Hello! Or in honour of this week’s Feature Friday guest, “hallå”, as we sit down with Design Engineer, Erika McFarlane. We talk Erika’s Scandinavian roots, her take on the global pandemic and more…
WOD: Tell us about your background from the beginning – where are you from? What education do you have? How did you become involved with the workspace sector?
EM: “I’m from Lund, a small city in the south of Sweden. Having completed the Swedish equivalent of A Levels including one in cabinetmaking, I undertook a BSc in design at Kalmar University which included one exchange year at Nottingham Trent University. I have also undertaken various short courses including Design for Sustainable Development and Environmental Management.
My first design job/internship was with bespoke garden furniture. After that I worked at IKEA’s product development centre, first with 3D and then as a product engineer. I’ve also worked with retail interiors, event displays & bespoke kitchens.”
WOD: And tell us a bit more about your current role at Lee & Plumpton…
EM: “I am responsible for new product development as well as value engineering existing designs. This includes liaising with the marketing team to identify market opportunities, concept development through to manufacturing.
Working for Lee & Plumpton, and entering the world of office furniture, I’ve been able to build on all my previous experience, and it is such an interesting field. I love designing with such a strong focus on quality, longevity and sustainability.”
WOD: Based on your diverse education and range of experience, your day-to-day must be vary quite a lot?
EM: “Absolutely. It varies so much depending on where we are in a project! My daily life is very varied with much of my time spent working in CAD or Inventor developing concepts through to manufacturing drawings – evaluating, of course, standards, undertaking risk analysis and overall problem solving!”
WOD: And what piece of advice would you give to somebody wanting to make a name for themselves in a similar role to yours?
EM: “Try not to have only one goal, or only one path to where you want to be. Most people I know in the design field have not ended up exactly where they set out to be, but discovered along the way what their passions were and what made them happy. This has definitely been true for me as well; some of my best experiences have been in roles that I was not sure about initially.”