Today we wanted to introduce you to Helena Navas, professor at the Science and Technology School of Universidade Nova in Lisbon, and researcher at UNIDEMI (R&D Unit in Mechanical and Industrial Engineering).
Helena Navas: Born an Engineer
Why did you decide to become an engineer?
Because my parents, my older brother, uncles and cousins were all engineers. From an early age I visited my parents at work and saw the details of the engineer’s craft. I was basically born into a family of engineers, where we breathe and discuss engineering matters. Therefore, becoming an engineer was something natural for me.
What is the most attractive part of engineering for you? Why?
Becoming an engineer is the opportunity to be a service for people and society. An engineer creates new products or enhances existing ones, prepares new organizational processes or improves the existing ones. An engineer can be a complete visionary and innovator. The level of technological and organizational development of companies, organizations and society as a whole depends greatly on engineers.
Can you tell me your professional background briefly?
After I finished my studies, I started working in the training department at a consulting company. Then, I worked at a Nuclear Physics Research Institute as the only engineer of the team. Before I started my academic career – teaching classes at university, and studying a Master’s Degree and a PhD – I worked in an assembly company where I managed some important processes.
I am also the general coordinator of CIBIM 2017 – 13 º Ibero-American Mechanical Engineering Congress, that will take place 23rd-26th October 2017 in Lisbon, Portugal. CIBIM is a biannual event promoted since 1993 by FEIBIM, Ibero-American Mechanical Engineering Federation, in which mechanical engineering professors, researchers, professionals students participate.
Who are two personalities that stand out for you as engineers in the CIBIM?
One member of the Comitee of Honor of CIBIM 2017 is Dr. Eng. Francisco Aparicio Izquierdo, president of FEIBIM and professor at the Mechanical Engineering department at UPM in Madrid, Spain.
A member of the Scientific Comitee at CIBIM 2017 is Dr. Eng. José Luis San Román García, 1º Vice-President of FEIBIM and professor at the Mechanical Engineering department at Carlos III University in Madrid, Spain.
What can the Ibero-American engineering learn from foreign practices and vice-versa?
We live in a globalized world, markets have gone global and competition is increasingly fiercer. Every company and organization need to continuously check their goals and strategies and adapt them to the changing conditions around them.
Thus, engineers in the Ibero-American ecosystem must know in detail everything that is being done outside and engineers from outside the ecosystem need to know how the Ibero-American market works if they want to be players in it.
Where do you think engineering is moving towards in the future?
I think the future of engineering is increasingly more digital with Industry 4.0, and it will have an important impact on the continuous improvement and systematic innovation. Digital manufacturing will revolutionize the production processes completely. I believe the development speed of new products will be significantly faster and market competition will become fiercer. Regarding engineers, a professional needs to be more versatile and adaptable.
Do you find this story empowering? Would you like to make a difference as an engineer?