Paul is Chief Technology Officer at Airbus, where he leads the research, technology, and innovation activities across the company globally and is responsible for technologies for future generations of Airbus products and services. Previously, Paul was the founding CEO of A3, Airbus’ Silicon Valley innovation center charged with pursuing projects disruptive to the core business.
Before joining Airbus, Paul was an executive at Google, Motorola, and DARPA. Earlier in his career, he was an aerospace design engineer, the chief engineer for an unmanned aircraft program, and a management consultant focusing on technology, innovation, and M&A strategies. Paul has undergraduate and Master’s degrees in aeronautics from MIT and Caltech, respectively, and a law degree from Georgetown University. He is also a licensed pilot.
Imagine what you would do if you knew you could not fail.
What attracted you to the aerospace sector?
The chance to work on some of the most complex and majestic products that our civilisation has ever devised.
What is your vision for the UK aerospace sector in the next 15 – 20 years?
I think it’s foolish for me to try and predict anything 15-20 years into the future! The tech and the world changes far too quickly for that. The UK has been a leader in aerospace for the past century. It has the ingredients of a top-notch education system, an entrepreneur-friendly business environment, concerted government investment, and a pioneering spirit, to maintain and build further on this position in the future. We just have to make sure these ingredients stay in place!
If you could change one element of technology, or a particular type of technology in the sector, what would that be?
I would ask the genie to give us an infinitesimally light, emission free, and infinitely powerful source of propulsive energy.
What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
Imagine what you would do if you knew you could not fail. Now go do that anyway.
What are your key successes to date?
For me, the most gratifying part of any job is getting something to fly (or launch) for the first time. And I am proud of the fact that this has happened in pretty much every job I’ve had.
Describe your ideal day away from work?
Wine. Books. Friends & loved ones. Somewhere beautiful.
Who inspires you the most?
My partner, Rolan Flournoy, who is the happiest person I have ever met.
What is your golden rule?
Stay flexible and avoid golden rules.