Bristol Girl Geek dinner at Pegasus House

18th november, from the backup vaults of David Whale’s email inbox…

My evening finished at 9.30…which leaves me just enough time to tidy my room blog about it!

This eve, as I mentioned yesterday, was my first Bristol Girl Geek Dinner. If you’re not familiar, GGD is a voluntary led organisation of women in STEM who meet up in different cities – for example, Bristol, Manchester and more recently, Hull restarted theirs. I think pretty much anyone can choose to start a group in their own city if there isn’t one? Luckily for me, Bristol’s is active and have monthly meetups.

This month’s was at Airbus’ newly renovated and soon-to-be-their HQ, Pegasus House. Talking to ladies from other areas of STEM I realised how much information I’ve absorbed about Pegasus without even working in there:

  • Originally built in 1930s for the Bristol Airplane Company (one of the companies which merged into other aerospace companies in the area that merged into Airbus and then eventually split off again into BAE systems…)
  • Derelict for the past…2-3 decades
  • Only moved people in last week
  • Houses Engineers, Finance and HR (my housemate being one of the HR people in there)
Unlike Barnwell House, the other new massive building directly opposite (which come together to form AAP (arp to most people) – Airbus Aerospace Park) which looks ultra modern and stylish, Pegasus looks the part of a 1930s building, and looks very classy. Additionally during the talk they mentioned the Auditorium (in which we were the first people to use in 2 decades) is open for use by any University in the area, which is kind of nice.
[Photos go here]
It’s kind of a weird building to walk up to having been working at Airbus for 3 months: everywhere else on site, and I include their current HQ building, New Filton House, there’s a security gate where you can only use a badge to get through a turn-style. Pegasus House is right on the A38 and has no security gate or guard – I don’t know what it’s like during the day, but when I walked in there was only 1 guy handing out visitor passes to the ladies not working in Airbus.
Anyhow, moving on…the talk was given on the A380 which was interesting enough: two landing gear engineers talked us through the process of designing and testing the gear for different phases of flight, and showed photos of what could go wrong if…well…you don’t design them properly. Terry, one of the engineers also showed us some photos of his journey down to Australia, as Airbus sent him and his family on secondment to work with an airline down there.
After the talk, there was time to mingle and well, eat – I got talking to a civil engineer, a project manager grad from Rolls Royce and a slightly older gent who had worked at Airbus a few years ago. I got asked quite a lot whether I think I’d like to go on to being on the Airbus graduate scheme: the truth is I have no idea. I like Airbus and Rolls Royce policy of moving the grads from area to area every few months, I think that gives you a better chance of finding the right job in the company and of course gives the opportunity to travel, but I don’t know how I’d cope with being 3 hours, 4 hours in bad traffic, from most of the people I know for longer than a year – we’ll see how I feel at the other end of this year, and what I decide masters wise next year. It’s definitely an option, and given me the chance to explore a really lovely city in the south (I know – I’m shocked they exist too) where the people are genuinely nice so I have, on the whole, enjoyed my first quarter here.
Anyway, conversations during the evening naturally were a range of topics, from Rolls Royce engineering to Airbus to unmanned aircraft and the role of a pilot now a days, to the amount of data corporations now have on everyone in the developed world. It was great to meet a range of people in the area, and I look forward to the next one, though unfortunately I doubt it will be a 10 minute walk from my house :/
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