AFAM Governance

  • AFAM is a 501 (c) (3) non profit organization whose Tax ID # is 26-2274822 registered in the State of California
  • AFAM is governed by a volunteer board of directors elected by AFAM contributors in good standing
  • By policy, AFAM is committed to preserving the confidentiality of all personal information it keeps about its members

  • Since June 2020 AFAM Operations Committee has been created to help the organization successfully achieve all set goals
  • AFAM also has Shasta and Sequoia committees

Notable Alumni, Board Members, Regional Representatives, Members of AFAM Committees 2023

xwartelle Xavier Wartelle
CEO since June 2020, Board Member and Co-Founder since 2007, Operations Committee Member (Entrepreneurship)

Hi I am Xavier! I came to Silicon Valley 25 years ago. I became impassioned by tech start-ups and I launched 6 startups myself resulting in 4 acquisitions. I also co-founded the French Tech Hub and big bang factory, two startup accelerators. I love new ventures and entrepreneurs.  Please feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn.

Jean Pommier

Jean Pommier
CFO since June 2023, Board Member since 2017, Operations Committee Member

I am an An 183 alum and have lived in Silicon Valley since 1998. In addition to Paris Tech's Mechanical Engineering degree, I got a second MSc in Software Engineering and Artificial Intelligence and worked in this field since 1987 when I joined ILOG upon its creation in France and until its acquisition by IBM 22 years later. I led ILOG's Services organization for many years and, at IBM, I'm a Distinguished Engineer and CTO for our Digital Business Automation services business. Beyond work I call running my second job, focusing mostly on ultra marathon trail running nowadays and actively blogging about it. You can also find me on LinkedIn.

Yarith Phay

Yarith Phay
Secretary and Board Member since June 2020, Operations Committee Member (AFAM Collaboration Tools)

Hi, my name is Yarith! I am a Bo191 alum and live in the San Francisco Bay Area. I came here from London in 2001 and somehow could not leave this beautiful place. 

After Arts et Metiers, I worked in France, the United Kingdom and in the US. I currently lead engineering teams at WhiteHat Security. In my spare time, I like to give back to my community and have been involved with a number of non-profits. For instance, my wife and I had, a few years ago, the opportunity to help and co-found EFBA, a local non-profit association providing French after school programs. I’d like now to put that experience and my motivation to help AFAM build a strong Gadz’Arts brand and community here in the USA. 

Benhamou_Global_Ventures Eric Benhamou
Co-founder, President 2007-2020, President Emeritus

Hi, I’m Eric! I am an Aix 72 alum. I arrived in the US in 1976. I graduated in 1977 from Stanford's School of Engineering and pursued a career in the IT industry in Silicon Valley. I was fortunate to create, grow and lead several successful IT companies such as Bridge Communications, 3Com and Palm. I now serve on several public company boards and allocate the rest of my time between my Venture Capital Fund Benhamou Global Ventures, LLC, the INSEAD global business school in Fontainebleau and the IDC in Herzeliya where I am a visiting professor, and of course AFAM.
tferre Thomas Ferré
Secretary 2007-2020, Co-founder, Board Member since 2007

Hi, I’m Thomas! I am a Bo 200 alum, living in Washington DC, born in NYC and raised in France who came back to the USA to graduate from University of Michigan for a MSc in Civil engineering. I currently head the Private Equity portfolio at Microvest Fund, and invest in companies dedicated to social impact and financial inclusion for the poor around the world. I spent most of my career in Private equity investing across the globe. I also founded TOMI OTEE a 100% sustainable apparel company and winner of the 2011 NY FAE Award, and am an investor in and advisor to a diverse portfolio of startups from tech to farming.
jlnauleau Jean Luc Nauleau
Board Member since 2007

Hi I’m Jean-Luc! I have lived in the U.S for over twenty years; I graduated from Santa Clara in 1987 and started my career as a software engineer for Plessey Semi-conductor. I founded Integration Associates in 1991, a semi-conductor startup, acquired by Silicon Labs in July 2008.
Audrey Stewart Audrey Stewart
Board Member & Arts et Métiers Representative since 2010

