When you first meet Neil Hawes, you’re immediately going to be taken in by his approachable nature topped off by a fantastic sense of humour. These qualities are much appreciated by customers and colleagues alike. As you get to know him more, you’ll soon discover the marks of the adventurer he is — action-oriented and always seeking a new challenge to undertake and solve.
Since May of this year, when he joined Cougar, Neil has been leading one of our teams of engineers working with the utilities industry. He brings a strong customer-focus ethos to this work garnered from his 30-plus years of controls and automation experience — including running his own small controls company for a time.
A self-admitted nerd and anorak, Neil says his greatest technical achievement to date involved working with the Las Cumbres Observatory’s one-of-a-kind, worldwide network of robotic telescopes. He was part of a team that ripped the guts out of the control systems for two telescopes in the network and had them back ‘on sky’ three days later.
He’s travelled all over the world — Ivory Coast, Ghana, DRC, Tanzania, South Africa, Botswana, Mozambique, Lesotho, Israel, UAE, Qatar, Philippines, Korea, China, US, Australia, Bahamas, Canada, Panama, Argentina, and most of Europe — and that’s just his work-related travels. Before coming to work for us, he spent four years working in Dubai.
Neil has said he was drawn to Cougar by the ‘can do’ attitude and the open, honest and forward-thinking approach to the work we do. It’s the perfect place for him to put his inherent engineering qualities to excellent use, including a strong attention to detail and a ‘make it work’ mentality to problem solving.
Like any avid adventurer, Neil has lots of stories to tell. You can ask Neil to share the details of these stories now, or you can wait to visit him when he finally gets his dream home in his favourite place … Maui (where he worked on one of those telescope control systems). With his dedication to achieving what he puts his mind to, we’re sure he’ll get there. In the meantime, we’re happy to have him here!