2019 is gone. Let's look back at some significant events for our school, alumni and students and some important moments of 2019 for American Friends of Arts et Metiers.
We can't wait to see what the new decade will bring to our community!
Laurent Champaney wishes a Happy New 2019 and talks about new projects for the school
Notes about UC Berkeley and Georgia Institute of Technology are published in our blog (signed by Louis Renaux (Cl 216) and Alexis Cassier (Me 215). These two engineering schools are the most popular destinations for our students as every year a lot of gadzarts are going to Berkeley and Atlanta within the framework of Parcours US or GT exchange programs.
First gadz gathering is organized in Atlanta by our Atlanta representative and AFAM board member Nicolas Horde (Ai 215). Our communities on East, West Coast and in the Center are very dynamic and there are a lot of different events organized thanks to our groups' presidents JB Commans, Eric Tran, Mattia Pelissou and other groups' members.
Arts et Metiers is displaying its new identity at Global Industry Exhibition.
Arts et Metiers students Clément, Jean and Maxime are selected for World Skills competition taking place in Russia in August 2019
Partnership with Data ScienceTech Institute is signed to tackle the Digitalization Challenge
Two gadzarts-interns are receiving AFAM grants (another gadzart will receive a grant in June 2019)
AFAM celebrates spring with Arts et Metiers alumnas Anne-Perrine, Basma, Fanny, Mathilde and Soazig who are featured in our spring editions.
50 students from Texas A&M University came to Aix-en-Provence campus
Arts et Metiers and Dassault Systems signed Memorandum of Understanding
Art et Metiers is the first school becoming French Fab ambassador
Gadzarts team participated in AAGEF Regatta in NYC
The first intern from Texas A&M University Lucas Freitas is welcomed in Aix-en-Provence's MSMP laboratory
Arts et Metiers and EDF sign a partnership agreement
Arts et Metiers students take part in French Fab Tour
Arts et Metiers unveils its new visual identity
Arts et Metiers has its Think Tank
Arts et Metiers Shanghai Congress is organized
Third Arts et Metiers/TEES workshop takes place in College Station
AFAM launches a new series of interviews "Food for Thought" including five interviews
40th edition of Arts et Metiers' Forum takes place in Paris
AFAM's community manager travels in France (Paris, Bordeaux and Aix-en-Provence campuses) to meet students and school faculty and staff - read "On the Road Notes"
AFAM's first event "The Mobility Revolution" co-organized with French Founders takes place in Palo Alto
Baptemes of new Gadzarts are occurring on six Arts et Metiers campuses. Bapteme on Bordeaux campus will take place on February 2020.
Our latest interview in our Food for Thought series was with Jean Prévot (Ch98), Director of Operation at Danone Manifesto Ventures. Jean started in Food Industry in France almost 20 years ago before coming to the United States.
But we all start off somewhere. And we can eventually work our way up to a higher level of expertise, success and recognition.
Today our interviewee is a young intern at Epi Breads Florian Héraud (Bo 215). Florian is an Automation Project engineering intern. He started his internship program in Michigan in March 2019 and will be working in the US until spring 2020.
AFAM: What do you do on a daily basis for your job?
Florian: I am in charge of different projects for continuous improvement. In the bakery, there are a lot of operations that can reap major benefit from automation such as handling the boxes full of products or the trays we put the bread on. In other words, I am working on finding the right equipment to improve our processes by working with solution providers in every field linked to the bakery: flour handling, vacuum cooling, packaging.
AFAM: Is working for a Food Company your initial choice or a coincidence?
Florian: It is a total coincidence! I was searching for an opportunity abroad in the robotics and automatics fields and I found this company with a strong willing of modernization. So here I am, working with robots and automated cells for a bakery in this great state of Michigan.
AFAM: What makes the company you work for unique?
Florian: Although my goal is to develop automated applications, we keep making an artisanal product by maintaining some crucial manual operations like the handling of the baking or the scoring of the bread. That is what makes Epi Breads unique because in the American food world. Our bread is the closest to the baguette and I could not be prouder participating in its making!
