Loughborough Alumni


Alan Vaughan Thomas

BTech Automotive Engineering, 1970

Alan shares how Loughborough landed him his dream job and discusses what he brings to the Alumni Advisory Board.

I believe that there is more that I can do over the next three years than I did in the previous three on the board, with a greater insight into roles, responsibilities and exteranl relationships.

I have worked internationally in an industry in which one could find a role for alumni from almost every past and present course of the University, and have engaged as mentor, industrial supervisor, or collaborator, over 70 Bachelor, Master, Doctoral projects, supported across 23 HEI’s, including Loughborough, in 8 countries. This provides a viewpoint for the standing of Loughborough, and a template for encouraging wider participation of alumni in this type of activity some of which is within the Board's remit.

Being located on the Loughborough University Science & Enterprise Parks, I am able to participate in the academic and administrative life of the University and to feel the pulse of its teaching, research and operational aspects, while still primarily seeing it from an alumnus perspective.

Loughborough rightly has an outstanding reputation in Sport, being world number one, after all. It also has a wider range of fields of study and research than the combined range of its constituent colleges ever had, but I am disappointed when other strengths of the University are practically unknown among the wider society, and would push personally for engineering to gain more universal recognition while supporting promotion of the whole gamut of qualifications held by existing and future alumni.

I would like to explore shorter, more informal alumni interactions with undergrads, prior to the internships and placements, more activity involving alumni at primary school level in promoting STEM while children are still forming attitudes to what they might become, and more celebration of achievements of our engineering alumni and their contribution to today's and, most of all, tomorrow's society and environment.

Career history

I currently run an automotive consultancy, CAVT Ltd, based on LUSEP, serving the automotive industry, supply chain, and financial sector and conducting in-house R&D

1969 - Technical Assistant (student placement), Bus Chassis Development, London Transport
1970-74 - Project Engineer, Vehicle Structures Dynamics & Safety, British Leyland Body & Assembly, Cowley
1974-77 - Assistant Manager, Aber Studios, Aberystwyth - bespoke printing, stationery & office equipment sales & service
1977-81 - Project Engr, Rail & Marine Technical Office; Senior Engineer Rail, Marine & Off-Highway Product Design; Project Leader, High Performance Composites Research, Metalastik, Dunlop Polymer Division, Leicester
1981-1983 - Consultant, Complete Vehicle Development, Volvo Personvagnar AB, Göteborg, SE
1983 - Owner & Consultant, Computer-Aided Vehicle Technology (CAVT), Leicester, for International Automotive Design Ltd, Worthing - CAD/CAE implementation, Flyda autonomous monorail pod project, Volvo structures, etc.
1984-85 - Owner & Consultant, Computer-Aided Vehicle Technology (CAVT), Leicester for Volvo Car BV, Helmond, NL - Body & Chassis Structural Analysis
1985 - Owner & Consultant, Computer-Aided Vehicle Technology (CAVT), Leicester, for International Automotive Design Ltd, Worthing, Mazda V105 (MX-5) crash safety design
1985-1988 - Senior Analyst, Corvette project, HW Structures Ltd, Coventry & Leamington Spa. Project Leader, Cadillac Aluminium Spaceframe concept
1988-2012 - Jaguar Cars Ltd, Coventry
1988-2000 - Principal Engineer/Technical Specialist - Advanced Body & Chassis Technology
1991 - Acting Manager, Special Vehicle Engineering
1997-2002 - Leiter, Fußgängerschutzforschung (Leader Pedestrian Protection Research), Ford Forschungszentrum Aachen GmbH, Aachen, DE. - UK & European Industry Technical Lead on EU Pedestrian Protection Directive (also (Japanese & UN IHRA)
2002-2005 - Project Manager - EU FP5 RoadSense Project
2004-2005 - Land Rover Vehicle Architecture Specialist - Advanced Product Creation (Gaydon)
2005-2008 - Megaproject Leader - Vehicle Safety Delivery, Vehicle Engineering Attributes
2008-2012 - Passive Safety Specialist - Advanced Regulations, Automotive Safety Office (Gaydon)
2013-2015 - Consultant, Safety Strategy & Test - Nissan Technical Centre Europe- Cranfield
2013-current - CEO and Director - Research & Consultancy, CAVT Ltd, Loughborough

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Loughborough University
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