Saltire 10th Birthday- Post 8 Anthony Thornton

More than anything else, my Saltire internship has given me a renewed focus and direction for my future career path. Getting to experience the innovative ideas and opportunities being applied to an industry I am passionate about has left me excited and motivated to contribute and make my own impact.

"Since the formation of the Saltire Foundation in 2007, our Saltire programmes have been on quite a journey. We have supported over 900 individuals that have taken part in our world-class leadership programmes, many of whom have heightened their ambitions and achieved things they never thought possible. Our mission has always been to find, fuel and spark the next generation of leaders for Scotland, and looking back over 10 years of success it is clear we have some of the most talented, determined and capable leaders within our alumni. Now part of Entrepreneurial Scotland, our alumni are part of a wider network influencing economic and social change for our country. To celebrate 10 years of Saltire, we will be shining a light on 10 inspirational alumni members, over the next 10 months showcasing their fantastic journeys since taking part in our Scholar or Fellow programme”

- Sandy Kennedy, Chief Executive of Entrepreneurial Scotland

Post 8: Anthony Thornton, Mechanical Engineering Undergraduate at the University of Strathclyde and 2017 Saltire Scholar

My internship was with a company called Envision Solar in San Diego who design and manufacture solar-powered electric vehicle charging stations that contain battery storage, allowing them to continue operating at night and even double up as an emergency energy source during power outages. As a Mechanical Engineering Intern I was mainly focused on re-designing their main product, the EV ArcTM to make it stronger, simpler to manufacture and easier to deploy.

One of aspects I enjoyed the most about working at Envision was that, since they are still a relatively small company, I was given a huge amount of responsibility and really felt I was able to make an impact on a daily basis.  During one of our projects, myself and a fellow Saltire intern were able to design a system that would allow an entire solar canopy to be deployed by just one person, a task that would have previously taken at least four, helping to make the product even easier to set up once delivered. Being able to experience an American working environment was also hugely eye-opening for me and the work ethic and drive for innovation are characteristics I hope to emulate in my professional career.

Connecting with other Saltire Scholars across the US provided some unforgettable experiences and gave me local tour guides to visit amazing national parks and vibrant cities. Envision were also great at organising events like BBQs and beach concerts, allowing me to socialise with other employees and develop lasting friendships.

More than anything else, my Saltire internship has given me a renewed focus and direction for my future career path. Getting to experience the innovative ideas and opportunities being applied to an industry I am passionate about has left me excited and motivated to contribute and make my own impact. My time with Envision has also highlighted the important aspects of my university education as I was able to call upon a great deal of it to help tackle problems. Now as I enter my final year of my degree, I intend to take some alternative classes to broaden my education as I have found that having an understanding for a diverse range of subjects can be hugely beneficial. I also plan to take on additional extra-curricular projects as I want to keep applying and developing the new skills that I have learnt in a useful way.

Having spent a large amount of time considering different summer internships, I found there to be a lack of opportunities that I was genuinely excited about or had the potential to truly benefit my career aspirations. The Saltire Scholar placement with Envision Solar immediately stood out to me as a completely unique opportunity to not only learn in one of the most fast-paced and innovative markets in the world but also at a company where I could be thrown in at the deep-end and develop my own skills in a dynamic and driven environment where each day brings new challenges.

As the summer has passed, I have become increasingly invested in Entrepreneurial Scotland’s goals and I intend to contribute by promoting the Saltire Scholar Programme for future students.

If not for my Saltire internship I would not have gained the skills or confidence to one day become a true innovator within my field.