27 November 2012

Eliana Fu BEng MSc PhD, R&D Services Engineer

From Queen Mary University to Las Vegas, via triathlons and titanium Eliana Fu descibes her path so far.

Eliana Fu
Eliana Fu

What made you choose to study materials science and engineering? Is it something that you’ve always been interested in?
I didn’t know it was offered as a course until someone sent me a leaflet on it from Queen Mary, University of London.

What was your experience like in the US?
I had a big culture shock in my first experience in the US at Clemson University, because it’s in the south and very different from large, metropolitan areas. I have now been living in the US for the last five years in Las Vegas and it’s very different from South Carolina. The adjustment has been a lot easier, as I have had more friends and family close by (four hours drive away in California).

What does your current role involve?
I provide technical support to our customers and internal sales people, and answer our customers’ technical questions on titanium. I also take care, on a daily basis, of the needs of the core group of engineers in our R&D group regarding project management, budgets and troubleshooting. I also get involved with collaborative research projects, whether funded privately or by the Government. I also teach a Ti101 class, which teaches everything you need to know about titanium in an entertaining and fun way.

How has the industry changed over the course of your career?
We have faced more challenges not only from overseas competitors, but also competing materials, and so the key is in aligning our technologies not only to respond to our customers’ needs but also to anticipate them and develop solutions to their problems in a timely fashion. IP issues are becoming increasingly challenging. When it comes to production, I see that investment, not only in equipment but know-how, is more and more important. Selecting and encouraging the right people to drive the business forward will help ensure our business can thrive.

What do you consider to be your greatest achievement to date?
Personally, it would be that I was able to go on a bike ride with Triathlon World Champion Chrissie Wellington, and not get dropped by her. She came out to Las Vegas for a bike convention and I heard about the ride on Facebook. When she asked me what I did for a living and I told her, ‘I’m an engineer who works for a titanium company in Las Vegas’, she was dumbstruck.

Is there anything you would still like to achieve? What do you see yourself doing next?
In my work, I would like to continue to do the very best that I can to help our company strategically align itself with the engineering challenges of the modern world, whether it be aerospace driven, automotive, clean energy, or other industry sectors we have not yet thought of. I would love to see a new area of titanium development evolving and educate more people in the wonders of this material.

What makes your job worthwhile? Why do you get up for work each day?
I love my job and the people I work with are great. I can’t get excited about nickel, steel and composites. Titanium has only been in use for the last 60 years and there are so many more things to discover about it. It truly is the best engineering material in the world. I’m proud to be a Titanium Girl.


2007–present Sales Development Engineer, Henderson Technical Lab, TIMET, Henderson, NV (USA)

2004–2007 Senior Project Leader, Laser & Sheet Processes Group TWI, Sheffield/Cambridge (UK)

2004 Technical Project Engineer, Firth Rixson Rings, Parkgate, Rotherham (UK)

2001–2003 Postgraduate Research Associate, Clemson University, Clemson SC (USA)

2000–2001 Postgraduate Research Associate, Loughborough University, Loughborough (UK)

1998–1999 Graduate Derivatives Programme, Merrill Lynch, London (UK)

1997 PhD Functionally Graded Materials of Titanium Aluminides by Powder Metallurgy, Imperial College, University of London, UK MSc Materials Research Imperial College, University of London, UK BEng Materials Science and Engineering, Queen Mary, University of London, UK