How would you describe your job in a minute?

I'm the Chief Operating Officer for Atmos International (Atmos). I’m also the Company Secretary for North America which means in addition to the engineering side, I'm also looking at all the legal, HR and finance administration for the US entity. Engineering is something I've been doing for a long time, so this has given me new skills too.

Day to day, I facilitate the relationship between our American offices, So between Costa Rica, Anaheim and here in San Antonio. I’m here to enable people to do their jobs well. I’ll help assign resources, making sure sales, projects and maintenance are supported and successful.

I'm also working to help communication between sales, R&D, project and maintenance. We’re so connected in North and Latin America and work very closely. I’ll look at the different activities and projects and how to assign them. For example, if sales require additional resources, we’ll need HR involvement as we’ll need an engineer or developer to support this project. Day to day I’m on the move constantly. Taking calls, ensuring good customer service and of course, delivering the projects on time to keep the customer happy!

What do you feel your biggest achievement to date is personal or professional?

I guess on the personal side it is being international.  I moved to the UK from France as an aerospace engineer learning everything from scratch. After helping to continuously develop and grow the company I then moved to the US. Starting new offices in San Antonio and Costa Rica as we grew our North and South America operations. It was a big achievement to develop and grow the operations to become a significant contributor to Atmos. It was a real team effort to get to this stage, involving a lot of key players from Anaheim, Costa Rica and here in San Antonio.

I really value that. It’s about working together strongly, regardless of the department or office, so that's always something I am proud to have achieved – and we continue to do so.

Whereabouts in France do you come from?

I’m from Marseille in the south of France and studied in Toulouse. Now, because I have US citizenship, I am a little in between. My son says he’s Franco-American, so he can’t really figure out which is more. America because we live here or France where our culture is based and all our family is there. We do go back but we embrace a lot of culture with friends from Latin America, so I guess with the travel I do, I’m becoming a global citizen.

Actually, I think I’ve traveled and worked in every continent apart from Asia working on new products, specific pipelines from Alaska to the Andes, from Qatar to Algeria and the desert. So, it’s been rewarding to be exposed to all this culture.

Bearing in mind your multi-head role, what’s a typical day for you?

I start my day going to the gym and browse through the first emails, especially from the UK, because of the time difference. I try to prioritize to make sure that I respond to the key issues, mainly in development making sure everybody has the right information and then facilitating between colleagues and team.

When I get into the office, I’m really looking at people and resources and I'm still doing project management on some of the larger projects. We communicate a lot between the offices and our clients. Throughout the day I’ll be liaising with our salespeople, with our project and maintenance teams and making sure we’re lined up for upcoming work and tasks.

Ultimately it is about making sure all the projects are running smoothly, the client is happy and our people and services get better. So that's what I'm trying to facilitate every day.

If you could swap jobs with somebody in the business, who/what would it be?

I wouldn’t change, to be honest. There are good and bad things in any jobs, that’s what I learned as an engineer! What I like about my role is the diversity of the tasks. The attitude and culture here in the US. It’s enjoyable to work with our customers – our relationships are nice.

Plus, I like to be exposed to so many different cultures from across our business from North America, South America, the people in the UK, China and Australia. And obviously, I have made a lot of connections over the years, being in the UK for four years. It’s great to come to the head office and I get to catch up with a lot of colleagues that usually I only speak on the phone with. I also enjoy trying to help show the different cultural perspectives between our offices as I’ve spent time in most of them. Helping to improve inter-office relations if you like. It really improves communication and cooperation even more.

Looking ahead what's on your wish list for the next five years?

I want to continue to make our clients happy to find solutions, to innovate and I really want the team to enjoy what they do so they grow and develop as engineers.

You talk about the varied role you've got, but what professional challenges do you come across? 

I think we’ve established good communication between our offices and continue to want to innovate all the time. We’re ambitious of course and we need to be able to support our new products into the market – ultimately making sure our customers are happy and it fits their needs. It’s not revolutionary but attention to detail and maximizing our potential requires regular effort from all of us.

Who would you pick as a mentor?

Bill Gates. For the innovation, starting from scratch and dropping from Harvard to do it. At the same time, it was his business strategy, not only on the innovation and just technology but also on his management strategy approach. Through the years, even on his legal action struggles, I was impressed with how he always came up with a plan. Now how he operates his joint charity with his wife to give back to the community, which is impressive. So, in a lot of aspects, I really like that kind of innovation. On the technology side, the management's strategic actions about developing the business and which is something we are similar in terms of developing a lot of relationships with our clients and partners. The last thing is also giving back to people, to the community such as the activities with his wife in Africa. It's obviously goal-oriented. So, I like the challenge and to go for it.

I think also there’s a lot of similarities in what we do. Such as developing our existing products, while adding new services and technology. Not dropping what you did well but continuing to develop – making the company stronger as a result.

As Atmos continues to grow, what's your advice to recent new recruits?

Well, I'll think it’s about always accepting the challenge. The company is growing, there's plenty of opportunities, so learn as much as you can, ask your colleagues because everybody will help you in Atmos to grow. Ask your manager, the developers and the salespeople to give you the background, so you can continue to improve.

Ultimately, I think the right attitude is key. We want everybody to get into the culture of great customer service, so for me, it is important to embrace it. Talk to the client, learn about what their needs are and build a relationship with them. The technical know-how and experience will follow naturally.

What’s your motto or mantra?

Never give up! That’s always on my horizon. Whether this has been in sport such as tennis or soccer when growing up. Or when I ran a marathon. Whatever things I did, I never gave up. It doesn't work, or I did not succeed, so I go back to my plan and ask myself how can I can make it work, or can I do something differently if I still want to achieve my goal?

I need to be able to say to myself I failed here and ask what a different option would look like. I applied this not only with sports and personal goals but also with work. On the technical side but also with people management.  For example, the way I managed people 12 years ago is different from the way I manage people now. I'll learn from it and will explain my mistake to my team, saying ‘You know, I made mistakes too and I learned from them.  We try non-stop and we try to be better but we don't give up if something goes wrong. If something doesn't look like you're going to achieve it, you've got to believe that you’re eventually going to succeed - you will find another solution. It’s okay to make mistakes as long as they learn from them.

Do you have a blog, a newspaper or a media title you go to?

I have a lot of connections on LinkedIn with clients and business relationships. As well as the Atmos business, I have had experience in aerospace and it’s good to see what’s happening in those sectors and companies. I tend to read the articles and blogs, if they’re useful, I’ll share with my network.

Magazines are still valuable but it's really LinkedIn because it's so diverse. In one place I can get management and HR insights on everything from state law changes and the policy changes that may affect our people. It can even generate sales opportunities too, so I constantly scan the horizon for any information that could help us – such as seeing mergers and sales of pipelines, which we can prepare to engage with new owners and operators quickly.

As a regular globe trotter. What’s your favorite country

That’s really hard to answer. I’ve got too many!  I always say New Zealand and Brazil. New Zealand is because it’s like a big Corsica. It’s got everything – the mountains, the coast and the people are so warm and welcoming too.

As for Brazil, I guess it’s even more diverse and it’s a huge country. It’s so different as you have the jungle, the beaches and then Rio which is a completely crazy place to visit but fantastic at the same time. I travel a lot with my wife and family and we love backpacking and the outdoors.

Last words?

I guess it’s really to reinforce how great the journey has been. Atmos is a big part of many people’s lives and we want to share the opportunity with new colleagues as we continue with the next chapter.