How did you get to where you are today?
I started my career as an engineer in the 80s, working in the aerospace industry and classical engineering roles for more
than 25 years. This included many years working with aviation and aerospace companies in senior roles, including Senior Vice President at AIRBUS and Chief Executive Officer at Aeroconseil. In 2010, I moved into an American consulting company specialising in aerospace, working for companies such as Seabury Group. Early 2014, I joined a start-up consulting company and eventually set up my own consulting business, Cognitive Companions, in 2017.
It was in these consulting roles, and my current role as CEO of Cognitive Companions, that I started interacting with some of the great minds at Naval Group. Our company specialises in numerical solutions for big companies, striving to regenerate advisory methods in connection with emerging cognitive technologies. Our consultants include everything from engineers, designers, business managers, entrepreneurs and data scientists.
What is your current role in FSP?
As a contractor I started working for Naval Group in 2017 on various projects, before moving to full time in mid-2018 to work on the FSP. I became the ICT sub-program director supporting the leadership team on driving forward the development of the submarines. My team works to support the Naval Group engineers in developing the tools and software required for the construction of the submarines. This can be anything from tools for calculation, simulation or design of the vessels. The biggest problems of a project of this scale are the ones you haven’t seen yet, so my role requires us to understand the ICT and software needs before a problem arises.
What is the main project you are working on at the moment?
We are currently working with Dassault Systems to provide a tool made specifically for the engineers to design the submarines. This will be rolled out in early 2021, so we are very excited for this.
We are working hard to ensure all the tools we are working on are ready to go for the next basic design phase. Over the next few months, this will include conducting training with the staff who will use the tool and carrying out full-scale testing. We are also developing tools to support Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), which essentially is a type of software to manage day-to-day business activities such as finance, procurement, project management, compliance and ultimately the shipyard production flow.
Any highlights you would like to share?
A special moment for me was presenting to the Commonwealth last year the technical plans we had been working on for over 12 months. After a very intense period for the team in the lead up to the presentation, the response from the Commonwealth was incredibly positive, and I was so proud of our efforts. It really gave me the drive to continue creating great work. The current pandemic has been a stressful situation for many; however, it’s created a great sense of intimacy with those I work closely with. It has been incredible to see how the Steering Committee and my team have come together to support one another and the renewed sense of teamwork this brings. I will remember this time for many decades to come, knowing that our teams delivered above and beyond during this time and can navigate a crisis such as this.