We are delighted to announce the winners of the 2021 Cranfield Aerospace and Aviation Alumni Awards.
In partnership with Cranfield College of Aeronautics Alumni Association, these awards recognise the exceptional achievements of our aerospace and aviation alumni while showcasing the global impact of Cranfield University.
Meet the 2021 Distinguished Aerospace Alumni Award Winner
Chris Gear (MSc Aircraft Design 1984)
Project Director, FlyZero for the ATI
Chris has a wealth of experience in the aerospace industry, having led major strategic projects, including in the areas of disruptive and novel technologies. He was Chief Technology Officer for GKN Aerospace from 2014 to 2019 and ran the Global Technology Department for the engineering group. Prior to that, as Vice President & Chief Engineer of GKN Aerospace, Chris led the engineering and technology team on several major projects A350 Rear Spar, A400M Front & Rear Spar and numerous composite airframe components.
Chris began his career as a Graduate Apprentice with Dowty Group Services, before taking on engineering and management roles within the industry. His experience covers many facets of the FlyZero programme - from design and research, to manufacturing process development, operational costs, product strategies and airworthiness. He graduated from Cranfield Institute of Technology with an MSc in Aircraft Design in 1984 and is a Fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society and a Visiting Professor for Bath University with the Royal Academy of Engineering.
Meet the 2021 Excellence in Achievement Award for Recent Aerospace Graduates Winner
Dr Siti Juita Mastura Binti Mohd Saleh (PhD Aerospace Vehicle Design 2016)
Senior Lecturer, Department of Aeronautical Engineering, Faculty of Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering, Universiti Tun Hussein Onn Malaysia
In a complex-ridden aerospace industry dominated by men, Dr Siti Juita Mastura Mohd Saleh is one of the women who is at the forefront of its development. She is currently a lecturer in the Department of Aeronautical Engineering at Universiti Tun Hussein Onn Malaysia (UTHM), a tenured position held since she was awarded a PhD in Aerospace Engineering from Cranfield University in 2016.
Siti was one of the first female Malaysian's to be certified with a professional drone pilot license, RePL, by the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) in Australia, and her illustrious career with drones began with the development of an Autonomous Parcel Drone for Pos Malaysia. Reflecting on the opportunities that come with the advancement of drone technology, Siti's interest branched towards the development of autonomous agricultural drones, and the experience and background she gained in Aircraft Structure during her PhD led to her appointment as the Head of Structure Unit for Malaysia’s biggest Cargo Drone Project.
Siti is involved as a lead consultant in many projects at national level, such as supporting the National TVET Agenda for Aerospace and Automotive Industries with the Ministry of Human Resources of Malaysia. Her understanding of the importance of education and human capital development has also led to Siti supporting the Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia in promoting safety management in the Aerospace Industry. In addition, as a co-founder of the UTHM spin-off company known as Avitex Solution, she has conducted numerous training programmes for government agencies and industries on drone operation safety.
Siti is passionate about promoting equality in experiencing the technology, which has led to her running community engagement programmes in conjunction with Youth With Disabilities and Aborigines.
Meet the 2021 Distinguished Aviation Alumni Award Winner
Liz Savage (MSc Air Transport Management 1995)
Liz continues to enjoy a fascinating & fulfilling career in aviation, travel & tourism, with 25-years’ experience in senior executive and non-executive Director roles in the industry.
After graduating as an aeronautical engineer (Bristol Uni), Liz complemented her technical studies with a Masters in Air Transport Management at Cranfield, setting her path into commercial aviation.
After a first role in airfield operations at Manchester Airport, Liz joined low cost airline easyJet in its start up phase and became Business Development Director at the age of 28. In its first decade of operations, easyJet changed the face of air travel in Europe.
“I didn’t realise it at the time, but we were growing so fast, I experienced more in those ten years at easyJet than many people do in a whole career!”
Liz then led significant business change at Monarch Travel Group as Managing Director of the travel company’s direct to consumer airline, modernising the business model to meet a changing market. In 2008, Liz’s leadership was recognised, being voted British Travel Industry Young Manager of the Year and as one of the Sunday Times 35 Business Women Under 35.
An exciting opportunity led Liz to relocate with her partner to Australia to become Chief Commercial Officer of Virgin Blue, during its early-stage transformation from low-cost carrier to a more premium Virgin Australia. Liz held accountability for the Group’s $3.5bn global revenue and customer-facing functions including sales, marketing, pricing, loyalty scheme and guest contact centres.
Liz continues to enjoy life in Australia and has transitioned to being a full time Non-Executive Director, broadening her work to include businesses in tourism & hospitality, whilst retaining aviation and travel at the core of her portfolio.
“I’m particularly passionate about purpose-led leadership, customer centricity and tackling the sustainability challenges the industry faces”.
Liz’s current directorships include Auckland Airport (NZ), North Queensland Airports and Intrepid Travel. She has previously been a director of Mantra Hotels, Swissport ANZ, Brisbane Marketing and Triathlon Australia. She is currently Chair of the Industry panel, guiding the Queensland Government’s Covid-19 Tourism Recovery Plan.
“My studies at Cranfield were instrumental as a launchpad for a dynamic, challenging & stimulating career in aviation that I continue to enjoy. I’m honored to be receiving this award amongst such high achieving peers in an industry which is so very vital - thank you!”.
Meet the 2021 Excellence in Achievement Award for Recent Aviation Graduates Winner
Dr Camille Burban (MSc Human Factors and Safety Assessments in Aeronautics 2012, PhD Transport Systems 2016
Aviation Safety Manager, TUI Airways
Camille started her Aviation journey with a Mechatronics Engineering degree in Valenciennes, France, before joining Cranfield in 2011 where she completed her MSc in Human Factors and Safety Assessment in Aviation and, following this, her PhD focused on Human Factors in Air Accident Investigation.
Her research supported the development of the human factors capability at the UK AAIB. Her passion for aviation safety and human factors was later pursued at Clockwork Research, a consultancy specialising in fatigue management based in London. She then stepped into an Operational Safety Officer role at Eastern Airways, before Joining Flybe in 2019 as Safety Manager.
Since May 2020, Cam is the Aviation Safety Manager at TUI Airways, based in Luton. Her achievements to date include, alongside the teams at TUI, securing the return to service of the 737 MAX in the UK and ensuring a safe restart to international air travel following the COVID 19-crisis.
Camille’s expertise helps bridge the gap between academia and industry by translating and applying tools from the research world into an airline environment. Since she left Cranfield, Cam has continued to give guest lectures and support students for both MSc and professional short courses in the Centre for Safety and Accident Investigation and the Centre for Air Transport Management at Cranfield University.