The University of Southampton
Alumni and supporters

Peter Boait

BSc Electronic Engineering, 1973

Peter graduated in 1973
Peter Boait

What was your first job after graduating?

Self-employed as developer and manufacturer of a novel form of burglar alarm for schools.

What were your major responsibilities/duties in this role and what skills did you develop?

Responsible for all aspects of product design and delivery. Learnt some of the skills of running a business.

What is your current job?

I have two overlapping part time roles:
(a) Senior Research Fellow in the Institute of Energy and Sustainable Development, De Montfort University.
(b) Technical Director of spin out company Exergy Devices Ltd.

What were your major responsibilities/duties in this role and what skills did you develop?

I am responsible for the research behind a “smart home” energy control system known as Wattbox. These roles have allowed me to develop expertise in energy-related R&D.

What has been your favourite job since you have graduated? Why was it your favourite? What skills did you learn?

I think my current combination of University and SME is my favourite.

What have been the turning points in your career?

Firstly, the de-unionisation of GCHQ in 1984 forced me to move into commercial consultancy and took my career in a new direction. Secondly, doing a part-time PhD in energy systems with De Montfort University opened up my current career direction.

Do you have any regrets about decisions you have made about your career?

None.

What are you most proud of?

As an employee of GCHQ I was personally commended in 1982 by the Foreign Secretary for my contribution to the Falklands War. I’m also proud of some of my recent published energy-related work.

What advice would you give to new Southampton graduates?:Any other relevant career information?

Look for opportunities to initiate your own start-up business, particularly before or after your family responsibilities become onerous. It is good fun and great experience.

Why did you decide to do your course?

I liked building electronic stuff as a teenager so I knew it would hold my interest.

How did your education at Southampton prepare you for your chosen career?

Perfectly – I have used that knowledge throughout and still refer to the textbooks I bought.

Why would you recommend studying at Southampton?

For engineering subjects it offers a really rigorous grounding with the right compromise between breadth and depth which provides the knowledge and confidence to tackle the range of projects and issues that arise in a professional career.

If you could start your time at University again, what would you do differently?

Nothing.

What advice would you give to prospective students looking at the University of Southampton?

Choose your course carefully and then go for it!

What are your future career plans?

To stay in research as long as possible.

Are you still in touch with fellow alumni?

Yes.

Have you been back to campus since you graduated?

Yes, for my stepsons’ MSc and PhD graduations.

How else are you involved with the University and your alumni community?

I read the Hartley News with interest.

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