Darren Macer grew up in Soham, a small village in Cambridgeshire, and he was always interested in engineering and working with aircraft. So, it seemed like a natural choice to apply to Marshall in Cambridge to become an engineering apprentice. He was fortunate enough to be accepted onto the highly competitive programme in 1988. Darren has many fond memories of his time with Marshall and credits his learning with us for setting him up for a successful career in aviation.
Darren was very complimentary about his time in the workshop with Keirron Mascall and Robin Lipscombe who not only taught the apprentice's hand skills but also taught them life skills. He said that he learned so much from both and he still has some of his metalwork projects at home all these years later.
The year he started in the workshop happened to be the 400th anniversary of the Spanish Armada and Darren remembers that the Marshall Family donated a fire beacon to mark the occasion as Michael Marshall was the high Sherif of Huntingdon, this beacon was designed and made by Darren and his apprenticeship cohort, including Kieron and Robin. The beacon was flown to Huntingdon by the RAF and placed at Castle Hill, where it still stands today. The apprentices from that year were given the opportunity to present a chisel to the then Prime Minister, Margret Thatcher as she visited the Marshall facility. This visit was captured in a photograph of Darren, other apprentices, Collin Smith (training centre manager) Michael Marshall and Maggie Thatcher which was included in Sir Arthur Marshall’s biography: The Marshall Story a Century of Wheels and Wings, which he still has a copy of on his bookshelf.
After completing his apprenticeship, Darren moved over to the design office at Marshall Aerospace for 10 years and had the opportunity to work on some interesting projects, which gave Darren a broad breadth of experience including supporting the C130 aircraft, modifying the L1011 to commercial freighters and a particular favourite of the L1011 Stargazer for Orbital Sciences Corporation.
In the mid-nineties, Boeing was hiring and so Darren took the opportunity to put himself forward for a position with them. He was offered a role in their Seattle office initially as a contractor and then became a permanent member of staff 5 years later. He relocated to the United States 25 years ago and he has worked at Boeing ever since. Darren counts himself lucky to have gone from growing up in a small village in Cambridgeshire to becoming a Senior Technical Fellow at Boeing and he credits the foundation of this success to the experience he gained as an apprentice at Marshall. He said that Marshall Aerospace did a great job at setting him up for success in his career and he is grateful for the time he spent here.