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Colin Keogh

STEPS Ambassador Colin Keogh is co-founder at The Rapid Foundation, Sapien Innovation and TeamOSV. 

With a passion for problem-solving, analyzing the issues and conditions, testing for a response then developing a solution, engineering was the perfect career choice for Colin. 

Read all about how Colin got into engineering below:

How did you first become interested in engineering?

I first became interested in engineering through my father, who is a car mechanic. As he runs his own business, I was always surrounded by cars and machinery that needed to be repaired. 

From there I developed a passion for vehicles, technology and complex problems while developing an analytical and logical way of thinking. This experience taught me an awful lot about practical engineering. 

This passion for problems and vehicles is as strong as ever, with my current career working towards solving complex problems in many different areas. I look for new problems, in new fields with new teams as much as possible and enjoy jumping into a new area. This flexibility and scope of interesting projects makes me love engineering more every day. 

Why did you choose to study engineering?

I was good at maths, science and engineering in school, so when it came to choosing a subject for University, Mechanical Engineering was the clear choice. 

While I was pretty sure Mechanical Engineering was for me, the flexibility in UCD’s common entry process put me at ease, as I had the ability to choose a different field if necessary. 

The work in this area appealed to me, the projects were exciting, and it allowed me to continue my love for vehicles and problem solving. 

I went on to complete a Degree in Mechanical Engineering, a Masters in Energy Systems and a PhD in Engineering focusing on engineering and technology led Innovation Methods. 

I will always have the strong analytic, logic and thought processes gained from studying engineering, which are in high demand in nearly all sectors. Studying engineering was one of the best choices I’ve ever made. 

How did you get to where you are now?

I ended up working on the numerous projects I'm working on now through openness & collaboration. I love working in new areas, solving new problems with people from different backgrounds. I did a stint doing research after my degree, working on EU funded renewable energy projects then worked with a couple of startups in the technology space while doing some engineering consultancy on the side. As my work is so varied, I usually work on lots of things at once, in many different areas. Flexibility, curiosity and teamwork played a big part in me getting to where I am now. I've been most successful in my human focused work, mainly The Rapid Foundation, a non-profit that donates 3d printers and training to the developing world & Team OSV, a large open source ventilator project responding to Covid 19. These 2 projects had a huge impact, won me a few awards (Forbes 30 Under 30 etc.) and helped boost the profile of my work. 

What do you enjoy about engineering?

I love problem solving, analyzing the issues & conditions, testing for a response then developing a solution to the issue. The iterative process suits me very well, the test, measure, improve cycle. I love the development of new innovations, and the processes used, that i did my Phd on Innovation Methods (funded by SFI & Science Gallery International). The ordered engineering process is a great framework for creativity in ideas, and this process (that you learn while studying engineering) is very much in demand in all areas. I find engineering skills to be applicable to nearly all the world's problems, with engineers needed in most cases. This gives engineering huge scope for the areas it impacts, allowing me a huge degree of variability in what i work on. 

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