In our first Spotlight feature of 2023, we meet Owen Davies. From a toolmaking apprentice to a project engineer, Owen has had a unique journey at Rhino Doors and has developed a whole host of new skills along the way. Here, we delve into his professional background, his evolving career with Rhino Doors, and his ambitions for the future of the firm.
Tell us a bit about your career prior to joining Rhino Doors.
I’ve been working in the engineering sector for over 10 years now. After completing a mechanical engineering course at a local college, I began an apprenticeship in toolmaking at a precision automation engineering company. It was there that I gained an in-depth understanding of how to programme and operate different machinery to produce bespoke products for well-known companies within the automotive sector.
Upon completion of my apprenticeship, I began running my own area of the CNC department, and I was responsible for the operation and maintenance of several machines. Having developed my experience and knowledge during my time with the firm, I felt that I was ready for a new challenge, and this led me to join the Rhino team.
When did you first join Team Rhino and what role were you working in?
I joined the team in Port Talbot in January 2020. At the time, Rhino had a big project ongoing in the workshop and was actively recruiting people with an engineering background to help the project run smoothly. I met with the firm’s Head of Operations, who talked me through the role and responsibilities, and I was brought in as a sub-contracted workshop engineer.
How has your role within the company evolved since then, and what capacity do you work in now?
After working as a subcontractor for just under a year, I was taken on full-time, as a permanent member of staff, in the same role. I worked closely with both the Finish Bay and Fill Bay teams to manufacture products to the correct specification.
In May 2021, I had the opportunity to progress my career by joining the Projects team. As well as the design aspect of my new role, it also consists of carrying out site surveys and liaising with customers, something which I previously had little experience with but saw as a new opportunity to develop my skills. Each day brings new challenges, which I tackle using my core engineering knowledge, in conjunction with the investments Rhino has made in engineering software and fluidity between departments.
Since progressing into my new role, I’ve also completed an auditing course, and several Rhino employees have been upskilled in this area, carrying out audits throughout the year to ensure continual improvement within the business. Despite being part of the Projects team, I thoroughly enjoy working closely with multiple departments, which allows for the ongoing sharing of knowledge between teams.
Tell us about the kind of changes you’ve seen during your time with the company.
One of the biggest changes I’ve seen during my time with Rhino is the creation of our parent company, Rhino Engineering Group, and the establishment of our new subsidiaries, Rhino Site Systems and Rhino HySafe. This has allowed for the streamlining of our services and facilitates the delivery of continued high-quality experiences for our clients.
Our NPSA (formerly CPNI) range of doors has been completely re-designed and put through rigorous testing to achieve the required security ratings. We’ve also put our NPSA MFES personnel doors through a testing programme, which has resulted in them achieving acoustic ratings as well as fire ratings.
What I enjoy most about my job is the constant desire to improve our products and processes. I’ve recently been on an Inventor course and our new Project Engineering Director has given me access to the Inventor software, which I believe is a massive step in terms of advancing the design of our doors.
You’ll have worked on lots of projects during your time at Rhino – is there one that stands out as a particularly enjoyable one?
Since joining Rhino, I’ve witnessed some brilliant projects for clients and sites around the world. I particularly enjoy attending site surveys at military bases. I’m fascinated by them. I think our defence projects are the ones I most enjoy because you can so clearly see the important role that our products play.
How do you see Rhino, and the wider Group, continuing to evolve in the coming years?
We’re continually growing as a company and a group, with new products and services in the pipeline. Since I first started, I’ve noticed an increase in both workload and the workforce itself, which is a great thing to see. I hope that we can continue with this momentum, moving forward and continuing to expand in terms of the solutions we deliver for our clients.
Find out more about Team Rhino by reading another of our Spotlight features here.
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