Meet the Team: Martin McHugh, Chief Technology Officer

Date: 26.02.2020

Martin McHugh, CTO at CSA Catapult, is a self-proclaimed not your typical Chief Technology Officer. For February’s Meet the Team blog, we sat down with Martin to find out more about his role at the Catapult and how he aims to bring its technology areas to life.

As CTO, what do you feel the purpose of the Catapult is?

The Catapult has an important part to play in growing the UK economy. As we move into a more mature company, we’re learning that our role is less about the technology we’re developing, but more about how the technology will impact people’s lives. I think when technology and the impact it makes is relatable, more people stand up and listen.

I like to demystify things. I guess you can say that’s exactly what we’re doing at the Catapult. We’re opening people’s minds to the impact that compound semiconductor applications can make to their everyday lives and it’s exciting to be a part of that journey.

Tell us about your career

My career has been varied. I started out as a Design Engineer, fresh out of college, then went into field sales. After doing that for around 10 years, I went back into technology development and more recently developing people. In my current role, I’m enjoying being a mentor at the Catapult and leading the younger engineering generation. This role has allowed me to take a step back from more of the hands-on technology work and a step forward in motivating and leading the team. I see myself as somewhat of a custodian of the future for the Catapult. My role is to unravel the technology strategy while ensuring that the work we’re doing continues to enrich lives.

Where do you your best thinking?

On my tractor. I mow the lawn as it keeps me fit and it allows me time to think. I’ve learned that sometimes answers to problems are not always in the obvious place. According to Myers Briggs’ personality test, I’m an Explorer. This means that I’m more about the big picture impact rather than the detailed nitty gritty information. Einstein once said, ‘if you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.’ I like to keep this in mind as a CTO when talking about the impact the Catapult can make.

What emerging technology are you most excited for?

The NetZero emissions goal for 2050 and the emergence of autonomous vehicles is something I’m particularly interested in. This will be a complete transformation of the UK’s transportation system which will impact almost all the next generation. The goal for NetZero emissions will allow us to travel with zero emissions which will have a positive effect on the climate. Working at the Catapult and being able to play a part in how we reach that goal is something I’m proud to be a part of.

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