meet the team
Nathan Dicks - Project Team Leader
Nathan Dicks is a 33-year-old engineering student at the Open University who is currently studying both T194 and T271.
He is currently employed as an armament technician for DynCorp aviation where he maintains aircraft armament and electrical systems.
Nathan is a military veteran with twelve years military service as an avionics technician and supervisor and has also worked in the rail industry for Bombardier Transportation on the Victoria line project. Nathan has an advanced modern apprenticeship in aeronautical engineering and a BTEC in electrical engineering alongside a BTEC in learning and development and a vocational course in ISO auditing.
In the future he aspires to be in an engineering leadership position and wishes to complete a master’s degree in engineering as well as attaining chartered engineer status.
He brings fourteen years of experience in aviation and also organisational and leadership skills built up through a career in the armed forces and civilian sectors.
Nathan has a passion for learning and would like to use this opportunity to promote engineering as a career choice for young people.
He currently lives in Dublin with his wife Cliona and daughter Mollie who will soon be joined by twin siblings.
Mate Horvath - Deputy Project Team Leader
Aspiring engineer currently working for a structural frame manufacturer on the shop floor determined to move into mechanical design. Mate has attained experience operating heavy machinery as well as hand tools. He also possesses the skills necessary to read and produce engineering drawings for manufacture. He is interested in the additive manufacturing, design, modelling and finite element analysis. Besides studying full time (Stage 2) Bachelor’s of Engineering (design route) with The Open University Mate works full time, also in his free time he delves into learning industry relevant skills.
Mate’s previous education is equivalent to A-levels and two years of specialising in mechanical and engine studies. As a student member of IMechE with a set career development plan, he is glad that the team decided to take on the UAS challenge.
Attending the residential school (T176) and meeting his peers gave him great motivation to be part of a challenge such as UAS. Mate believes this challenge will be a great example of teamwork, he is more than happy to work with like-minded people for a common goal. This project will give the team the chance to develop new and improve existing real-life engineering skills throughout the months this challenge runs.
Eamon Tarrant EngTech RCP MIED - Systems Intergration Lead/Website Manager/Design Team
Eamon Tarrant is a 29-year-old draughtsman working within contractual HVAC ventilation systems for large contracts across the UK. He is also a student at the Open University and is studying towards MEng (Hons) in engineering design. Completing stage two of his degree last October, he has now moved on to stage 2 with the aim to complete his degree by the end of 2020. His background is in manufacture engineering and has served 2 apprentices in advanced sheet metal crafting. Of which one excelled with a double distinction grade.
After leaving school in 2007 he has worked in the engineering sector for the last 10 years. Over the 10 years, he has learnt the craft of sheet metal fabrication and all the skills needed to excel in the areas. After learning a lot of CAD skills throughout his apprenticeships in 2017 he decided to take the step to move to an office-based job and become a draughtsman.
He has now decided to be a part of the oUFO team for the IMechE UAS challenge to help him complete his CPD with the intention of becoming a chartered engineer.
Evita Naumenko is an engineering student at the Open University who is currently studying T194 and T271 for BEng. Evita has always been in the administrational roles she got more involved with engineering discipline in her previous job and decided to finally go for a bachelor’s degree in a challenging and interesting area.
Recently changed her career to go alongside the degree she is studying and has joined electrical manufacturer company and does product testing and technical documentation. There she gets the insights of software and hardware applications and can apply her theoretical knowledge from studies to the real projects.
She joined the Project to gain new experience in the engineering, learn something new and to get involved in an actual engineering project and can be assistance in admin and accountancy side of the project.
Evita Naumenko - Financial Manager/Design Team
Lee James Cundall - Programing Team/ Fundraising
Lee James Cundall has, for the last 6 years, overseen software development and been involved with the design of air handling systems for schools, hospitals, stadiums, etc. across all stages of the engineering process, including but not limited to selection and layout, design, manufacturing, product development, electrical wiring, software design, networking and commissioning.
He is currently in his second stage of his studies with the Open University and is hoping to continue onto becoming a chartered engineer, with the intention of developing his own marketable products.
Lee hopes that by participating in the IMechE UAS team project he is able to develop his interpersonal skills, build upon previous project experience, fulfil criteria within UK-SPEC, learn new skills and technologies for continuing professional development, particularly (but not exclusively) in the field of avionics, and most importantly, to have fun while doing it.
Lee is able to offer electrical and software expertise and is keen to be on the winning team and represent the Open University to the best of his abilities.