Hi, I’m Audrey. I am Director for International and European Development at Arts et Métiers. I graduated from the University of Strathclyde Business School in 1991 and joined Arts et Métiers ParisTech in 2007, first in the Lille campus, and then in 2010, in the head office. I am also a representative of the CDEFI (Conference of Directors of Engineering Schools) in Americas group in charge of defining the international strategy for research, innovation and higher education for the Ministry of Education, Higher Education and Research; and I am an elected member of the academic committee of INSA Val de Loire. You may connect with me via LinkedIn.
 Eric Didier Nicolas Horde (Ai 214)
Board Member since 2018, West Coast Group zident since 2023, Operations Committee Member (Shasta and Sequoia programs)

Hi, I'm Nicolas, an Ai 214 alumnus. I am a former representative in Atlanta and a West Coast group president since 2023. Do not hesitate to connect with me on LinkedIn.
Mattia Pelissou

Mattia Pelissou (Li 216)

Former West Coast Group President

Hi all, I’m Mattia, Lille 2016 alumnus. I moved to the San Francisco Bay area in 2018 to study at UC Berkeley. Now working as a robotics engineer in San Francisco, I am a strong advocate of AFAM’s mission. Shoot me a message if you are ever in San Francisco. You can contact me via LinkedIn

Marc Amblard Marc Amblard
Board Member since 2017 and former CFO June 2018 - June 2023

Hi, I am Marc! A Cluny ’84 alumn, I first came to work in the US in 1988 and received my MBA from U. of Michigan in 1992. I spent 25+ years in the auto and rail industries between France and the US, working at PSA, Valeo, Renault and Alstom before becoming CEO at EFQM. I moved to Silicon Valley in Feb 2017 where I manage Orsay Consulting, a firm focused on electric, autonomous, connected and shared mobility. I advise corporate clients as well as startups on matters related to the future of mobility. More on my LinkedIn profile

Valerie Prulhiere Valérie Prulhière
Board Member, SOCE Representative since 2022

Hello, My name is Valerie, I’m a Li 187 Alumna and I joined the AFAM board through my election as VP in charge of international subjects for Arts et Métiers Alumni which we call “La Soce”.

Through my career, I have worked in different industries: Aerospace, Oil & Gaz and also Insurance with a focus on industrial risks. I spend 9 years in Dallas with my husband and three children from 2008 to 2017. Coming back to France, I decided to use the best of both French and US educational systems and became a professional coach and college counselor. My goal is now to help young people to believe in themselves and choose the best academical paths to become who they want.

Louis Renaux Louis Renaux
Former Board Member 2018- 2023

Hi, I am Louis, Cluny 216. I just moved to California for the Master of Engineering at UC Berkeley in Electrical Engineering & Computer Science. I am currently building up a seminar to foster tighter links between French and US companies. I also am the president of the West Coast Alumni Group so please contact me if you want to create events in the Bay Area. Don't hesitate to connect with me on LinkedIn.

Eric Tran

Eric Tran
Board Member since 2015, Central Group President

Hi, I'm Eric, Chalons 94. I have been in the oil & gas business for almost 20 years. At first in the field of quality services, I spent some time in Scotland then quickly move to Houston, Texas for a couple of years. I then switched to UK to join an exciting subsea project for Total for 4 years. I am now back to Houston at Shell as Sr Quality Management Engineer, providing quality assurance expertise, especially on capping equipments for subsea-well emergency response in case of an event similar to the BP Macondo accident.

Charles Dehelly

Charles Dehelly
Board Member since June 2020

Charles Dehelly (Ch170), Arts et Métiers Foundation President since 2020. Charles managed international companies. In 1998 he became the CEO of Thomson. At the end of 2008 he joined as a Deputy Director-General, Atos Origin, a European leader in the processing of high volume electronic transactions. Charles Dehelly is also a vice president  of International Esports Federation (IESF) and leads of one of Arts et Metiers’ Think Tank working groups.


Louis Castex
Board Member since 2016 

Hi, I'm Louis, an INSA Toulouse alum. I received my PhD in Physics in 1987 from the University of Bordeaux. I was nominated director of the Arts et Métiers Campus of Aix-en-Provence in 1991 for 5 years, then I took the direction of the campus of Paris for the following 5 years. Next I became the director of INSA Toulouse until 2009. Since 2012, I'm the scientifique advisor of the Arts et Métiers Foundation, the academic advisor of the president of the Société des Ingénieurs Arts et Métiers and task manager for the General Director of Arts et Métiers Paristech. You may contact me on LinkedIn!


