Project Manager Iain Gillam has been with Ashwoods Electric Motors since 2016. His role involves overseeing the Advanced Engineering team at Innovation Valley, as well as managing a number of collaborative R&D projects currently receiving funding from Innovate UK and the Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC). Currently, Iain manages the £3.4M APC program DIET in conjunction with a number of industry partners. DIET focuses on the next generation of innovative electric propulsion solutions and will ensure Ashwoods remains at the forefront of innovation in electric propulsion – electric motors and electric drives.

Initially joining as a Project Engineer, Iain spent much of his early time both developing Ashwoods’ in-house climatic vibration testing standards and using them to test our 200 series Interior Permanent Magnet electric motors to their limits to ensure the integrity and durability of Ashwoods products. The evolution of his role into Project Manager reflects the considerable growth in the team at Ashwoods Electric Motors. By Iain’s own estimates, the business is around three times larger in terms of headcount compared to when he started in early 2016.

Prior to life at Ashwoods, Iain worked for Mercedes AMG High Performance Powertrains on the engine and ERS system that would win the 2014 World Championships. While at Mercedes, Iain worked in a range of roles including mechanical design of several aspects of the powertrain, durability testing of the electric motors within the ERS system and strategy simulations during the Championship winning 2014 season. It was when working on both mechanical design aspects of the ERS system and, latterly, the durability testing of electric motors that Iain galvanised his interest in electric motors and electric propulsion.

Iain’s interest was initially spawned while working towards a Master’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering at Imperial College London, during which he worked on an electric race car that competed in Formula Student UK.


After working for Mercedes for three years, Iain took a self-funded year off in 2015 to shift his focus to achieving a long-term goal of becoming an elite triathlete. Iain had competed in triathlon for a number of years alongside work, achieving success in Age Group competitions, including a British Championship. However, to make the step up to, and meet, the Elite qualification criteria, Iain moved to Spain to be near his coach and focused on training and racing full time. During 2015 he competed in two World Championships, a European Championship and two British Championships, collecting three podium finishes along the way. He also achieved his aim by surpassing the elite qualification criteria and racing in the British Elite Championships.

While claiming any racing he does now is “just for fun” Iain is competing in the ‘Escape from Alcatraz’ this June in San Francisco.

“You start by getting a ferry out to Alcatraz, jump off the back and swim back to the Bay. Then you cycle and run around San Francisco itself.”

That is a daunting swim, 18-mile mountainous ride and 8 miles of running with two steep peaks of 250 feet. Rather you than us, Iain!

Looking to the future back at Innovation Valley, Iain says the key goals are progressing volumes in production, and also alluded to some new research and development projects…

“There is some game-changing technology on the horizon that will be coming out of the Advanced Engineering team at Ashwoods.”

The ‘next-gen’ technology will be unveiled later this year.