AFAM: In your opinion, what would you bring in your professional life after being an intern in a Food Company?
Florian: A lot of elements for sure! It is my first job after my graduation, and I have never worked in a such high production capacity. I realize how much keeping the production going is important in a high rate factory when the whole team is under pressure during a breakdown. Moreover, it taught me the roughness of the financial balance, every dollar counts when the profit margin is low. So, every project and funding request has to be well justified, that is maybe the main lesson I will remember from this experience. I do not think that I will stay in the food industry but I definitely want to keep working on projects with robotics, I am currently on the customer side, then I would like to go on the solution provider side.
AFAM: We are now in the midst of the year-end holidays. What’s your plan for New Year celebration and how did you spend Christmas? And what will be your professional goal for the new 2020?
I choose to come back to France for the holidays so I do not have the chance to experience an American Christmas. But I had the opportunity to celebrate Thanksgiving with a friend from work! She invited me with her family among forty other people. We ate so many different dishes : turkey of course, ham with gravy, casserole beans, mash potatoes and cheese… We were all gathered, discussing and watching football, that was a really lovely American experience!
Thank you, Florian, for sharing! AFAM wishes you all the best in the new 2020!
Photo: Epi Breads products (courtesy of Florian)
Please read other interviews in our "Food for Thought" series:
This Fall AFAM decided to launch its “FOOD FOR THOUGHT” interview series.
“FOOD FOR THOUGHT” is a way to unveil and understand what is behind some engineering jobs in the Food/Agriculture Industry in the US. AFAM has no intention of analyzing this big and complex industry but wants to gain some understanding of what it is to be an engineer in the Food sector, what opportunities it might open up and skills it requires.
Above all, “FOOD FOR THOUGHT” is a great way of getting acquainted with our diverse and vibrant gadz community in the US!
Today we meet Jean Prévot (Ch 98). Jean started as a Production Engineer at Danone in 2001 in France (Neufchatel en Bray) and has been working for Danone for 5 years before moving to Hungary where for several years he was a Plant Manager at Bongrain.
His next step was moving to the United States to work for a cheese company Laura Chenel’s Chevre and then for a plant-based foods startup Kite Hill for almost 6 years.
Today Jean is back to Danone, more precisely at Danone Manifesto Ventures as a Director of Operations.
AFAM: Hello, Jean, and thank you for taking the time to reply to our questions. What do you do on a daily basis for your job?
Jean: As the head of Operations for Danone Ventures, most of my day-to-day tasks is to bring operational support to our portfolio companies (AFAM: Danone Manifesto Ventures’ portfolio include such companies as Michel et Augustin, Farmer’s Fridge, Yooji, Harmless Harvest, to mention a few). I can work with them as little as being a sounding board for their CEO/COO, or as intense as acting COO -VP Operations/Quality. I hence travel to all these companies headquarters or production facilities to work on multiple projects at the same time: from building and starting a coconut water extraction plant in Thailand to improving the Quality/Food Safety system for cookie manufacturing in France to defining the industrial roadmap for a Greek yogurt company in India, it is a very rich and diverse job.
I enjoy working with a very wide spectrum of products, companies and cultures. I am also in charge of building the Opstech/Agtech deal flow for our investment activity, and conducting the operational due-diligence process for our selected candidates.
I'm very lucky to work on both sides of the coin: interacting with great entrepreneurs and also leveraging the immense resources of a great worldwide institution like Danone.
AFAM: Is working for a Food Company your initial choice or a coincidence?
Jean: Since my 1st year at Arts et Métiers, I always wanted to work in the food industry. I guess this is linked to my dream job as a kid: I wanted to be a pastry chef. I chose all my internships in the food industry, starting with an engineering angle, gradually working towards people and product management. Back in these days, we were not so many Gadz to work in the Food Industry, but that was definitely a starting trend.
AFAM: What makes the company you work for unique?
Jean: Danone Manifesto Ventures was founded to bring the Danone Manifesto to life by partnering with a tribe of disruptive entrepreneurs across the world. Danone Manifesto Ventures has an ambition to make investment choices guided by the highest standards of social and environmental impact, in line with Danone’s One Planet, One Health vision to promote healthy and sustainable eating and drinking habits. In September 2018, Danone Manifesto Ventures became the first corporate venture fund independently certified as a B Corporation. Danone, One planet. One health agenda is a truly unique and powerful mission, and I am glad to have a chance to be a part of it every day.
AFAM: Did the fact of being French help you get where you are now?
Jean: It sure did play its part! After a first expatriation in Hungary, where I ran a cheese manufacturing factory, I found a job in the US to build and run a goat cheese plant in Sonoma, CA. These 2 jobs helped me build competences as a cheesemaker. A couple of years later, a startup contacted me as they were interested in my profile of French Cheesemaker. A year later, we had launched the world's first artisanal plant based cheeses, made with Traditional cheesemaking cultures, and 2 years later I had my name on a patent! This was the beginning of a 6 years adventure, allowing me to build on the long term in the US, and eventually work for a corporate VC.
AFAM: What can you say about Food Industry in general in the US, how is it different from that in France? Any thoughts?
Jean: Historically, France has always been looked as the cradle of Savoir Vivre, great food, great wines. Nothing new was really happening in the food world in 2012. I left a comfortable expatriation position in a 100+ years old company to work in a pre-revenue startup. We had no products but a great idea and a potential client. Back then, stores were not selling much kale chips, certainly neither cricket flour snacks, nor plant based meats. This was the early stage of the food revolution we're witnessing today. Back then, Silicon valley was, yet again, the origin of many great companies, such as Impossible Foods, Just, Beyond and many others. Few years later the trend has spread to other areas in the US: Austin, Portland, New York. And today the ecosystem in France is as dynamic as it is here, in the US. We could even say that not only France has caught up, it might have taken the lead in some areas. We still see a strong difference in the way regulators look at novel foods. It is MUCH easier to commercialize innovations in the US than it is in France, certainly for the best of consumer's protection, but not for the dynamism of the industry. However, I would not be surprised if the next breakthrough innovation comes from France. But beware! Competition is fierce all across the world and a lot of other countries are following in the footsteps of Innovation!
AFAM: Thank you, Jean, for sharing!
More about Food innovation:
Read other interviews of Food for Thought series in our blog:
Thanksgiving Day is a time to give thanks and express our gratitude. AFAM decided to collect some testimonies from our students who benefited from Louis Magne's generosity and obtained Louis Magne scholarship to study in the United States. As you might know Louis Magne, the Grand Gadz'arts, passed away at age 106 on October 29th, 2019. We are extremely grateful to him for everything he did for AFAM, for the school and for a lot of young gadz'arts.
Here is what our students and alumni wrote:
Thanks to Louis Magne grant I was able to seize the opportunity to discover the US and American culture. It was a great support financially for the accomplishment of my Master of Science degree at University of Michigan - Ann Arbor. I also had the opportunity to celebrate Louis' Birthday with other Louis Magne grant recipients in 2015 in Houston. I am very respectful about his open-mindedness and humbleness. And I will always remember his generosity and kindness.
Bingbing Wu (Cl 203)
Bingbing and other recipients of Louis Magne grant in Iena, Paris, 2004
Thanks to Louis Magne grant I was able to fully focus on studies and activities at my University. This allowed me to further develop my skills and get the best of my time in the US. But, more than just the scholarship, I will remember Louis Magne as a very inspiring figure, a Gadz’arts who made it to the top while helping others in their goal to succeed. The kind of person anyone wants to become. Thank you, Louis Magne and may you rest in peace.
Antoine Yazbeck, (Ch 217)
Receiving Louis Magne grant allowed me to do a Master degree at Stanford University by helping me to finance my project. Therefore, I am very thankful to Louis Magne.
Eléonore Jacquemet (Li 217)
I am grateful to have been a recipient of the Louis Magne Fellowship. He helped me finance my studies at the Georgia Institute of Technology, where I obtained a master's degree in mechanical engineering. This year of study has been very exciting and interesting in many ways. This was made possible thanks to people like Louis Magne. I find it very impressive that throughout his life, he has devoted his time and money to helping other young gadzarts. Louis Magne has definitely raised solidarity to a very high level, I will never be grateful enough for his help.
Eymard Prevost (Li215)
I am extremely grateful to have been a beneficiary of Louis Magne Scholarship, which helped me pursue my studies in the United States. I have never met Mr. Louis Magne in person, but I felt immersed by his huge generosity. May your generosity and kindness inspire generations to come. Thank you, Mr. Louis Magne, and may you rest in peace.
Robert Gan (Bo 216)
I never had the chance to meet Louis Magne and I would have been delighted to thank him, face to face. But I take the opportunity today through this message. His grant of up to $4,000 for Georgia Tech Lorraine/Atlanta program with Arts et Metiers was the highest I received from France. It is a very significant amount and it definitely allows me to lighten the burden of my American studies. He wanted to give an opportunity to every gadzart that had and have the ambition to start their career in the US within the top ranked universities of the world. I think this message is a first step to thank him for his help. However, I do believe our best gratitude will be our future success after accessing to these world top universities.
Sébastien Sequeira (Bo 216)
I would like to thank Louis Magne for allowing me and a lot of our fellow “Gadzarts” to live a life-changing experience in the US. Thanks to his grant I was not only able to continue my studies in one of the most prestigious school in the US but also to challenge myself and grow as a person. For that I will be forever grateful.
Grégoire Magdelaine (89ch216)
The Louis Magne scholarship allowed me to fully benefit from my experience in the USA, from a professional, academic and personal point of view. I would like to thank Louis Magne for allowing generations of Gadzarts to have the same experience in a serene way thanks to his financial support.
Laurent Bimont (Li215/GT2018)
Receiving Louis Magne’s grant has allowed me to fund my Master’s degree in the USA. It was a lifetime experience and I will be forever grateful to him for giving me this opportunity. But beyond this, Louis Magne has been a role model in my eyes. As a proud Gadz, seeing this great man so involved in the school for years will forever be inspiring. As an engineer, having worked at Schlumberger in Houston, I also saw the respect people had for the engineer he was. May he rest In Peace.
Oumaïma Makhlouk (Li 215)
I am grateful to Louis Magne for being the symbol of the support of the Arts et Métiers community. Thank you for helping me in the realization of my project: pursuing my studies in the United States.
Hugo Hamon (An217)
Thanks to Louis Magne grant I was able to fulfill my desire to study in the US. This help allowed me to enter Georgia Tech for a MSc in Mechanical Engineering but also to discover the American culture at the same time. I would like to sincerely thank him for his generosity towards young Gadzarts.
Paul CANU (Li216)
In January 2020, I will land in the USA. By following classes in Texas A&M University, I will be able to improve my acknowledge in aeronautics. Besides, I will visit and live in the country that fascinates me. Thanks to Louis Magne grant, I can say this is not a dream anymore. I am extremely grateful to have been a beneficiary of his generosity.
Louis de Moro (Ai 217)
Thanks to Louis Magne grant, I was able to study in one of the most prestigious Universities in the US. I am very grateful to this man who embodies perfectly the values of the Gadzarts. All the alumni from Arts et Métiers have fraternity as their motto. However, Louis Magne gave a real meaning to this word. Even if I never had the chance to meet him, even if we had a 84 years old difference, this man has been a great help to me. I will be forever grateful and will remember him as an example. In the hearts of all the Gadzats he inspired, the legacy remains and continuous throughout generations.
Louis du Chassin (Li216)
Every year AFAM Community Manager spends one week in France on school’s campuses to meet students, faculty and staff members and inform them about AFAM’s activities and our Shasta program.
This time my visit was pleasant and productive and has led me to Atlanta, Paris, Bordeaux and then Aix-en-Provence.
