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Temoc Rodriguez

Global Technical Authority - Electronics
Temoc Rodriguez


Temoc, with over 20 years' expertise in high integrity power electronics across energy, oil & gas, aerospace, defence, and automotive sectors, co-founded a startup post his Cambridge University Ph.D. The startup, focusing on grid-connected inverters for solar and wind farms, was later acquired. He contributed to power electronic drive systems for industrial and oil & gas applications at a consultancy before joining Ultra for aerospace products. At Ricardo since 2021, he spearheads electrification projects including DC/DC converters, onboard chargers, traction inverters, and hydrogen fuel cell systems, defining innovation strategy and customer solutions.


What inspired you to pursue a career in engineering and technology?
I’ve always been fascinated with how things worked. I was inspired to go out and explore and verify truths that I’d read about, from creating rainbows with a garden hose to setting things on fire with a magnifying glass. Despite my parents not having scientific backgrounds, they tolerated my curiosity and ignorance of hazards. By the time I was 12, I’d delved into the inner workings of various home gadgets like toasters, TVs, telephones, radios, games consoles and cartridges. I also experimented with skateboards and bicycles to understand the benefits of some components over others, including bearings, gears, chains, and lubrication oils.

Fast forward to university decision time, I was torn between mechanical engineering with a focus on engines or electrical engineering with a focus on motor drives. In the 1990s, robots were all the hype and I decided to go for electrical engineering. In a roundabout way, I’ve returned to my childhood aspirations of working in propulsion systems, albeit electric instead of thermal.

How has your journey been in becoming a Fellow of the Institution of Engineering and Technology?
There have been ups and downs, and this journey can be described in various ways. Unlike academics, few in industry aim to achieve fellowships nowadays; many are overwhelmed by administrative burdens. Throughout my career, I’ve chosen to remain technically focused and worked for companies on projects impacting our daily lives, like transportation, energy generation, or national security. I’ve declined opportunities involving greater business responsibilities in favour of technology development. I believe it is this cumulative and continuous technical contribution that has led to this achievement.

What projects or achievements have you been most proud of in your career?
I find it rewarding to see things deployed in the field and say, “I was involved in that.” From 2004 to 2007, I helped create a startup focused on photovoltaic power generation, which was later sold to a US investor. The technology I created is still used in thousands of installations across the US. Between 2007 and 2013, I contributed to various industrial projects, two of which stand out: designing power architecture and electronic supplies for telecommunications equipment for a satellite communications company and designing the power drive for a 600kW industrial vibration system.

In 2013 I joined the aerospace division of a defence company. If you ever fly in an Airbus A350 or see an F35 fly out of Marham RAF base, then there’s a piece of kit in there that I designed. Since joining Ricardo in 2021, I’ve worked on a range of projects, mostly R&D. One highlight is developing a hydrogen fuel cell system for aerospace propulsion, which will hopefully one day decarbonise air travel. 

How do you see the future of engineering and technology evolving, and what role do you think you will play in it?
Human endeavour is underpinned by engineering and technology. Entire civilisations rise or fall based on their presence or absence. Today is no exception, and it helps decisions at national and international levels. Technologies that optimise resource use will continue to be just as important as technologies that process vast amounts of data. At Ricardo, we focus on both, particularly in transportation systems.

As a Global Technical Expert, I work closely with colleagues to define the company’s technology strategy, ensuring alignment with industry expectations. Additionally, I lead R&D internally and collaborate on efforts to further technology in propulsion systems. 

How important do you think continuous learning and professional development are for engineers and technologists?
Staying current with practices and knowledge is essential. Regardless of your role, engineers must continually learn new methods and skills to remain competitive. The rate of technological progress is steep. When I designed my first audio amplifier as a teenager, I used bipolar transistors that required bolting onto a big lump of metal. I know my pre-decessors used valves, but I’m not that old! Class D amplifiers became possible in the 90s with advancement in field effect transistors. Today, silicon carbide and gallium nitride power transistors greatly enhance power converters efficiency. The evolution of electric propulsion has been equally remarkable. While the fundamentals of electric motors date back to the 1800s, advance in materials, manufacturing methods and computer-assisted engineering have enabled us to significantly shrink their size, making them suitable for small passenger cars without compromising torque and power requirements.

How do you balance technical expertise with leadership and management skills in your role?
All these qualities are interrelated. Achieving technical excellence requires as much knowledge as leadership and management skills. Leadership is demonstrated when we present our ideas for investment or for acceptance by our customers. Management skills are demonstrated when we are able to develop technology within the bounds of budgets and timescales. Individuals who may lack in one of these areas can compensate by teaming up with the right people to create the whole package.

In what ways do you contribute to the broader engineering and technology community outside of your professional role?
I spend a large proportion of my personal time doing charity work. For many years I ran science clubs and experiments at a local primary school. Since becoming Chartered in 2009 I have been mentoring engineers on how to gain professional registration. I also try to stay in touch with my network by attending events and lectures and occasionally presenting at these events.

What areas of engineering and technology do you find most exciting or promising for the future?
I am biased towards electric propulsion as this is the field I currently work in, but I am also astounded by the advances in assisted and autonomous driving. Machine learning will also play an ever-increasing role in control systems to improve safety and optimise energy usage. 

Josh Ley was a great mentor to you in supporting your fellowship journey. You in turn are a greatly respected mentor to other engineering colleagues. Why do you feel it’s important to mentor and be mentored?
I am truly grateful to Josh for supporting my activities at Ricardo. Having a mentor is useful in many ways, from navigating the corporate world to bouncing off ideas. Learning can be accelerated when one is able to listen to what others have to say. Equally, by mentoring others you are not just helping those engineers in a similar manner, but it also helps you develop a different set of skill for teamwork and leadership. We can also learn from younger generations about new technologies, computer tools, or simply to understand how they see the world. 

How do you think your role as a Fellow of the Institution of Engineering and Technology will shape your career moving forward?
Well, the first thing I was asked is if I could sit in committees! Of course, I’m delighted to help the IET where I can. Generally, I expect to continue guiding the interests of the IET and of Ricardo in setting out strategies for technology creation for the benefit of our society. I therefore expect to be taking roles and growing my career in technology strategy management. 

What advice would you give to aspiring engineers?
Over the years I have mentored a lot of engineers and it always gives me great pleasure to see them succeed. It is difficult to provide advice without knowing someone’s aspirations so what I would say is first find what you truly want in life. What gives you satisfaction? For some it will be recognition, others will want money and the luxuries that may bring, others may want to invent and create. Once you have established this, plan to find and stay in that happy place. 

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