Luke Dunwoody: Launching a career into the galaxy and beyond

"Keeping my options open has always been key for me - to understand what I was good at and what I wanted to do."- Luke Dunwoody
 
Where on the planet are you currently located? Portsmouth, UK.
 
What is your current job and how did you go about pursue such a career? I am a Project Manager for Astrium Satellites in the Assembly, Integration and Test (AIT) department. I manage the team that puts the satellite together and then tests it to ensure it is working properly and won’t fail in space.  
 
I went to University in Birmingham where I studied Mechanical Engineering and Business Management. I was always good at maths and science at school and enjoyed business so I wanted a course that would keep all those options open. I am lucky to have found a job now where I can continue using all those skills. I joined Astirum in 2005 initially on their two-year graduate scheme where I worked in a number of departments around the company. This was a great experience as I had the chance to meet many people throughout the business. It was also an opportunity to learn what I did and didn't want from my career without being tied in for longer than a six month placement. Following the graduate scheme I joined AIT and haven't looked back.  

Keeping my options open has always been key for me - varied courses, jobs and experiences to build my CV and to understand what I was good at and what I wanted to do. (FirstStep.me says great advice!)
 
What has been one of the most interesting aspects of your career? It was a great feeling when Atlantic Bird 7 (the first project I managed) was launched into space. I like knowing that something I have worked on is in space, orbiting the earth now and will be for 15 years. After the end of service it will even be released into outer space - quite cool for something built in Portsmouth!  
 
If you weren't doing what you currently do what would you be doing? No idea really - unfortunately I lacked the natural talent to become a footballer, cricketer or golfer!  
 
If I had a big change in my circumstances now I would seriously consider travelling the world for a year, before getting back to a job, house etc.
 
Do you kick start your day with a cup of coffee? Nope, I don't drink coffee or tea. I start with Orange juice and a mix of muesli and cornflakes! (FirstStep.me is questioning mixing these 3 food types together!)
 
You have also done some global trekking, tell us about some of your adventures? I presented the IET Faraday lecture in 2007. This was a stage show about Formula 1 aimed at young people to inspire them to follow an engineering career. We toured around the UK and Ireland and then went to Asia for 6 weeks presenting in Malaysia, Hong Kong, Singapore and China. It was an amazing experience. I've been to the last two soccer World Cups in Germany and South Africa. This was really the fulfillment of a childhood dream, especially seeing Brazil play in Soccer City, Jo'burg. Currently planning for my visit to the next World Cup in Brazil 2014!
 
Recently I was living in France for a year which was a great experience. The weather was certainly an improvement on England and the food was fantastic. I love being able to take a day off work and go to the mountains or the beach.

Luke Dunwoody: Launching a career into the galaxy and beyond  
 
If you could name your own planet what would you call it? Guess I'd name it after myself. No choice really if you had that kind of opportunity. (FirstStep.me totally agrees!)
 
Words of advice for the youth of the planet? If you have an opinion, say so (respectfully). I believe you gain respect and get noticed for having opinions along with courage in your convictions. Say what you mean, mean what you say!