Sunday, Nov. 2, Atlanta
It was not that hot in Atlanta and it was raining (Hotlanta – is the ads you see when you arrive at the airport -referring to climate as well as leisure destination). But a welcome received from our students in this home of Georgia Tech was nice and warm. We went to Nicolas Horde’s (AFAM representative in Atlanta) favorite bar – LadyBird Grove and Mess Hall in Atlanta Beltline’s Eastside for a community brunch.
Most of our members in Atlanta are Georgia Tech students. Georgia Institute of Technology is being for several years one of the most attractive academic destinations for our students in the USA. The conversation around the table was engaging and dealt with different subjects such as Parcours US program, life in Atlanta, Shasta program, to mention a few.
In Atlanta together with Nicolas Horde, Thomas Francois, Tanguy Passini, Alexis Cotterlaz et Hugo Hugo Hamon
Monday, Nov. 3, Paris
During last year AFAM’s off-site, support to gadzarts entrepreneurs was mentioned as one of the directions AFAM will take in the next decade. Thus, I met a few gadzarts entrepreneurs in Paris (and later in Aix-en-Provence) as well as visited the largest startup campus in the world – Station F.
Nicolas Muron, founder of Moonbikes startup incubated at Arts et Métiers incubator was one of the gadzarts entrepreneurs I got acquainted with in Paris.
Moonbikes is making ultra-light electric snow vehicles. Nicolas is currently raising funds to move his business forward and is now looking for an US-based partner linked to the mobility sector.
Photo courtesy of Moonbikes: Nicolas Muron on stage during his startup’s presentation in Chambéry in 2018
I also met Ryan Lober and his partner Antoine Hoarau, co-founders at Fuzzy Logic Robotics. Ryan is one of the rare Americans who studied at Arts et Métiers and AFAM already wrote about him in 2013. Today Ryan is Parisian, founder and CEO of a B2B robotics startup with a mission to democratize industrial robotics by proposing user-friendly human-robot interfaces.
Fuzzy Logic Robotics is incubated at Agoranov, a public Science and Tech incubator based in Paris.
Together with American born and raised Ruth Lied, a new young and dynamic professor of English at Arts et Métiers Lille, I tested a Fuzzy Logic Robotics new software.
Ruth and I have organized several informational sessions with our US-based alumni for Lille students (by the way, Ryan Lober was one of those who kindly agreed to participate in these useful informational sessions). And we are looking for more alumni willing to share their expertise with our young gadz'arts.
Ryan Lober, Ruth Lied, Antoine Hoarau and I at Fuzzy Logic Robotics
Tuesday Nov. 4, Paris
Tuesday, I continued discovering entrepreneurship ecosystem in Paris visiting station F. Station F is the biggest startup incubator in the world. It hosts big corporate entities, accelerators as well as more then 1000 innovative startups.
Arts &Métiers Acceleration (AMA) has also found its place on this unique entrepreneurship campus. I met Joël Saingré, General Manager at AMA and Gaël Buvat, Program Manager at AMA to talk about AFAM and A&M Acceleration presence at Station F.
Sculpture by Jeff Koons behind "Welcome to Station F " sign
Tuesday was also dedicated to meetings with Arts et Métiers staff members. Two main highlights of the day were a meeting on the future of our Shasta internship program and a meeting with Sandra Cologne, in charge of Entrepreneurship and Innovation at Arts et Métiers.
Sandra’s goal is to support students-entrepreneurs helping them succeed in the new PEIE (Parcours Entrepreneurial and Innovation Technologique) cursus open to gadzarts-entrepreneurs at Arts et Métiers.
As to my first meeting – it was dedicated to the future of our main program – Shasta internship program. Together with Audrey Stewart (Director of International and European Development), Daniela Stelmaszyk (in charge of International Mobility), Mickael Rivette (Head of Corporqte Relations) and Jean-Yves Colombel (Career Department at la SOCE) we were looking into how to improve our current internship program and provide our students with more internship opportunities.
Wednesday, Nov. 5, Bordeaux
Campus of Paris is a mandatory passage on AFAM’s road. As to other campuses, every year AFAM Community Manager visits different campuses to present AFAM and Shasta program. This year the campuses of Bordeaux and Aix-en-Provence have been chosen as AFAM’s destinations (Lille and Metz were visited last year).
