IoD Branch Ambassador Introduction
Your name: Dr Jon Symonds
Your title/role and company name: Managing Director of the Products Division, and R&D Director, at Cambustion
Your IoD branch: Suffolk
Your IoD Branch Ambassador role: R&D and Science
Your social media handles: www.linkedin.com/in/jonsymonds
Q: How long have you been involved with the IoD?
Q: Can you tell us a little about your career to date?
I hold a degree in Physics (1999), and a PhD in Physical Chemistry (2003), both from the University of Cambridge. I started as a Research Scientist at Cambustion in 2004. Today as R&D Director I lead all new product development, instrumentation for measuring automotive and other environmental emissions. Since 2015 I’ve also been Managing Director of the Products Division, the half of the business which develops and manufactures instrumentation (we also have a Consultancy Division actually performing automotive emissions testing). I’m a Chartered Engineer and a Chartered Physicist.
Q: What do you hope to achieve as an IoD Branch Ambassador?
To raise the profile of the IOD amongst research and development based organisations in Suffolk, and also amongst potential younger members with technical proclivities who may not see themselves yet as “business people”. To promote Suffolk as a place to do R&D, and to promote the idea that business and R&D is a winning mix, especially amongst younger people still making their career choices, for example IOD Student members.
Q: If you could give your 21 year old self some advice what would it be?
Don’t waste worry on things you can’t change. Save it as a powerful force to change the things you can. Oh, and time speeds up as you get older….
Q: What keeps you busy outside of work?
I live in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, with my wife Rachel. I’m a member and former Chairman of the local Round Table. I’m also a STEM Ambassador. I maintain a number of classic vehicles, including a couple of tractors. I’m basically a bit of a tinkerer.
Q: Are there any business related or policy issues that keep you awake at night?
I wouldn’t go as far to say it keeps me awake, but I am concerned about there not being nearly enough people choosing careers in Engineering and Science, and I am concerned about lack of aspiration amongst young people in rural areas such as Suffolk. I would hope that eventually solving the latter will help to solve the former.
Q: Why do you think business leaders should join the IoD?
To meet new and interesting people from different business backgrounds and perspectives, and most importantly to learn from those you will meet.