Dr. Nicholas Bardell
Royal Aeronautical Society Australian Division
RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia

Lecture Title: Developing Exceptional Engineers

Lecture Summary/Abstract:

The aim of this Keynote is to identify and discuss the attributes of an exceptional aerospace engineer, to explore how such qualities can be developed, and to explore how such engineers can benefit the future aerospace industry. These personal insights have been gained during the author’s broad and varied 41 years of experience, in which he has worked in both the supply side (Universities) and the demand side (various Aero Engineering companies) of Aerospace Engineering.

Technical knowledge, competency, and capability are assumed; so is continued professional development. The output is a good engineer. However, the author contends there is a collection of other attributes that set the exceptional engineer apart. These qualities will be examined, discussed, and illustrated with examples. Once identified, these qualities can be developed in promising engineers who have the potential to become exceptional engineers.

Exceptional engineers act as the scaffold on which a company’s culture is developed, they provide a positive role model for junior staff, and they facilitate embedded leadership at whatever level they work. As such, they represent an excellent value proposition that no aerospace company can afford to overlook.


Dr Nicholas Bardell has held a lifelong interest in aerospace/aviation and has divided his entire working career between academia and practicing as a professional aerospace engineer. He has held academic Lecturing appointments in the UK and Australia and his industrial experience has been gained in a technical capacity on various civil and military aircraft projects undertaken by BAe, Rolls-Royce, Northrop-Grumman, Airbus and GKN Aerospace Engineering Services. He has published 70 Journal and Conference papers, is a Fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society, and is registered as a Chartered Engineer.