Matthew Dustan is the Director of Laboratory Test Systems here at AB Dynamics where he leads development of our class-leading laboratory test solutions including the ANVH 250, SSTM and SPMM.
What made you want to become an engineer?
My dad was an aeronautical engineer working on helicopters in the royal navy. So, from an early age, I was tinkering in the garage with him fixing cars or building remote-controlled vehicles. I have always loved being hands-on and solving problems, so it was a logical choice. I studied for a masters in mechanical engineering with a specialism in automotive at Bath University and was a part of the Formula Student team there.
What advice would you give someone looking to start a career in engineering?
Engineering is very broad, so find out what you enjoy and try and do a lot of it, both professionally and personally. A lot of engineers have some interesting hobbies outside of work that revolve around engineering. It helps to apply the theory to real life situations. For example, I am currently landscaping the garden at home, so I have built a sifting machine to separate stones from the soil. It saves my back and makes the job a little more interesting.
What does a typical day look like for you at AB Dynamics?
As Director of Laboratory Test Systems, I am very much focused on how we are developing the products in this division of the business. I need to make sure we are keeping up to date with how the sector is changing and what the industry trends are so we can align our products. I also keep a handle on the delivery of sales, making sure the projects are delivered on time to the best quality.
What have been your biggest achievements at AB Dynamics?
I helped to develop our ANVH 250 suspension system test machine. It is a brand-new machine that was designed entirely in-house and there isn’t anything else on the market that achieves the same thing. We really were cutting new ground on this project.
I also led the complete redesign of the control system of our SPMM kinematics and compliance test machine. This was a very challenging project because we were taking a very well-established product and fundamentally changing how it was controlled to bring it into the modern age. The result is a much more modular product, which not only helps in the manufacturing of the machine but it also provides customers with a clear upgrade path.
What is the best thing about working at AB Dynamics?
It is a really exciting place to work. We are a company in transition that is growing rapidly, which presents big opportunities for the people in the team. It is such a great time to get involved. You can make a bigger difference here than at a large multinational and you see the impact you make on a daily occurrence. At AB Dynamics you have the opportunity to help shape the direction of the business and are given room to grow as an individual. I joined as a graduate mechanical design engineer in 2013 and have worked my way up to a project engineer, manager of the SPMM products and now lead the business division.
What is it like to live in and around Bradford-on-Avon?
It is a quaint family town with lovely pubs and restaurants and lots going on. It is also very well connected. The hustle and bustle and exciting nightlife of Bristol is less than 40 minutes away on a direct train and Bath is just 10 minutes away. Right on the doorstep is some beautiful countryside, which is perfect for walking and cycling. We have lots of internal clubs at AB Dynamics, such as climbing, bouldering and badminton, to make use of the local area. There is a real community feel at the company.