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: