universities.”

“I always had a strong interest in engineering.  After completing A-Levels in Maths, Physics and Chemistry, it felt the right choice.  Prior to studying, I had completed a work experience placement with Bentley and this had cemented in place my preferred career path.”

After graduating in 2005, Martin first worked for Rolls-Royce PLC on the latest gas turbine engines for the Boeing 787 Dreamliner.  But a real passion for ‘automotive’ led him back to Bentley. 

Five years later he moved, within the Volkswagen Group, to Bugatti Engineering, based in Germany and, after three years’ experience there, he returned to Bentley having gained further engineering knowledge as well as German language fluency.

 “Bentley is a people-focused company recognising that staff are crucial to producing luxury cars and this gives excellent training and career development opportunities,” he added.

Alex is an electrical engineer (driver assistance) working on an on-board radar system which detects moving vehicles around the car and informs the driver if any are within a blind spot or if they pose a potential hazard when driving, parking and exiting the vehicle

Educated at The Warriner School in Oxfordshire, Alex, chose Lancaster University for his MEng in Mechatronics and graduated in 2005. Lancaster was highly rated for the subject and an open day, which promoted a friendly campus and good engineering facilities, ‘sold’ the University to him over other options.

For Alex an engineering degree came hot on the heels of work experience at the electrical design department of Prodrive, a Banbury-based automotive engineering company, who, at the time, worked on the Subaru rally car project.

“Working on the next generation of vehicles is always exciting to see how the latest technology can work in a modern luxury car,” Alex explained.

Both graduates were at the recent opening of new engineering building at Lancaster University.

Alex’s verdict: “The new building looks fantastic with the latest equipment and excellent working environment whilst retaining the character of the old department.”

Martin added: “Superb new facility and great to see engineering at Lancaster going from strength to strength.”