When Marc joined the Astek Group, he was thinking of staying 3 to 5 years, enough time to learn a trade, before moving to work elsewhere … that was 14 years ago and today he is still with us, piloting large-scale projects. and helping define and promote our technology offerings.
It was a bit of a coincidence that I joined Astek …
That’s a bit of the image you get when Marc talks about the start of his adventure with Astek. “In 2007, I stumbled across Astek’s booth at a job fair. I wanted to do aeronautics, a passion confirmed by an end-of-studies internship at Thales. At the stand, I immediately felt that my profile was of great interest to the hiring manager, who wouldn’t let me go despite the queue of candidates that formed behind me”.
“I then took the time to compare and choose between several proposals, but the project that was proposed to me by Astek was by far the most interesting. So I joined the Group and this software development project at Sagem Défense launched me for the future”.
Marc thus had the opportunity to develop the A400M navigation unit, prior to his first flight, and recalls the memory of having followed this first test flight with his entire team. He mentions the innovative side of the project, because “it was one of the very first times that military aviation had to take into account civil aviation constraints”. Finally, this first project lasted 3 years, as new challenges were recurring and motivating.
Subsequently, Marc was entrusted with various projects of various durations in the aeronautical field, with key players such as MBDA, Thales Airborne Systems or Zodiac Aerospace ” where I was able to do pure civilian aeronautics this time, in particular by developing the electrical heart of the 787, intended to best distribute the electrical power of the aircraft according to the flight priorities”.
From technical assistance to the management of a Service Center
In 2014, Marc started a project with Thales Communications. “This involved developing the software for an IFF transponder on board aircraft, capable of very quickly differentiating friendly or enemy aircraft”. The project is growing and “I was surprised and touched by the confidence that both the client and Astek had in me, and which resulted in the project to grow this mission from a simple technical assistance to the responsibility of a complete development platform, a real Service Center for Thales”.
Marc then leads a team that will grow from 3 to 7 developers and ensure the smooth running of a structured project that will ultimately last 4 years after 18 months of technical assistance. This project will promote the know-how acquired ten years earlier, when his fresh outlook made him understand the imperatives of civil certification. Marc adds: ” I really enjoyed doing support, helping young people hired out of College to take their place on the project, to get trained quickly and to reach their best level”.
From aeronautics to ground transportation
During the last months of the IFF project, the Group offered Marc the opportunity to contribute his know-how to the development of technical responses to various calls for tenders from our clients. “I thus participated in the presentation of our proposal in response to a project proposed by the automotive supplier Bosch dealing with automotive diagnostics. Astek won the contract and started the project as we completed the latest developments for Thales. Once the Thales project was completed, I joined the Bosch team”.
“When a mechanic performs maintenance or repairs on a vehicle, he begins by plugging a PC into the OBD connector to communicate with all of the car’s computers. The diagnostic tool displays a detailed report of anomalies and guides the mechanic in corrective operations. The particularity of this project is to offer a 100% online solution to replace the old generation distributed via DVDs, which made it possible to reduce delays and logistics costs while ensuring better reactivity in the event of a major problem in the network and improving cybersecurity. This innovative solution also makes it possible to collect diagnostic data in the cloud in order to explore them and propose curative actions to improve the efficiency mechanics’ intervention and cars’ reliability”.
“It was a turning point in my career: I left the world of aeronautics, which was not my personal choice, and the project was carried out from the premises of Astek, which was new for me”. The project would also evolve significantly and unfold differently from what was originally planned. “The idea was to set up a results commitment based on a Service Center shared between France and Mauritius, but finally we quickly moved to a full off-shore solution and my role evolved into remote production management”.
Piloting still requires technical know-how
This new role gives him time to participate to the management by the Products and Offers Department of other committing projects for the Group. Marc therefore moves away from technical expertise specific to aeronautics but notes that “piloting remains an engineering know-how requiring understanding of very different business areas”.
“I thus led a study on the updating of trains on-board computers for Siemens, the realization of scientific calculation tools for the CEA allowing to determine the epicenter of seismic shocks or the impact of incidents in the nuclear industry, or work on computerized patient files (administrative files but also medical prescriptions) for the Institut Gustave Roussy”.
Marc’s activities are now diverse, including for example the staffing of the technical teams with the Business Managers, namely the ideal match between the skills of the consultants and the requirements of the client project.
Marc, how would you sum up these Astek years?
“Honestly, after my studies, I told myself that I was going to take on the project presented by Astek because it met my expectations in aeronautics and that after I would look elsewhere. But after a few months on a project, Astek was always able to offer me topics that made me want to go further or do something else exciting. I thought it over a few times, but I have always had interesting proposals. They weren’t always the ones I would have picked first if all choices were possible, but they were always motivating challenges. And that ultimately pushed me to become a Project Manager, to supervise, to lead, to look at other sectors and to step outside my purely technical horizon”.
Marc doesn’t have a straightforward answer: “I’m pretty focused on what I’m doing today. I continue to manage the deliverables for Bosch while developing my activity with the Projects and Offers Department. More and more, I am involved in winning new projects and writing new offers. What’s interesting is that there is no typical answer. A project like those of Thales or Bosch, it can be a Service Center over ten years. Managing a project for the CEA often takes around 6 months. My personal short-term goal is to successfully sell and pilot agile packages”.