This month meet Immense Senior Applications Engineer and travel connoisseur, Shane Canavan
Tell us a bit about yourself Shane and your role at Immense?
I graduated as a Civil Engineer, with my first job working on road projects in sub-Saharan Africa. I then veered into the academic world, firstly with an MSc in Transport and Business Management and then by undertaking a PhD at Imperial College London. My thesis involved performance modelling of urban rail systems, by applying advanced frontier regression and causal inference techniques to examine technological interventions.
Following the completion of my PhD, I joined the Transport Strategy Centre within the same department as a researcher, working on performance benchmarking of mass transit systems (metro, rail and bus) and large hub airports.
I’ve joined Immense as a Senior Applications Engineer, as part of the Product and Solutions team. I apply Immense products on current projects and help evolve our Technology Roadmap. I contribute towards identifying requirements common across the project and opportunities portfolio.
What is a typical day like for you at Immense?
Being a new joiner, each day has been different as I focus on learning the systems, products, and getting to know the team.
How did you find out about Immense and become involved in the company?
Robin (Immense CEO) was my internal examiner for my first major milestone during my PhD, and Dave (Solutions Director) was a fellow PhD candidate. I found them to be inspiring individuals from both a personal and professional perspective.
When Dave joined Immense earlier in the year my interest in the organisation piqued. As I learned more about the product and the ambitions of the team, I went from curious bystander to wanting to get involved. Learning about how the organisation has gone from strength to strength has been uplifting, and now being part of this extraordinary team is a privilege.
What’s the best part about working at Immense?
It is an inspiring group of talented people that has been assembled. There is very much a team atmosphere, rather than a group of individuals. Everyone is incredibly encouraging and supportive, and always generous with their time and knowledge. With such a wide range of backgrounds, experience and skillsets, it is a brilliant place to learn and grow.
What would you say is the most challenging part of the job?
Starting a new role is always challenging. The range of systems used at Immense was daunting at first and quite overwhelming. The fantastic thing though is that this is unlocking new skills and making me more effective in my role. Ultimately this is enabling an ability to tackle complex challenges that I was unable to tackle before which is very exciting.
What has been your biggest career achievement?
Completing a PhD was definitely a proud moment.
What did you want to be when you were younger?
When I was a child, we were lucky enough to go on a safari as a family. I remember being amazed at how knowledgeable our game ranger was, and how passionate they were about protecting the animals and their habitat. Actually … now that I think of it … it’s something I still want to be when I grow up.
(After Immense solves all the worlds transportation challenges).
What do you think the future of mobility looks like?
I think we’re all a bit disappointed that flying cars aren’t a thing yet. Despite this, the industry is embarking on a period of unprecedented change.
While the overall infrastructure landscape will most likely look quite similar across the globe in the short to medium term, significant ongoing trends include electrification, shared mobility, and autonomy. How quickly these are embraced will vary dramatically from region to region, and city to city.
What do you think are the biggest challenges facing the industry?
Urbanisation is the source of severe transportation heartache. As the world veers towards increasingly dense cities, existing systems are under extreme strain. There does not appear to be any respite.
Ensuring our cities remain liveable and sustainable is absurdly difficult as the level of complexity and uncertainty is very high. There are a lot of technological solutions beginning to reveal themselves, the challenge is how best to unleash them in an effective, as well as ethical way.
When you’re not working what are your hobbies and interests?
Always keen for a good board game evening. More recently, I have also been enjoying gardening and brewing the occasional beer.
If you were stuck on a desert island and could take three things with you what would they be?
A yacht, my wife, and music to enjoy the cruise home to.