Bordeaux campus was welcoming and a lot of students assisted at the Shasta presentation.
Workshops' visit accompanied by Frédéric Lalardier was also on my agenda.
I witnessed Rooster’s production. The emblematic animal was being made in the lab at the time of my visit and was intended to be offered to Bordeaux’s Mayor the next day.
Production of the Rooster at Bordeaux campus on November 5th
Bordeaux campus (picture: https://artsetmetiers.fr)
I met I2M laboratory’s director Jean-Christophe Batsale to discuss possible cooperation with American Universities.
I also had a detailed conversation with Valérie PERNOT at students affaires and corporate relations as well as with Catherine GOETZ, Professor, in charge of APE (accompagnement professionnel des étudiants) nationwide.
Catherine GOETZ welcomed the action taken by AFAM as to students’ guidance and preparation in the framework of the Shasta program.
Thursday, Nov. 5, Paris
Thursday was marked by a meeting with parcours US students guided on their way towards graduated studies in the US by Associate professor Michael Deligant and his team. Every year there are more than 30 students joining best American Engineering schools. All of them are considered part of our diverse community once they arrive in the US.
Our parcours US students have always been very active. Last two presidents of West Coast Group – Louis Renaux last year and Mattia Pelissou this year - are both UC Berkeley Graduates and Parcours US students. Our representative in Atlanta Nicolas Horde – is also a former parcours US student.
AFAM is looking forward to more new interesting projects and events co-organized with our young gadzarts.
This time our US parcours students were lucky to meet Charles-André Richard (Li 202), who came to Paris campus to talk about his experience in the US. Back to France this year, Charles-André became co-founder and CTO of Unkle, a startup revolutionizing French Rental Market today.
Charles-André Richard presenting his American journey in front of Parcours US students
Parcours US students
Friday, Nov. 6, Aix-en-Provence
Friday has been spent on Aix-en-Provence campus which as you might know is building a fulfilling partnership with Texas A&M.
I arrived on campus along with Eric Didier (Ch 83), co-founder and COO of Comet. Eric has been living in Boston and then SF Bay Area for 8 years before moving to the sunny Aix-en-Provence area in 2018.
A day started with a very warm welcome and constructive meeting with a campus Director – Philippe Collot.
By 11 am an amphitheater was already full with 1 and 2nd year students interested in AFAM, Shasta internship program and Eric’s testimony about his American journey.
Eric Didier in front of Aix-en-Provence's first and second year students
Photo: Aix-en-Provence students
The Shasta meeting followed by a working lunch with Philippe Collot, Laurent Barralier, (Professor at MSMP laboratory), Regis Kubler (Associate Professor) and Laurence Combarieu (Deputy Director at MSMP laboratory).
Two meetings occurred in Aix were in line with a new entrepreneurship direction AFAM took.
I met Benjamin Tardieu (Ai 208) whose entrepreneurship trip AFAM has been following for a little while now. Benjamin is a Founder and CEO of GetBackSports, a sports tech startup.
Benjamin was able to take part in several individual sessions with Aix students together with me sharing his experience and encouraging students to get a professional experience abroad. Benjamin himself spent a year working in the United States before starting his entrepreneurship adventure.
Benjamin Tardieu wearing GetBack T-shirt (photo by William Cannarella)
The second meeting was a complete surprise (very pleasant too). I met a COO of Sikiio, Nicolas Ract (Ai 92). Sikiio offers a multisensory experience in a well-being area. Sikiio is on the road now travelling through France and showing its innovative well-being concept.
If you see a pink truck under your window, come say hello to Nicolas and take a moment to sit in the magic Sikiio chair to forget about all your worries and problems.
Sikiio trailer on Aix-en-Provence campus
My week in France was full of interesting meetings and discussions and hopefully, AFAM will have even more exciting projects on the horizon and we will be able to provide our students and alumni with more help and support in their American journey.
See you next year!
Your AFAM Community Manager