Dr Andy Thomas CEng FIMMM (Obit)

Fellows' Lounge
22 Jun 2011

Andy Thomas was a well known member of IOM3, locally and nationally, and contributed greatly to the development of the Materials Society of Cumbria (MSC).

Andy was an active member of the Society, acting as vice-president for a year before becoming president for two consecutive years in 1998. He again held the presidency from 2004 until 2011.


Education and early career

His education began in 1963 with an Ordinary National Certificate in Metallurgy while working as a Research Assistant at RTB Steel Co. This was followed by a Higher National Certificate in Metallurgy, a College Diploma (Met), an Associateship in Metallurgy (a BSc equivalent), and finally a PhD in Metallurgy, while working for Englehard Industries.

After four years, Andy left Englehard to join Rolls-Royce and Associates Ltd nuclear submarine reactor procurement, covering design, development, manufacture, operation and safety. Over 16 years, he gained jobs with more technical complexity and strategy implementation. Eventually he joined Scottish Nuclear Ltd, where he used his skills in decision making and waste management as a springboard for consultative roles that were the hallmark of his later career.

After working as a Senior Technical Manager at NLM Ltd, he moved to BNFL as Strategy Manager, Decommissioning and Clean up of Sellafield Site, until his retirement in 2004. Andy chaired the SD-SPUR Project Steering Group, Inter Industry Group on Site Remediation and Delicencing, and SAFEGROUNDS Project. At the international level, he was a Technical Consultant on Waste Minimisation in 1997 and served for seven years on the USNCR LWR Pressure Vessel Integrity Program.


Life after retirement

Following retirement, Andy set up a consultancy business and became an Associate with Nuclear Technologies Ltd. He also became a full IOM3 Council member, representing the Northwest and Ireland regions, and was responsible for improving the voice of local societies in these areas. He was a member of the Local Affairs Board, and his work locally and regionally was recognised with an Outstanding Service Award in 2009.


Role in the Materials Society of Cumbria

Andy had a keen interest in promoting materials science in Cumbrian schools, and launched the Schools Affiliate Scheme in West Cumbria. He was the driving force behind bringing MSC into the 21st century by creating the MSC website, which is now incorporated into the IOM3 site.

As was typical of Andy, he gave a tremendous amount of encouragement to other MSC committee members in compiling a book on the history of the Society for its 50th anniversary, and he hosted the commemorative anniversary dinner in October 2010. Shortly after this event, Andy stood down as MSC President to attend to family matters. Andy was a keen cyclist, and an active member of a local cycling club. In his early years he competed in national and European cycling events to the extent that he took a year out to cycle competitively in France. It is no surprise therefore that he was fluent in French.

Sadly Andy died unexpectedly on 21 February 2011, leaving a wife and two sons.