News & Events

AFAM Member Interview- May 2014

Once a month we feature a member of our US based alumni community. We hope this serves as a way to stay in touch and get to know one another despite the grand size of the US.

Alumni and AFAM member Frederic Garderes (Bo 89) is our next AFAM member profile.
Thank you Frederic for sharing with us!


photo fred garderes1.     Tell us about your career path and area of expertise today. How did it come about?

I started my career as an Industrial Engineer for a fast growing (20% CAGR) Electronic Manufacturing & Services (EMS) company (Solectron). With the group’s expansion, I had the chance to participate in, and lead a number of projects, taking various functions such as Six Sigma & Quality Management, Program Management, and finally Supply-Chain management. Slowly sliding down the Business slope, I rounded my education with an MBA, which I put to use in the US Supply-Chain team of Infineon Technologies of San Jose, a German semi-conductor manufacturer. There, I lead US and Global projects, as well as the North America Distribution Center. More recently, I moved to a smaller size group, Gooch & Housego, where I now lead all Supply-Chain activities for our six US plants, manufacturing various devices for photonics applications.


2.     What do you do every day at work? How does being a Gadz’Arts help you in your everyday tasks and team management?

With a healthy growth, G&H has reached the stage where centralizing a number of local functions derives economic benefits. Supply Chain covers a wide range of activities Sourcing, Planning, Purchasing, Logistics, Supplier Management, and increasingly Supply-Chain Compliance (RoHS, WEEE, Dodd-Frank), which fills up my day easily, and keeps things varied. My role is to ensure that teams at each site and across sites consistently seek cost-reductions and shorter lead-times, strengthen their supply-chains, while maintaining minimal amount of inventories to support uninterrupted operations and sales.

Many aspects of my background as a Gadz’Arts have been truly helpful. Being a generalist is a key enabler when participating in product discussions as we are at the intersection of mechanical, optical and electrical engineering. From a managerial perspective, I found being practical a key strength: we can craft plans that work, because we are able to put ourselves in the shoes of the technicians and operators who will do the tasks at hand.


3.     How did you come to the US- why and when? How is your work life different than in France?

Shortly after joining Solectron (now Flextronics), I was asked to help support the launch of a new business division in the Bay Area through the summer. This was in 1996, and contract manufacturing was booming in the Bay Area. Meanwhile, a recession was still plaguing the French economy, which helped adding another year to the assignment, to support the tremendous growth in the Bay Area which would only be stopped with the 2001 tech bubble bursting. In the very first months, I was hooked on the ease of doing business in the Valley, the friendly atmosphere in the workplace, the teamwork efforts (focusing on creating success for the company not for oneself), and the great freedom and responsibilities given to engineers. I couldn’t see myself fitting back in the micromanagement style in place in many French corporations (as told by my many of my friends still working in France). In 1998, I decided to move permanently to the US.


4.     What is the best advice someone ever gave you? Why?

I don’t really have a defining piece of advice strong in my mind, but I acquired a strong set of principles to guide me.

I had a very good connection with Barry Posner, one of my Management teachers at Santa Clara University, the co-author of the best-seller book the “Leadership Challenge”. The five principles of leadership exposed in the book are in a frame over my desk: “Model the Way. Inspire a shared vision. Challenge the process. Enable others to Act. Encourage the Heart”. I read these everyday, and try to apply these in everything I do, as a manager, as a leader, as a father, and simply as a human being.


5.     What is one favorite way to spend your free time (hobbies, weekend activities)?

Lots of my free time is spent cheering for my kids (9 & 11) on the sideline of soccer pitches, or cheering for my wife running marathon and 50K races. What is left of my energy is spent running the beautiful hills of the Bay Area, and the Sierra Nevada, where I occasionally compete in ultra-marathon races up to 100 miles.

Thank you again for sharing your experience and thoughts on life in the USA for Gadz'Arts! AFAM is grateful for your support.

MeetUp in New York City

meetin gadz ny 2
On Wednesday 9, 2014, a dozen of Gadzarts joined the meet up event organized around 7pm at the Flatiron Hall on 26th street and broadway. The locally famous beer hall and brew pub kindly hosted the team of cheerful beer drinkers and their traditionally so genuine talks. On this occasion, the New York group was pleased to welcome for the first time Gadzarts students newly enrolled in a double-diploma program with Columbia Graduate school.

Around 830pm, the alumni group headed toward the Hill Country Barbecue Market located literally less than a block away. From there, the happy fellows enjoyed exchanging their personal cultural experiences surrounded by finely cooked moist brisket, pork and beef ribs. Overall, the event ended up combining great food and beverages with fun among our New-Yorkers alumni.

meeting gadz ny

Seminaire Innovation et entrepreuneuriat 2014

Introduction to Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the Paris School


20140321_121741Eric Benhamou and I were in Paris the week of March 17-21 to teach a seminar on innovation and company creation at the Paris center of the Arts et Métiers. We were hoping to expose a small group of motivated student volunteers to these topics that are so important for a 21st century’s engineer’s career. We also had an eye on possibly expanding the topic to a larger student population at some point in the future.

We were excited to meet 26 young Gadz’Arts full of energy and ambition who gave us 30 hours of their time for this very intensive session. Half a dozen case studies allowed us to kick-start discussions on such matters as the customer value of a project, competitive analysis, fund raising, and people and team management. We had extensive conversations in class and outside, and were faced with myriad interesting questions. The young Gadz’Arts are preparing themselves well for their future, and they are thinking about the right topics.

At the end everyone received a certificate of completion, a well-known tool in any American company that the students really appreciated. What will happen next year? Stay tuned.

Claude Leglise

Introduction à l’innovation et à l’entreprenariat au Centre de Paris.


20140321_122211Eric Benhamou et moi étions à Paris la semaine du 17 au 21 mars pour enseigner un séminaire sur l’innovation et la formation d’entreprises aux Arts et Métiers. Nous cherchions à exposer un petit nombre d’élèves volontaires à ces sujets importants pour une carrière d’ingénieur du 21ème·siècle, avant de peut-être étendre le sujet a un plus grand nombre d’élèves dans le futur.

Nous avons eu la chance de rencontrer 26 jeunes Gadz’Arts pleins d’énergie et d’ambition qui nous ont consacré 30 heures pour cette session très intensive. Une demi-douzaine d’études de cas nous a permis de lancer les discussions sur des sujets aussi divers que la valeur d’un projet pour un client, l’analyse de la concurrence, la levée de fonds et la gestion des ressources humaines. Les conversations furent intenses et les questions nombreuses; les jeunes Gadz’Arts se préparent bien a leur avenir proche et réfléchissent aux bons problèmes.

A la fin tous ont reçu un certificat, méthode très utilisée dans les entreprises Américaines que les élèves ont beaucoup apprécié. Que ce passera t’il l’année prochaine ? A suivre.

Claude Leglise


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