Vinita Meissner

I am a Chartered Mechanical Engineer with nearly 8 years industrial experience, the last 2 of which have been in the defence industry designing valves for Naval submarines and surface ships for navies all around the world.

Having attended all girls schools from an early age, engineering was never discussed as a profession for me despite my enthusiasm for Maths and Physics. It was only thanks to a Maths teacher who was a former engineer and an opportunity to participate in the Engineering Education Scheme at age 17 which taught me that engineering wasn’t the hands on, manual job I thought it was, enabling me to pursue Engineering as a career. It’s become a passion of mine to educate young people about what engineering really is and act as a role model for young girls interested in science to encourage them to consider becoming engineers.

I began my career with a Masters degree in Aerospace Engineering from Bristol University, however nearly all my industrial experience has been in the marine sector. I spent over 5 years working at MAATS Tech Ltd. as a Finite Element Analysis Engineer, carrying out FEA of deck equipment for huge cable laying vessels, including the NKT Victoria which went on to win Ship of the Year 2017. While there I also carried out FEA consultancy for a number of other sectors including defence for which I performed shock analyses of equipment on board military vehicles for land and sea. My other responsibilities at MAATS Tech included recruiting and training more members of the FEA team and recreating and maintaining the company website and social media accounts.

Since January 2018 I have worked at IMI Truflo Marine designing bespoke valve systems for use on nuclear and conventional submarines for both the UK and international navies. I began as a Design & Development Engineer during which time I worked closely with customers to develop products that met their technical requirements while also using value engineering to improve functionality and reduce material costs. I successfully delivered a variety of technical documentation to validate my innovative valve designs, which led directly to securing further multi-million pound contracts with multiple international customers. Within a year of working at IMI Truflo Marine, having had no previous valve experience, I was leading and training contractors and junior members of the team in producing designs and technical data. I quickly moved on to the organisation and management of a high profile, international project, the success of which has led to a recent promotion to Product Applications & Value Engineering Lead. I now manage a team of engineers and have been hand picked by the company directors to lead multiple strategic projects to accelerate global growth of IMI in 2020.

Alongside work I am a STEM Ambassador and an active member of both the Women in Engineering Society (WES) and Women in Science and Engineering (WISE). I try to participate in as much STEM outreach and diversity initiatives as I can and encourage others to do the same. I started a group of STEM volunteers at my company and have organised multiple outreach events including a Walsall Engineers project at a local primary school, an Engineering Education Scheme project with a local high school and representation of my company at the Big Bang Fair. Since I became chartered in 2019 I have been mentoring and guiding colleagues and friends in their route to chartership and have been nominated by the Institute of Mechanical Engineers as a potential short-lister for the 2020 Karen Burt Memorial Award for outstanding female engineers. I am also a key member of my company’s Women’s Equality Network as well as the Diversity and Inclusion group and I regularly organise events for International Women in Engineering Day as well as attend STEM Women careers fairs to both raise the profile of current female employees and increase further recruitment.