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The fox jumped over the the hedge

Ash Browne's Story



Ash is our Quality Inspection Manager here at AE Aerospace and his career has been stitched together through years of experience in a variety of sectors.


Straight out of school his family presented him with 3 options, college, apprenticeship, or university; a question many of us have had to face. Ash felt that the apprenticeship route was best for him because he valued practical experience and so he began the 6-year journey to becoming an engineer.


The defining moment for Ash, was when at 16, he attended a welcome meeting with his fellow apprentices. As part of a test to determine where in the business each apprentice was best suited, all the apprentices were shown a sentence on an overhead projector for 2 seconds, ‘the fox jumped over the hedge’ and then asked one by one to say what they had seen. All 15 repeated the sentence but Ash spotted ‘the fox jumped over the the hedge’. He was recognised for his attention to detail, building the foundation for the rest of his career in Quality and Inspection!


From aged 18, he was exposed to CMM’s and has since mastered 6 different CMM software packages and developed a career spanning 21 years in metrology. Ash has worked in automotive, aerospace and motorsport, including 12 years with AP racing where he was promoted to Principal Inspector, before finally joining us, AE Aerospace. Ash explained the challenges that come with moving ‘from a fast-paced environment with instant results to an industry where components can take months and sometimes years to make.’


Working in metrology means you need to have a strong attention to detail and a logical mind. I was curious as to whether some people are more ‘catered’ to the role than others. When asking Ash, he explained that he does like things done a certain way but joked that merely it means ‘I have standards!’


Ash loves how vast the engineering universe is. In the metrology galaxy, there is so much to learn. A story that resonates with Ash is one of his mentors who had been an engineer for over 55 years. When Ash asked him how he would sum up his career in metrology and what he has learned, he responded, ‘if you imagine a cube represents the engineering world, take one chip off the edge and that’s how much of it I know’.


When discussing tech, Ash highlighted that the emergence of new technologies is exciting for his sector. Whilst the measurement principles remain the same, the ways of measuring components are fast evolving. This new technology doesn’t make job roles redundant as ‘a machine is only as good as its programmer, instead, it frees up time for our engineers to develop elsewhere.’


Ash explained that becoming a manager can be challenging as a lot of trust is placed in him. He encourages collaborative working within his department and expressed he feels fortunate to have a diverse but like-minded team. From apprentices to seasoned engineers, the different experiences they have been exposed to means that they can share their knowledge with one another.


Finally, when asked what he looks for when hiring new team members, it was simple: an eagerness to learn. Ash shared that he was once a person that conformed to the majority and was afraid to ask questions. The one day he stepped out of his comfort zone, mapped out the rest of his life.


I’m glad he did!