The School of Computing Science & Engineering has this year awarded an honorary degree to Salford graduate Richard Parry-Jones – who over forty years in the car making industry became responsible for designing all of Ford’s cars worldwide.
Professor Richard Parry-Jones joined Ford in 1969 as an undergraduate trainee while he earned a first class honours degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Salford.
He spent nearly 40 years at the car maker, holding a number of senior R&D and manufacturing posts in England, Germany and America.
Between 1994 and 1998 he was Vice-President of the small car European product development group, during which time he led development of models such as the Focus, Ka, Fiesta and Puma.
From 1998 Richard oversaw product development activities for all Ford vehicles worldwide, as well as the design, research and vehicle technology functions. As Chief Technical Officer, he reported to the company's Board of Directors on technical matters and headed a staff of 30,000 engineers, scientists, designers and business professionals in North America, Europe, Latin America and the Asia-Pacific region across the Ford, Lincoln, Jaguar, Volvo, Land Rover and Aston Martin brands.
He is a fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineers and the Institute of Mechanical Engineers.
In 1995 he was awarded an honorary doctorate from Loughborough University and in early 2005 he was awarded a CBE for services to the automobile industry.
He previously chaired the cross-industry new automotive innovation and growth team, which was established to analyse the strategic issues facing the UK automotive industry, and he now co-chairs, with Vince Cable, the UK Automotive Council.
Currently Richard is CEO for RPJ Consulting, a company he founded in 2007. RPJ consulting specialises in offering strategic and technology expertise and hands-on engineering problem-solving with global insight and experience.
Head of School, Professor Sunil Vadera, said: "Richard has made an immense contribution to the automotive industry, and we are delighted that he is an alumni from our Mechanical Engineering programme, which has a reputation for developing the kind of engineering design skills, practical ability and specialist knowledge that are in high demand today, as they have ever been."