Introducing Trent Cornwall: Design Manager

With more than three decades of experience in design and engineering, Trent is ready to take on his next challenge as Facteon’s Design Manager. Trent is responsible for leading a large team of skilled and specialised engineers based at Facteon Headquarters in Auckland, New Zealand.


What’s the greatest challenge you’ve faced at Facteon so far?

The main challenge I see is the combination of tight timelines and high quality project delivery. That said, it’s been great to enter into a well-established team. The guys here take pride in the projects they do, and I think that’s resulted in a reputation for producing to a level of excellence. To hold responsibility for managing that team is a big job but they’ve been doing this for years so they’ve seen these machines evolve. I can really trust in my team’s judgement while I’m settling in here.


Where do you see yourself in five years?

My main goal is to master this role. I have a reputation for persevering to achieve and I was with my previous employer for more than twenty years, so I’m the kind of person who’s in it for the long haul. I aim to play a key role in delivering what’s expected for our current projects as well as improving and growing the business in the long run.


What gets you out of bed every morning?

I have an improvement mindset. I’m not a ‘that’ll do’ type of person. I feel that with the companies I’ve worked with previously, I’ve left them in a better state than when I got there. That’s something I always aim to instill in my teams, but I’d say overall, that mindset is already present at Facteon so that makes my job a little easier.


Where do you think the manufacturing industry is heading? 

Definitely automation. I’d say that we’re moving towards workerless factories. With the cost to companies of managing people as well as health and safety, it really is a realistic and logical progression for the manufacturing industry.


How is Facteon preparing for this future?

We are preparing for this evolution by developing software that tightly integrates with our machinery. This will give us the information feedback required, and it’s also a natural progression for us.  We’re always aiming to continually improve. I think that’s really embedded in all of the work that we do here. It’s a bit of a cliché but we really do have a culture of innovation. We aren’t afraid to change our design process. We have very skilled people and we’re looking to grow the parts of our business that are most important for this future, such as software and automation and control systems teams.


What do you get up to you when you’re engineering factories for the internet age?

Cycling is my release at the moment. I got into it before I had my hip replacement surgery and I’ve been able to keep up with it since. It’s been great rehab but also it’s nice to get into the outdoors and relax on my days off. I live on a lifestyle block – nine sheep, a pig and two chickens. So that in combination with family means I’m never short of things to do.


What’s a travel destination you’d love to visit?

My goal is to cycle around France - village to village. That way, I can take my time and be out amongst nature and the scenery. I’ve been training informally through recreational rides at the weekend. I also do some fun, social races too but they can get pretty competitive.  


When did you first develop an interest in engineering?

Probably about thirty years ago. I found that I’d always had an interest in making stuff, sketching and building so it felt like a natural direction for me. One of my first engineering roles was actually making sails for the Americas Cup boats. We made sails for the cup boat in 1987 as well as the French Around the World boat, which was 55 feet. It’s always exciting when you get to bring a personal hobby into your work. It was great to be able to watch the race at the time and see that I’d made a contribution to their performance.

Trent Cornwall

Trent Cornwall

Design Manager

Joining Facteon in 2018, Trent is responsible for managing our team of skilled design engineers. With over twenty years' experience in mechanical design, Trent has a broad skill set with experience in highly specialised areas such as sail and yacht design, as well as the design of production machinery for a range of industries.