Chris Webster - Design Team
Chris Webster is a 32-year-old first-year engineering student with the Open University. He has a background in the Royal Air Force spending 10 years as a mechanical aircraft technician. While in the military he completed an advanced modern apprenticeship in mechanical aeronautical engineering.
He is currently employed as a development engineer for a design and development company specialising in the pharmaceutical industry. He builds, develops and commissions machines for some of the world’s largest multinational companies. He has years of CAD design and hands-on build experience.
In the future, he aspires to get involved in project management and would like to gain charted engineering status after the completion of his masters in engineering degree.
Xenia Kaldy - Environmental Team/Design Team
Xenia Kaldy is a second-year Environmental Science student at the Open University, currently studying energy and sustainability and various science modules. She is currently working as a Digital consultant. Having a real enthusiasm for climate science and renewable energy inspired her to work towards a position in environmental consultancy.
She is passionate about encouraging the next generation to pursue a career in STEM fields, and she strongly believes that women have a place in this world. She is also currently studying to be a BREEAM assessor, to ensure we live in a more sustainable environment. This will allow her to oversee and evaluate planning, project and building performances. Along with the BREEAM assessment, she is interested in ArcGIS to be able to analyze mapped information and to collect and study spatial data.
The UAS challenge is a perfect opportunity for Xenia to use her skillset, and ensure we comply with the environmental requirements of the competition.
Ilaria Stocchi - Environmental Team/Design Team
Ilaria Stocchi is a 24-year-old engineering student at the Open University who is currently studying T176. She is enrolled on the Environmental Engineering route of the integrated Masters of Engineering (MEng), and intends to work towards chartered engineer status after completing her degree.
Along with her studies, she is also working as a Quantitative Analyst. Her current position involves extracting and processing data to build, develop, and maintain data models: most of her data scraping and API development work are done in Python, whereas the data analysis and modelling are done using Excel and the statistical programming language R.
She has been a CouchSurfing host/volunteer since 2015, and became a student member of the Energy Institute in 2019. She is very passionate about languages: currently fluent in English, Italian, and Spanish, she hopes to become proficient in French within the next five years.
She joined the team after she learnt about the UAS challenge at the 2019 Women in Engineering Student Conference, and looks forward to further developing her technical and soft skills.
Zahura Begum - Design Team
Zahura is a second year Open University student studying Maths and Physics BSc. Currently working in a pathology lab she hopes to pursue research in materials and energy production or storage in the future.
She joined the team to gain experience and skills in engineering and building something from concept to finish. When not studying or working she enjoys reading novels and working on her sketchbook .
Dr Kim Littlewood BA (Open), BSc, MSc, PhD, DIC, FHEA, CEng, MICE - Academic Supervisor
Kim Littlewood is an Open University graduate twice over, with both a BA Hons (Open) and a BSc. A Chartered Civil Engineer (CEng MICE), with a PhD from Imperial College (1999), she has worked across the Civil Engineering industry in a range of roles. She has 30 years’ experience in Civil Engineering, with a mixture of industrial and academic experience. Academic experience includes lecturing at RMCS, Plymouth University and PDRA at Imperial College, and industrial experience has included bridge inspection, management and maintenance for British Rail, and working as a project manager for the Environment Agency, delivering projects with a value up to £20 million.
Kim has a particular interest in helping others to achieve Institution Membership at various grades, and she has acted as a Delegated Engineer (DE) and Supervising Civil Engineer (SCE) whilst working in industry.
Now tutoring for the Open University, Kim tutors on a range of undergraduate modules, as well as authoring for new modules, forum moderation and peer mentoring.
Itamar Atia - Engineering Consultant / Academic Support
Itamar Atia is an education professional with two decades worth of experience as an academic consultant, lecturer, tutor, examiner, mentor and teaching materials developer.
He holds a Dutch professional engineers title and a British higher education teaching accreditation. His aeronautical engineering qualifications are in structural design, propulsion systems and avionics. Multiple Open University and foreign qualifications cover project management, structural and mechanical engineering, design and innovation, meteorology and planetary science, experimental physics, environmental management and intellectual property protection.
Itamar started out his education career at the Royal Netherlands Air Force, working at the pilot school and supervising aeronautical engineering students doing their internships there. This was followed by teaching environmental engineering, a senior management position at a high-school science department and tutoring for the Open University on undergraduate and postgraduate STEM modules.
Next to his involvement in education, Itamar works abroad in UAS and light aircraft design and construction, grows cacti and enjoys spending time on sustainable building projects.
He continues to study modules with several universities and is a keen adherent of life-long learning and continuous skills development. Therefore he is proud to support team OUFO!