Derek Hurren

BRINGING industry and academia together so both might benefit from the other was the particular skill of Derek Hurren who has died aged 59.

Derek Hurren

The significant impact he made on the Faculty of Engineering at Leeds University, however, followed a life of some variety.

He had read History, Politics and Quantitative Methods at Sheffield Polytechnic, graduating in 1974. He then completed a PGCE at Worcester College of Education. Over an eight-year period he taught at schools in Purley, Coventry, Spain and Sudan, and made a round-the-world trip during which he covered some 8,000 miles, almost entirely by hitch-hiking.

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Deciding on a complete change of career, he entered RAF Cranwell in 1983 for officer training and graduated in 1984, rising to the rank of squadron leader. He specialised in supply chain management and logistics, and spent over six months in the Falkland Islands, where he was fleet manager for some 800 vehicles, and had a number of other command responsibilities.

At RAF Brampton (headquarters Logistics Command), he was business manager of a branch with 140-or-so personnel and an annual budget of more than £50m which was responsible for the support of all RAF ground electronic systems: radar, satellite and radio.

During his time in the RAF, Mr Hurren gained an MBA by distance learning from Strathclyde University.

In the late 1990s, he left the RAF to return to civilian life, and was appointed Operations Manager of the Keyworth Institute in the Faculty of Engineering at Leeds University. His particular interest was in promoting collaboration between industry and academia, and his achievements in this regard made him an influential and highly respected figure.

At the beginning of 2012, Mr Hurren took up a new position, as Employability Manager within the Faculty of Engineering.

Exceptionally well read, he numbered among his outside interests a lifelong enthusiasm for taking part in, and setting, quizzes. Also of great importance to him was sport: for 15 years he was secretary of the Upper Airedale Junior Cricket League, and for six years he managed the Cononley Junior side.

Mr Hurren is survived by his wife Jane, their son Harry, and daughter, Grace.