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 Karim Boudah (Cl 91) is our next AFAM member profile.
Thank you Karim for sharing with us!
1. Tell us about your career path and area of expertise today. How did it come about?
I graduated from Arts & Metiers (Cl191) in 1994 and from Supelec (1996), spent about one year in the French Army and then got hired by Schlumberger in 1997. I spent two years designing electronics for oilfield tools used in completion and testing services. Then I got transferred in Houston Texas early 2000. During five years in Houston, I designed oilfield equipments for the Wireline market. That was a very enriching job but at the same time very challenging. I was traveling regularly in many countries and had to design electronics/software for new equipments. In 2002, I started a MBA from Rice University while working, and graduated in 2004. I read more than 70 books in business and read hundreds of business cases. I left Schlumberger in 2005 to start a business with an associate. In October 2005, we incorporated Lumen Digital Corp. We engaged in designing, manufacturing and marketing outdoor LED signs. We were the only manufacturer in Houston. Outdoor LED signs are like big outdoor TV used for stadium or outdoor advertising. I do remember our first client bringing a check of $40k. That was a nice feeling. While we were enjoying growth, in 2007, the economic crisis hit directly our market. Clients were no longer buying. To make matter worse, products from China were coming at pricing lower than our cost. The crisis was so severe that all our neighbors went bankrupted. We then shifted market and strived even during this bad time. We let the market drive us. We had a strong demand for electronics/firmware/software design services. We won regularly contracts in different industries. In 2010 we won a military contract. In 2011, we got out of the LED sign business and expanded further in the design market.
2. What do you do every day at work? How does being a Gadz’Arts help you in your everyday tasks and team management?
What we do every day is simple. We design electronic boards, firmware and software. We enjoy helping clients solve very challenging problems.
As a principal manager of Lumen Digital Corp, I deal on a daily basis with clients, banks and employees. I oversee the money as well.
I like the challenge of selling. This is not really a science. This is an Art.
Being a Gadz’Arts helped me in different ways. I have a lot of respect for any individual, whatever origin, culture, religion, color, gender and education of the person. This is important because nothing big can be achieved without teamwork. Teams today are multi-cultural. Tolerance is an important factor of leading.
As a company manager, we bear a responsibility towards the community. Giving jobs to people is important to us. We hire people for the long term. We do not consider people as asset, but as persons, key contributors to our future company success.
3. How did you come to the US- why and when? How is your work life different than in France?
I came to the US with Schlumberger through an internal transfer from Schlumberger Clamart to Schlumberger Houston with a visa L1B.
Coming to the US and doing a MBA was a dream. Starting a business in the US was another dream.
Work in the US is more relax. There is less pressure and more opportunities. People make more money too.
4. What is the best advice someone ever gave you? Why?
I really hate to give advice because there is not really one way of doing things in life. Each person can achieve success with his/her own way.
I would just give few things that I am considering important.
It is important to do what you like and what you are good at and what you can make sustainable money out of.
The second important thing is to know what you want to be and know what you want to do in the long term.
The third important thing is to find at one point a balance between work and personal life. This is the key for the long term happiness.
5. What is one favorite way to spend your free time (hobbies, weekend activities)?
I like fishing, and practicing a little of sport. I am a former basketball player and marathon runner. I also practiced Karate for several years. Now, I am practice sport moderately such as bicycle.
Thank you again for sharing your experience and thoughts on life in the USA for Gadz'Arts! AFAM is grateful for your support.