A former Rolls-Royce undergraduate training scheme entrant and Hatfield Polytechnic graduate, Jon Hilton rose to become an F1 team engineering chief and now President of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE).
Hilton joined the Institution as a young member in 1982 when on the undergrad training program at Rolls-Royce military engines group, but now faces the task of encouraging the next generation of engineers.
At the announcement, he said: “I am delighted to be taking on this role and in my year as President I want to concentrate on developing professional engineers, as well as encouraging those who have already chosen engineering as a career to make the most of their choice.
“Mentoring is something I am passionate about and am keen to promote during the coming year. I believe there is much to learn from the experience of our colleagues, not only at the start of our careers, but all the way through to retirement.
“I also want to highlight the role of entrepreneurs and how well-placed professional engineers are to be the entrepreneurs of tomorrow. Engineers are essentially problem-solvers and problem-solving is at the heart of smart business.”
His passion for engines led him into Formula One and in 1991 he moved to Cosworth where he rose up the ranks from engine designer to chief engineer of the F1 programme by the end of 1997. From there he moved to TWR Arrows and then Renault F1 where the team won both driver’s and constructor’s Formula One World Championships in 2005 and 2006.
Hilton succeeds Professor Richard Folkson, who became President in May 2015, and has previously held a number of official posts at the Institution including Chairman Coventry Automobile Division and Chairman Midland Region.