Our Team

Paul Hutchings

Chief Executive

Paul Hutchings joined ARA in December 2016. Paul’s background is the management of businesses trading globally, of board-level leadership, policy development and operational implementation. During Paul’s time as CEO, the company has significantly expanded its customer base and has redefined its strategic goals, with an emphasis on innovation and renewal. Paul intends to lead the company in meeting those strategic goals whilst maintaining a safe and inclusive working environment, and ensuring that ARA remains at the forefront of aerodynamic development for decades to come.

Emma Gibson

Head of Engineering

Emma joined ARA at the end of 2019 as a Senior Project Manager working on both infrastructure and customer projects. Emma joined the Management Team in May 2022 as Head of Engineering and leads the team that develops, operates and maintains the main wind TWT and other facilities.

A Mechanical Engineer with a Masters’ in Environmental Management, Emma brings to ARA over 20 years experience of project and operations leadership in both a large corporate and an early stage SME in the energy sector. Emma plans to draw on this experience to deliver improvements to the facilities, and the processes and practices that support them, in anticipation of the company’s 75th birthday celebrations in 2027.

Chris Burke

Head of Market Expansion

Chris is a Chartered Engineer with a degree in Aeronautical Engineering (Imperial); he started his career at ARA in 2003 as a Project Supervisor responsible for customer liaison, project management and technical management of wind tunnel tests. In 2005 he moved to a project scientist role within our computational aerodynamics team where his responsibilities included CFD simulations, reporting and analysis as well as code development; he led a team seconded to Force India’s CFD team in 2008. In 2009 he moved to a Senior Programme Manager role responsible for two major international clients – one of whom was the launch customer for ARA’s newly developed Pressure Sensitive Paint capability. He had commercial and technical responsibility for delivery of design, manufacture and test programmes as well as leading the preparation of bids, proposals, and negotiations. Chris was promoted to the Head of Project Management role in 2016 and then Head of Market Expansion in 2022.

Ladis Beeharry-Miners

Head of Human Resources

Ladis is a qualified member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) and joined ARA in 2018. With extensive and broad HR experience in different industries, including financial services and pharmaceutical, (Santander and Deloitte, Milton Keynes and Stepra Ltd, Luton), Ladis has had the opportunity to support the development and implementation of a range of HR initiatives including rewards and benefits; change and performance management; learning and development and employee engagement.

As ARA marks its 70th-anniversary Ladis has taken the responsibility to lead the operation of our HR function putting our current and future staff at the heart of our organisation.

Timothy Figg

Head of Business Development

Timothy Figg joined ARA in March 2018 having spent 34 years with Lucas, GKN and Meggitt. He trained in Mechanical / Production Engineering and also Business & Marketing.  He initially worked at industrial engineers George Fischer Castings and after joining Lucas Aerospace (acquired by GKN) held a variety of progressive positions including Airbus Programme Manager, Product Sales Manager and Key Account Manager. The business designed and manufactured bespoke safety-critical equipment for civil and military aircraft manufacturers and airline operators. He later joined Meggitt working for several of the divisions but predominantly for the Safety Systems business as Director of International Sales. He led the business development with its international aerospace and defence clients providing bespoke highly engineered equipment and sub-systems.

Tim is a former air force cadet achieving solo glider proficiency, a former school governor, and has interests in classic cars and motorcycles.

Judith Miller

Head of Finance and IT

Judith joined ARA in 2017 and brings wide experience as Head of Finance and IT gained from major retail, engineering and start-up companies. Her previous experience includes working for a radio station.

Judith is passionate about enabling Finance and IT to enable the organisation to deliver the best service to its customers. She is working on developing a high performing, agile team to work with good data and clear processes.

Wayne Pearce

Head of Aerodynamics

As an Aeronautical Engineering graduate, Wayne transitioned into industrial aerodynamics with research into internal pressure dynamics of flexible buildings, dispersion of vehicular emissions in urban environments and cross-wind effects on trains. Promoted into a managerial and consulting role with architects, structural engineers, planning consultants and authorities he used the data provided by experimental simulation and experience to advise and inform a range of clients.

Wayne’s particular interest is providing enabling information to allow the design process to move forward, recognising that different methods of simulation may be appropriate at different stages of the design process.

Wayne joined ARA in 2015 and is keen to promote the dissemination of knowledge to the next generation of engineers, who we want to sustain a rewarding and challenging career in the field of flow simulation making use of the best and most appropriate methods of computer and experimental modelling techniques. ARA’s aerodynamics teams provide a unique mix of capabilities that can be applied to both commercial and research-driven projects with the aim to make a real difference for our clients, old and new, to understand and resolve the challenges that they face. 

Steve Iley

Head of Design and Manufacture

Steve comes from a process and automation background and has a passion for all things mechanical. He has worked with Pharmaceutical, food and automotive products.

He started out as a Mechanical Design Engineer in motorsport then moved to process development and manufacturing. He has designed high-speed manufacturing machinery and led multi-million-pound projects for international brands.

His role at ARA sees him heading the design and manufacture of test subjects to client specifications for both in-house and external wind tunnel testing.

Lucy Fusco

Head of Capability and Innovation

Dr Lucy Fusco joined ARA in April 2019 as a Senior Project Manager, before beginning her role as Head of Capability and Innovation in 2022. In this role, Lucy assumes leadership of the Capability and Innovation strategy and is responsible for identifying new strategic technical goals. Lucy is a Chartered Engineer (IMechE) with a degree in Mechanical Engineering (University of Sheffield) and a PhD in Automotive Engineering (Cranfield University).

She joined ARA from Jaguar Land Rover where she worked as a Lead Engineer in research, technical specialist and product development teams. Since joining ARA, Lucy has successfully led a number of technically challenging commercial projects, as well as internal research and innovation projects. Lucy is passionate about research and innovation, as well as understanding ARA’s rich history so that old and new can be brought together to enrich the future of the company. Outside of work, Lucy is kept busy by her twin girls and dog.

Sanjay Patel

Head of Technical Business Development

Sanjay graduated from the Queen Mary University of London with a 1st Class Honours degree (BEng) in Mechanical Engineering. Following this, Sanjay then obtained a PhD in Computational Fluid Dynamics from Cranfield University. The focus of his PhD was in the study of high-resolution numerical methods, which resulted in six journal papers and seven conference papers published in international journals and conferences. On completion of his PhD, Sanjay continued his research and lectured a variety of modules on the Computational Fluid Dynamics taught Masters Course at Cranfield University.

Sanjay joined ARA as a Project Scientist within the Computational Aerodynamics department in 2010. He has worked within a wide variety of projects including wing and high-lift design, method development for propeller design, CFD analysis for external aerodynamic problems and developing best practices for CFD simulations. Sanjay progressed his career within the Computational Aerodynamics department to Senior Project Scientist, Technical Team Leader and finally as Head of Department.

In 2019, Sanjay was promoted to his current role as Head of Technical Business Development.

Contact us

Aircraft Research Association Limited

Manton Lane, Bedford, England MK41 7PF

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