Tormach Employee Spotlight: John Prentice, Senior Consultant

[Not a valid template]Get to know the Tormach Team! Today’s post is another installment in a blog series about our employees and features Tormach’s first hire, Senior Consultant John Prentice of London, England.

John’s family have been engineers and scientists starting with his Victorian great-grandfather, so it was not surprising that he was dismantling and making things from an early age. He graduated with a BS in Electrical Engineering from Imperial College London, and this led to a varied career involving a rail locomotive control system, running a university computer service with mainframe computers, designing micro-computer hardware and operating software, teaching high-school Physics and Design, engineering consultancy and, most recently, as Royal Academy of Engineering Visiting Teaching Fellow in Design at Nottingham University.

In “retirement” John is working with Tormach, the Rolls-Royce Heritage Trust, and has just been invited back part-time at the University to help teach Mechanical Engineering. Read his responses to our list of standard questions:

  1. What is your “official” job title and how long have you worked at Tormach?
    I am called “Senior Consultant” which means that I am on call to turn my hand to problem solve at all stages of the product life cycle. I count as the “first hire” of the company for writing the PCNC 1100 manual in Spring 2005.
  2. What do you like most about working at Tormach?
    In many companies the Mission Statement is something thought up to fill a gap on a web page or the annual report; not so with Tormach. I think that engineers are excited about making things and it is even better seeing the stuff that Tormach customers have been able to make by us Enabling Their Ideas.
  3. What’s the best part of your job?
    I love the chance to analyze people’s needs and, working with the full-time team, try to design solutions to satisfy them. We try hard to avoid using technologies merely because they exist by focusing on what the user really needs.
  4. What’s the hardest part of your job?
    Keeping my nose out of things that don’t concern me – and have better people already working on them. The Atlantic Ocean is a great help in holding me under control.
  5. How do you spend your weekends?
    As I am supposed to be a retired person with only three jobs left, every day is alike! I enjoy making and repairing things, especially clocks, in my workshop. I sing (badly), enjoy our family including grandchildren and do the heavier stuff in the garden.
  6. If you won the lottery, what would you do?
    Let them know there was a mistake. I like avoiding voluntary tax by never buying tickets for anything with a prize bigger than a bottle of Scotch.
  7. What is your favorite food/movie/band/book/hobby (pick one)?
    I could read almost anything by Neville Shute time and time again. Trustee from the Tool room is a very good tale.
  8. Tell us a joke.
    There were three hungry cannibals, a chemist, a physicist and an engineer, who found a human thigh bone. The chemist licked it, and put it in water to try to dissolve it. The physicist tried to break it open to get at the marrow. The engineer took it, hit the other two over the head, and ate them.