Sir Peter Gregson, Chief Executive and Vice-Chancellor of Cranfield University, met a group of 60 alumni in Paris this week, at an event hosted by Air Transport Management alumnus Alexandre Paquot.
The Vice Chancellor was part of a university delegation exhibiting at Paris Airshow, where he and senior staff met with key partners including Thales, Inmarsat, SAAB, Lockheed Martin and the RAeS.
His visit culminated in an alumni and friends event at Club de L'Étoile, and he addressed the audience with an optimistic message, saying, "This event is just one example of the way in which we must continue to bring together all parts of the Cranfield University family. We find ourselves in a changing and delicate world, and divisions in society are something a university has a responsibility to break down. Having shared a Cranfield experience with people from all over the world, of every race and religion, our alumni are the best ambassadors we could ask."
The event began with a panel discussion around the challenges and opportunities within the aviation sector. Led by Professor Graham Braithwaite, the panel was comprised of Steve Murray, Strategy and Marketing Director at Thales UK; Annamaria Nassisi, Director of Communications, Women in Aerospace Europe and Strategic Marketing Manager at Thales Alenia Space; Tony Spouncer, Global Director of Safety and Operational Services at Inmarsat; and Professor Iain Gray, Director of Aerospace.
The speakers looked towards a third aerospace revolution and identified some key opportunities for the sector, including enhancing the ability to analyse, interpret and take action on customer data in real time; increasing the application of UAV technology; and focusing on the next generation of aircraft connectivity.
Thinking of the challenges facing the industry, Tony Spouncer of Inmarsat highlighted the need for regulation to keep pace with innovation and Steve Murray of Thales UK suggested that it is now a crucial time to look at how to attract the digital skills required by aerospace from outside of the sector.
A networking reception followed and alumni from the last 35 years shared their memories of Cranfield as they discussed the key role they want to take in shaping the university for future generations of students.
Our thanks to our alumni Alex, Jessica, Rudy, Adrian and Vincent for organising the event in collaboration with the Alumni and Development team.
About Cranfield University
Cranfield University is a specialist postgraduate university that is a global leader for education and transformational research in technology and management.