TechnicianSchool of Natural and Built Environment
Dan is a technician in the School of Natural and Built Environment (NBE), providing electrical based technical support for students and research projects.
What does your role involve?
My role involves being a port of call for any electrical and instrumentation projects within NBE. Working with Researchers, students, and other technical members, I have helped an array of Schools within the faculty.
My skillset is quite unique and covers a broad spectrum.
What does an average day look like for you?
Every day so far has been great; people are friendly and work is diverse. Out of my 15-year career, working with the team at NBE is a definite highlight.
For starters, an informal get together to see how everyone is, leading to a main course of electrical wizardry with a side of mechanical ingenuity and, finally, for dessert, that feeling of contentment at a day well done.
What is the best bit about your role?
To me, the best bit is being given the creative flexibility to approach tasks and projects as I deem fit. This allows me to explore new ground in the field of electronics and data acquisition.
It is also knowing my manager has my back, playing the role of colleague and mentor, and making the working environment one of comradery.
What are the challenges?
To me a challenge is an opportunity for growth. I have had many positive challenges such as working with the ever-changing specifications that research requires; keeping up with development in the ever-changing world of electronics; and trying to keep older machinery within the labs operational, working around a lack of off the shelf spares and incorporating creative solutions.
Queen's is a signatory of the Technician Commitment, which aims to ensure visibility, recognition, career development and sustainability for technical staff across higher education and research. How proud are you to be a Technician and what advice would you give to someone embarking on a career as a technician?
I'm proud to currently be a technician; I have had other titles in the past - such as electrician and experimental test engineer. To me, a title is not everything. I am proud to have the diversity and experience utilised from my career so far.
To someone looking into a technician role, if you want diversity of work and a friendly environment with opportunities to progress your knowledge and skills, I would say you're making an excellent choice.
How do you feel your contribution impacts the teaching and research that goes on in your School?
Without technical assistance, it would be very difficult and time consuming for students and researchers to perform physical experiments. My contribution is that of having the applied knowledge of various forms of physical data collection. I make sure that the results obtained are relevant and accurate. Without me, a lot of equipment would be deemed unusable or unreliable.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
I spend my time with my wife Catherine and daughter Aoife, going on adventures. I have been often told I have too many bicycles; my main choice would be MTB. I love to alter parts of my garden and increase my household sustainability through various projects around the house.
What is the best advice you've ever received?
It’s hard for me to choose the best, the advice that comes to my mind first is: "Your health is your wealth."
What is your favourite app?
I would not be big into being on my phone in general. Although Google and YouTube can always be relied upon to help solve technical issues.
What are you most proud of?
What I, along with my family, have achieved so far in life, be it my home, raising our daughter, helping friends and making new ones along the way.
Tell us an interesting fact about yourself
I have saved a man's life using the first aid training provided by QUB and got a commendation from the chief constable of the PSNI.