Welcome to our Q&A session with Max Harris

A 24-year-old Design Engineer at Xwatch Safety Solutions, part of Hexagon. Max began his journey with Xwatch in 2020 while studying at the University of Portsmouth and quickly advanced from manufacturing assemblies to the design team. Join us as we explore Max’s career path, challenges, and insights into the world of design engineering.

Could you start by telling us a little about yourself and what led you to your current role as a Design Engineer at Xwatch Safety Solutions, part of Hexagon?

I joined the Xwatch team in mid-2020, starting in manufacturing assemblies while attending the University of Portsmouth. During a placement year, I worked in the aerospace sector, gaining extensive mechanical design experience. This led to my return to Xwatch as part of the design team. My final year at university was spent juggling academic commitments with professional duties at Xwatch, resulting in my promotion to Graduate Design Engineer upon graduating. 

Reflecting on your journey from a Graduate Design Engineer to a Design Engineer, what have been the key experiences and milestones in your career development at Xwatch?

My career path has progressed from Assistant Engineer to Graduate Design Engineer and now to Design Engineer. Xwatch has expanded considerably in recent years, and I have embraced greater responsibilities, including managing component failures and developing new mechanical designs. The guidance and support from my colleagues have been instrumental in this growth. 

Can you share details about a particularly challenging project you’ve worked on at Xwatch? What were the obstacles, and how did you manage to overcome them?

One significant challenge has been managing the logging of component failures and communicating these details to suppliers and manufacturers. This role has improved my technical communication skills and taught me how to manage failures in our system design analysis. 

How have your past roles or academic experiences shaped your approach to design engineering?
My background is predominantly in mechanical design engineering, although I have also developed a keen interest in electronics and software. My academic and professional experiences have taught me how to approach new designs and effectively use the necessary tools daily. 

Looking forward, what are your professional goals, and how do you plan to achieve them within Xwatch or the broader engineering field?

My goals include further skill development, expanding my professional network, and aiding the continued growth of Xwatch. I am keen to work collaboratively with various teams across Hexagon, engage in new projects, attend industry exhibitions, and keep abreast of the latest technologies and their applications. 

Based on your experiences, what advice would you offer to recent graduates aspiring to enter the field of design engineering?

Make the most out of every moment you have at University. Many students attending university during COVID, myself included, were disadvantaged by the closure of most of the lab facilities. During this time, we were given access to many of the University’s software, including Creo and MATLAB. I spent much of my free time working through some small projects using the available tools, which helped me understand much about myself and what drives me. And one other thing, gain experience where you can in a professional company. Whether it be an internship, a part-time role, or whatever you can get your hands on. Experience in applying your knowledge to solve a real-world solution is invaluable. 

Xwatch Safety Solutions was recently acquired by Hexagon. How do you think this change will impact your role, and what new opportunities do you anticipate being part of such a large global company?

I am always excited by big changes because they bring new challenges. Joining forces with Hexagon AB, a multi-billion dollar multinational company, opens vast opportunities for us at Xwatch. This collaboration allows us to develop newer, more effective solutions for a much broader market. Additionally, it increases our capacity to engage with other professionals within the Geosystems group. Our partnership also facilitates collaboration with other companies, integrating their technologies into our safety equipment. I am eager to contribute to these collaborative efforts and assist wherever possible to drive our shared success forward. 

Can you share a fun fact about yourself that most people might not know?
I love playing music! I have been in a few bands, playing covers and originals, most recently in an Alt-Rock band called Skinny Knowledge.