Meet UK’s Young Engineer of the Year 2015

Young farmer & inventor aspires to become a mechanical engineer.

Colum McNally with the agrihammer, his fence post drilling and wood chopping invention.

Colum McNally has won the National Science + Engineering Competition with his invention the agrihammer. This fence post drilling and wood chopping tool is designed to increases the safety and productivity of farmers.

About 12 farmers are killed or injured every year in Northern Ireland in accidents relating to fence drilling and wood chopping. However, McNally’s tool is safer and cheaper than the traditional tool options.

McNally said, “I truly believe that it will save lives and money for many farmers, like myself.” Currently, McNally works as a cattle farmer in Northern Ireland, but he hopes this win will springboard him into a mechanical engineering undergraduate.

The competition started with thousands of applicants promoting their projects online and at showcases. The top choices were then invited to the Big Bang UK Young Science and Engineers Fair where a judging panel chooses the winners over two days.

“Colum [McNally] is just brilliant. His project will make his work so much better, more accessible and it really is making the world a better place!” Expressed Kate Bellingham, Chair of the Engineering and Technology judging panel. “Winning the Competition is a wonderful opportunity for him and I am convinced he will be a great ambassador for science and engineering in the future.”

As for McNally, he is equally as excited for his win. He said, “It’s an absolute honour to be the UK Young Engineer of the Year 2015! I have worked so hard on my project, and really enjoyed applying maths and physics to solve a problem that’s so prominent in the agricultural community.”

Do you know of a young engineer that started his STEM career and studies with an interesting invention? Comment below.


Written by

Shawn Wasserman

For over 10 years, Shawn Wasserman has informed, inspired and engaged the engineering community through online content. As a senior writer at WTWH media, he produces branded content to help engineers streamline their operations via new tools, technologies and software. While a senior editor at, Shawn wrote stories about CAE, simulation, PLM, CAD, IoT, AI and more. During his time as the blog manager at Ansys, Shawn produced content featuring stories, tips, tricks and interesting use cases for CAE technologies. Shawn holds a master’s degree in Bioengineering from the University of Guelph and an undergraduate degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Waterloo.