Our Team

Our team consists of naval architects, systems engineers and cyber security experts who all share a love for their area of expertise.  All of our employees are active members of professional societies and Steller Systems’ Managing Director is a Fellow of Royal Institution of Naval Architects (RINA) and the Institution of Marine Engineers, Scientists and Technologists (IMarEST).

Robert Skarda MSc CEng FRINA FIMarEST RCNC, Managing Director

Robert has been working on complex systems within the defence industry since 1996 when he joined the UK Ministry of Defence as a naval architect.  After completing his MSc in Warship Naval Architecture and Submarine design from University College London, he spent time training at sea with the Royal Navy on HMS Boxer (a Type 22 frigate) during Operation Desert Fox in the Gulf and HMS Splendid (a Nuclear Attack Submarine) in the Atlantic.  Robert is a Fellow of the Royal Institution of Naval Architects (FRINA) and the Institute of Marine Engineers, Scientists and Technologists (FIMarEST), a Chartered Engineer and a member of the Royal Corps of Naval Architects (RCNC).  Robert is a highly experienced naval architect and systems engineer and has in-depth knowledge of ship systems integration, integration analysis, systems testing and acceptance management.

Samantha Skarda, Director

Samantha has over eighteen years’ experience in management, communications, recruitment, management training and leadership development.  She has a strong background in engineering and management, and facilitates open dialogue within the team.  Sam supports staff in their development, encourages innovation and facilitates open communication within the team and the upholding of family values within the company.  Responsible for company strategy, financial planning, team leadership, recruitment management, events management, office management and envisioning the future path for the company.  Sam is at the heart of our successful business, and uses her intuitive understanding of people to help create an environment in which exceptional individuals can thrive.

Dominic Horner CEng MEng MRINA MIMarEST, Business Manager & Principal Naval Architect  

Dominic is an experienced naval architect and an expert user of industry tools including Paramarine, Seagoing and Seaweigh software packages.  As a Principal Naval Architect, Dominic provides naval architecture support to customers including the Naval Authority Group and the Naval Design Partnering team.  Prior to joining Steller Systems, Dominic worked for QinetiQ GRC, conducting and overseeing both naval architecture and software development consultancy tasks.  Dominic has a keen interest in, and knowledge of, all marine craft, particularly military craft.  Dominic is also Steller Systems’ Business Manager – Surface Ships, with responsibility for all of Steller Systems’ projects above water.

Stephen Pedder MPhys MInstP, Business Development Manager & Senior Systems Engineer

Stephen is a Senior Systems Engineer with thirteen years’ experience of defence.  Stephen has worked on a range of systems engineering projects, working for Steller Systems, Jacobs UK and the Defence and Science Technology Laboratory (Dstl).  Stephen’s projects have included researching, analysing and managing the interfaces between systems, analysing system and technology maturity levels, developing technology and capability roadmapping, and trials planning.  Stephen is also an experienced bid writer, and provides bid support to external companies.  Stephen has a Master’s degree in Mathematics and Physics.

Rick Goddard CEng CMarEng MSc MEng MRINA MIMarEST, Senior Naval Architect

Rick is a Naval Architect with 8 years’ experience in the defence sector. Rick has experience of producing unique concept designs and is aware of the careful balance between engineering design and the constraints of manufacture. Rick has experience of using a wide range of analytical and design software packages as part of the design process. Rick also has extensive experience of working in the MOD safety environment, acting as the Naval Authority in the Ship Stability and Hydrodynamic key hazard area for the MOD Naval Authority Group.  Rick has a Master’s degree in Naval Architecture from University College London and a Master’s degree in Aerospace Engineering from UMIST.

Simon Dawe CEng MIMechE, Senior Engineer

With seven years’ experience of working in the naval defence industry (within both ship and submarine departments) in a variety of technical roles. Simon has a keen interest in design, particularly structural analysis at both concept and qualification stages. Simon spent five years working in structural engineering roles in the MOD. This included a role in Sea Systems Group – Ship Structures, acting as First Audit Officer for ship structural submissions for the Naval Ship Safety Certificate in accordance with the Naval Ship Code, and providing technical advice and analysis to project teams on in-service structural issues. Simon has also worked in Maritime Platform Systems, with responsibility for platform systems risk management.

Luke Barkway BEng AMRINA, Principal Naval Architect

Luke is a qualified naval architect with 10 years’ experience based in shipyards and design offices around the globe. He brings expertise on a range of vessel types covering super yachts, workboats, surface naval ships and submarines. Luke joined us from QinetiQ where he was technical lead on a number of research projects involving resistance and propulsion, seakeeping, acoustics, fluid structure interactions and propeller design.  Luke is versed in a variety of tasks from experimental testing, computational simulations, engine room arrangements, ship system layouts to weight estimates and hull design.

George Payne MEng, Graduate Naval Architect

George is a recent Graduate from the University of Southampton, where he achieved a Master’s degree in Ship Science. George loves to take a practical and hands-on approach to tackle problems, but also enjoys technical design and analysis work. During his degree George completed a wide range of different projects and assignments, from the design and manufacture of a high performance rigid wing sail, to the General Arrangement of a container ship. George is also a keen triathlete and sailor.


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