Interview with Orianne, project manager at Safran Engineering Services
- What is your educational background?
I earned a chemical engineering degree from the School of Organic and Mineral Chemistry (ESCOM) in 2011. I went on to write a thesis on chemistry and materials, which I completed in 2015 with INRA in Versailles and Saint-Gobain Recherche. The topic was understanding and improving a process to manufacture a biomass-based composite material used to make glass veil.
- What did this lead to, professionally?
I was hired by Safran Engineering Services just after finishing my thesis. I worked for Safran Nacelles at the Le Havre site, where I did concession processing for composite materials. I was both a project manager and a technical engineer supporting production. In parallel, I managed a paint qualification project for the new nacelles, which entailed planning tests and logistics, and writing reports and conclusions. Finally, I led research and development activities, thinking about ways to repair sections of parts using composite materials to avoid systematically replacing entire damaged parts.
- Has your role in the company changed?
Yes. I moved to Ile-de-France at the beginning of 2017. My new assignment was to take up activities related to composite materials for the GE9X engine, developed in part by Safran Aircraft Engines. It was a purely technical role. But lately, I've been assigned a new role: project manager for Renault, a client we've had for 10 years.
- What does this new role entail?
I supervise a team of 13 people in charge of catalytic decontamination activities for the manufacturer. I coordinate technicians, engineers and doctors in charge of tests, qualification and supplier relations. It's a real challenge in terms of change management for all stakeholders. In fact, we've recently switched to a fixed-price contract and are evaluated based on deliverables, and no longer on the time spent doing our jobs. Before, the client was the one planning the schedules for Safran Engineering Services employees. Now, I am the one scheduling and coordinating, with an obligation to produce results.
- According to you, what qualities must a project manager have?
First of all, rigor. You must be organized and anticipate the twists and turns of the project. You also need an excellent sense of communication so that you convey the right messages at the right time. The fact that I have project management skills as well as more technical ones thanks to my education and previous experience is a real asset which allows me to understand team member issues and challenges.
- What do you like most about this role?
Client relations, since I work at Renault, as well as the teams. I like to assist people and be available for them. I also have an overall view of Safran Engineering Services activities. I am in contact with managers, sales representatives, and people with many other roles in the company. It's very interesting.
- How do you see yourself progressing in your career?
This project manager role is already a wonderful opportunity for me. Still, I'd like to continue developing my cross-functional management skills. I like supervising projects and teams!