Aurore Prevot
Board Member since 2018, former US Representative 2014-2017

I joined AFAM in 2014 as representative, after coming to the US, with my family. As an alumnus from Arts et Métiers ParisTech, I have always sought to play an integral role in the community, and was thrilled to contribute over the years in building the Arts et Métiers in the US. Seeing the students and alumni succeed and thrive in the US has been an incredible source of motivation and accomplishment.

Jean Baptist Commans

Jean-Baptiste Commans
Former Board Member 2017-2023 and former East Coast Group president

Hi, I am Jean-Baptiste! A , Li 203 alumnus, I moved to New York in 2015 as a strategy consultant with the Boston Consulting Group, specializing in Investment Banking Strategy and Risk Management. I have spent my career working with financial institutions. I started as a financial mathematician, for Aon and Credit Foncier de France, where I headed the pricing department.
I worked for 5 years in Paris, 3 years in London and now New-York. Do not hesitate to contact me via email or LinkedIn.

Jean Baptist Commans

Sacha Ghebali ( Bo 211)
Board Member since 2020, East Coast Group President, Operations Committee Member (Events)

Hello, I’m Sacha!  A Bo211 alumnus, I came to NYC in 2019 to build a FinTech start-up in financial inclusion.  Prior to this, I moved to Boston to study Finance at MIT and received a PhD in Aeronautics from Imperial College in London where I spent 4 years, two of which leading the UK Alumni Chapter.  I started my entrepreneurial journey building AI software for aerospace and automotive industries and am now working in crypto finance at a seed-stage startup.  Today I am East Coast Group Zident, taking over after my predecessor J.-B. Commans.  Do not hesitate to connect with me via email or LinkedIn, and please shoot me a message should you come to NYC.


Robert Stelly
Member of Shasta Committee since 2023

Hello, I am Robert, Châlons 97. Early 2000’s, I started working in the railway industry as buyer engineer for a Canadian company, later I was offered to leading projects of maintenance and construction of bogies for train circulating in China and in the UK. Since 2007, I took various positions in a French company that is serving the renewable and oil & gas industries with extensive collaborations with countries in East Asia, South-East Asia and Middle East. In 2019, I was offered to be based in Houston leading capex projects for the Louisiana and Ohio plants. In few words, I enjoy managing projects from scratch or taking over projects that made a bad start ideally in a multi-cultural environment. I am now pleased to offer this experience to support students and young engineers who are willing to start their carrier path with an amazing experience abroad.




Corentin Lazarus (Me 209)
Member of the Shasta Committee since 2019

Hello, I'm Corentin, I moved to the US in 2011 to earn a MSc in Industrial Engineering from Georgia Tech. I worked for 6+ years in the Oil & Gas industry and transitioned in 2019 to the Aerospace industry, taking on new challenges with Blue Origin on the launch system of the New Glenn rocket. Having been a mentor for AFAM and helped Arts et Metiers students looking for internships, I decided to be further involved and have joined the Shasta program committee, whose mission is to promote internships for Arts et Metiers students in the US. I am always happy to connect with fellow alum on LinkedIn, so don't hesitate to reach out!

 Michel Vulpillat

Michel Vulpillat (Ch 83)
Sourthern California AFAM representative and member of the Operations Committee since 2021

Hello, I started my career in the motosport and automotive development industry involved both with Peugeot and Renault.
Later I had an opportunity to come to the USA to start up a video game company and subsequently to do the same in Japan.
Over the years as part of an international group, leader in video games, I was involved in strategic management and directorship of many private and public companies, in the USA (NASDAQ), Europe (Euronext) and Asia. My focus was multi cultural operation, merger and acquisition, operational and global strategy structure.
I also consulted for various private companies desiring to expand to such markets.
I have now lived in Los Angeles for over 30 years and currently volunteer in innovation and engineering at the National Museum of the Surface Navy.


Patrice Brossard (Bo 95)
DG Amériques and Member of the Operations Committee since 2020


Albina Patou-Chebykina
US Community Manager since 2018, Operations Committee Member

Hello, I am Albina Patou-Chebykina. Born and raised in Russia, I fell in love with French culture and French language when I was a teenager. This led me to study in France, first at the Sorbonne Nouvelle and then at the business school ISEE where I graduated in International Affairs. I worked in Paris and in Moscow doing marketing and public relations prior to arriving to the
United States in 2011. Today I am excited to join the AFAM team. You can contact me via email or Linkedin.