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St Paul’s Engineering Network 2021

23 NOVEMBER 2021


Zoom Webinar

The St Paul’s Professional Groups were first launched in 2016 in collaboration with the Old Pauline Club. Their aim is to connect those working in specific professional fields and to support current pupils and young OPs in their career journey.

Following the success of the Engineering Network Launch in 2018, we are pleased to welcome members of the St Paul’s community working in, or with an interest in engineering, to our latest meeting.  You will hear from a panel of Engineers who will be discussing their careers, the landscape of the world of Engineering, and the scope and breadth of opportunity within different fields. They will be giving their top tips on how to start your career in the Engineering, how to thrive and how to work out your specialism within the sector. There will also be a chance to ask questions through the webinar Q&A.

This will be held virtually as a panel discussion hosted by Katie Douglass, Director of Engineering and ICT at St Paul’s School.  She will be joined by Dr Alex Alliston OP, 1975-80, chartered engineer and consultant with a focus on renewable energy, sustainability and STEM engagement; Giles Thomas OP, 1979-83, BMT Chair of Maritime Engineering; Neel Le Penru OP, 2011-16, EcoAcoustic Monitoring PhD student at Imperial; and Shiv Sikand OP, 1981-85, Executive Vice President at both IC Manage and Drako Motors.

Register here to join the St Paul’s Engineering Network 2021.

While face to face networking is not possible, we will be sharing a list of the names and email details of all attendees that have consented to this, so that you can still get in contact with one another following the event.

Find out more about St Paul’s Careers and Networking events here.

It is free to register for any of our virtual events. However, if you wish to express your appreciation for the programme, please make a donation to the Shaping our Future bursary fund, and help talented boys benefit from a St Paul’s education.

Suggested donation – £10 per household

Katie Douglass, Director of Engineering and ICT – Katie joined St Paul’s in 2010 as a Teacher of Product Design, having completed her teacher training qualification and an Open University degree while teaching at a St Cecilia’s, a secondary school in Wandsworth. Katie initially studied Silversmithing and Jewellery and still enjoys a range of crafts including embroidery, sewing, and weaving, as well as writing a blog about crafting and gaming.

In 2016, she was appointed to the role of Director of ICT and, the following year, to Director of Engineering, which was expanded to include Head of Engineering for St Paul’s Juniors in 2020. As Director of Engineering, Katie’s role is to develop the curriculum and department, manage the GCSE and A level qualifications, and line-manage and support her team. She is also responsible for developing the co-curricular activities for engineering, with lunchtime activities for all year groups, and for engineering outreach. She also continues to teach Product Design from Lower Second (Year 5) to Lower Eighth (Year 12).

In 2016, Katie started Firefly Racing at St Paul’s, now a hugely successful racing team. She was appointed Greenpower Ambassador for London, helping other London schools to start and run their own Greenpower Racing Teams. As Director of ICT, Katie was appointed by Microsoft as a MIEE (Microsoft Innovative Educator) and is also a Google Certified Trainer.


Dr Alex Alliston OP, 1975-80 – Dr. Alex Alliston is a chartered engineer and consultant with a focus on renewable energy, sustainability and STEM engagement. Alex has a master’s and doctorate in engineering tribology from the University of Cambridge. His first career was as a product manager and director in a company designing tribology and materials test equipment. His second career was as a house parent, bringing up his two sons (whilst his professional engineer wife continued working). His third career was in renewable power generation, holding senior management positions in the renewable energy businesses of Rolls-Royce, Alstom Power and Ecotricity. His final full-time position was as senior product manager for Spirax Sarco Steam Specialities.  His current, fourth (or is it fifth?!) career is as a consultant and investor in renewable energy and renewable heat technologies. Alex is also STEM Ambassador and engages with primary age students at workshops and Science Fairs as well as supporting his wife, Caroline, in the development of primary STEM projects and activities (her second career!).

Giles Thomas OP, 1979-83 – Giles Thomas originally studied naval architecture & shipbuilding at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne. Following 25 years working in Australia, predominantly in research and development for the high speed craft industry, he joined UCL in 2014 as the BMT Chair of Maritime Engineering. He is a Chartered Engineer and Fellow of the Royal Institution of Naval Architects.

Neel Le Penru OP, 2011-16 – After leaving St Paul’s in 2016, Neel joined the new, interdisciplinary MEng in Design Engineering at Imperial College London, which synthesises design methodologies and engineering knowledge within a culture of innovation and enterprise. During his undergraduate degree, he interned for 6 months in New Product Development at Dyson and eventually honed his studies around interests in audio technology and sustainability. After graduating in 2020, he became the first engineer at a start-up working on ‘smart’ face masks. In October 2021, he returned to Imperial to start a PhD in ‘EcoAcoustic Monitoring’, supervised by Dr. Lorenzo Picinali (Dyson School of Design Engineering) and Prof. Robert Ewers (Department of Life Sciences). His doctorate is part of the SAFE Acoustics Project ( and will focus on analysing the soundscape of the tropical rainforest in Malaysian Borneo to understand its response to human activity and climate change.

Shiv Sikand OP, 1981-85 – As Executive Vice President at both IC Manage and Drako Motors, Shiv is responsible for leading all software and hardware engineering activities. Shiv has 30+ years of experience in semiconductor design, software design, kernel development, operating systems, hard real time, electronic design automation, computer aided design, networking and network security, distributed file systems and software defined storage, computer systems engineering, automotive engineering, battery engineering, vehicle suspension, and vehicle controls, leading multi-disciplinary engineering teams.

Shiv holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Physics with Electronics and a Masters degree in Digital Systems Engineering from the University of Manchester, UK. He did his post graduate research in asynchronous systems in the Department of Computer Science AMULET Group supervised by Professor Steve Furber.



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