Kris Harrison

16 April 2019
Support and Service Solutions UK Engineering Innovation Lead

Meet award-winning engineer, Kris, who has developed her career since joining the company in 2002, now being the UK Engineering Innovation Lead, with responsibility for leading delivery of engineering innovations to customers. Kris also leads Leonardo's outreach programme, working with schools and educational charities to promote engineering careers to young people.

When did you join Leonardo?

I studied physics at the University of Nottingham and joined the graduate programme in 2002 as an electronics engineer. Since then I haven’t looked back! I’ve taken on a number of different roles, from electronic circuit design, product integration and environmental qualification to multi-disciplinary engineering management. In all of these roles, I’ve had the opportunity to work on different sites, with different customers and suppliers, and to see different elements of the engineering lifecycle.

What are your main tasks as the Support and Service Solutions (S3) UK Engineering Innovation Lead?

Working within the S3 line of business, I'm responsible for leading delivery of engineering innovations to our customers. This includes transforming current engineering activities, practices and processes to improve efficiency and effectiveness and to better meet customers' needs.

Tell us about your typical day

My day might start with a videoconference with people from several other sites around the UK and Italy to share updates on the progress of pilot projects which are trialing specific tools and techniques. We discuss activities and problems; sometimes I even run workshops with the teams to help them understand key issues. Based on their feedback, I can then spend the rest of the morning analysing some of their data, updating guidelines or processes, and sharing any best practice with other parts of the business.

A key part of my role is in finding better ways of working together, so in the afternoon I might spend time collaborating with members of our engineering, procurement or manufacturing teams to identify product cost-saving opportunities.

The day might end by hosting a group of school students as they visit our Luton site to find out about the exciting world of engineering.

What related activities are you involved with outside your specific job role?

I’m fortunate that I can find time to lead our outreach programme, working with schools and educational charities to promote engineering careers to young people. It’s really rewarding to deliver a talk or engineering activity, and see the impact that you’re having on the future of those students. Hopefully one of them will be responsible for continuing the improvement of our business in years to come!

It was such an honour to win the WISE Inspiring Young People Award 2015, and fantastic to receive recognition for all of the work that both myself and my ambassador team have done to make our outreach programme the success it is today. Working with young people and watching them develop their skills, knowledge and confidence is rewarding in itself, but this award has been the icing on the cake.
What do you enjoy about working at Leonardo?

The work at Leonardo is varied and challenging, and there is always a new problem to solve. During my time with the company, I’ve helped to design and develop defensive aids systems for the Eurofighter Typhoon aircraft and the Wildcat and Apache helicopters. Having heard first-hand from pilots how our equipment has helped to save their lives and those of their crews, I know that what I do every day makes a difference and really can affect the lives of our customers and end-users.

Read Kris's article entitled 'Change The World – Become an Engineer!'