Gary Illingworth | CQP FCQII

Head of Quality


Gary Illingworth CQP | FCQII

Head of Quality


I have been a Quality Professional for over 40 years and I have a genuine desire and passion to ensure the Quality role stays both agile and relevant within today’s ever changing defence business and that we support and develop new talent into our profession to ensure this is maintained for future generations. I am committed within my own business and the extended Quality Professional community to ensure that our value and contribution is maximised and valued as a true business partner.

Gary Illingworth

What are your roles and responsibilities at work?

I’m the Head of Quality across a number of our UK sites and my key role across these sites is to define the company’s quality strategy, grow and develop our assurance team, and ensure we deliver sustainable business improvements within the business winning and contract execution aspects of the business.

I have a team of 30 engineers covering all aspects of assurance, such as design and development, procurement, supply chain and business certification requirements.

What is your background and how did you get into quality?

I have nearly 40 years experience (20 as a quality manager) within the aerospace and defence industries. I’ve worked for some major organisations, namely Lucas Aerospace/TRW and Meggitt Aerospace, and I joined Leonardo nearly 10 years ago.My background and qualifications are in mechanical engineering, albeit the main activities within my role at Selex ES is more focused around risk reduction and business improvement.

To be honest, I drifted into the quality part of the business. On completion of my apprenticeship at Lucas Aerospace, and after having spent a year doing PCB design, an opportunity came up within Lucas Aerospace’s quality department which I took because I had really enjoyed my apprentice placement there. Did I plan to make a career in quality? No. And this is the problem the CQI Defence Industry Group (DIG) are trying to address in order to position quality as a ‘career of choice’.

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