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 Jérôme Clauzel (Cl 90) is our next AFAM member profile.
Thank you, Jérôme, for sharing with us!

1. Tell us about your career path and area of expertise today. How did it come about?

As part of Cluny 1990 promotion, I spent two unforgettable years in the abbey where very strong memories and fraternity was created.
Then I started my career in Valeo, a tier 1 vendor of the automotive industry, in continuation of my ENSAM end of year projects in R&D department around blower and cars heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC). I enjoyed team work and projects realization around Xsara, Xantia and Berlingo cars then Volvo/Mack trucks from scratch to industrialization of validated solution, moving from R&D department to world class automotive manufacturing.
Then, to grow a family in Paris and around, this is not always very easy, so we finally took the decision to move to Burgundy with an opportunity in Smart Connectors industry at ITT Cannon (for cars, spatials, phones, cards reader, pharmaceutics applications) and benefit my experience of engineering methodology enlarged to quality process.
Finally, in perspective to move from an engineering activity to a plant director opportunity, I joined my current company initially named Oberthur and changed to Idemia after merging with Morpho in September 2017.
After a few years of experience in this banking and loyalty cards activity, I took the direction of Dijon Service Center (leader of French bank cards issuers) before to move to similar activity in US, close to Washington DC in Virginia, but with more than 3 time the size and volumes due to EMV migration.
These 24 years of experience in engineering in 3 different sectors with very technical mass production products, allow me to evolve from leading multi-skills team and process to leading factory of 200 to 400 people in two different cultural and business environments.

2. What do you do every day at work? How does being a Gadz'Arts help you in your everyday tasks and team management?

As a plant director, my journey is all about :
" challenge production team to improve their costs and processes
" guarantee deliveries in time and with quality to our end customers
" coordinate different support services departments to solved issues
" define strategic projects for the future
" take care about employee safety and empowerment
" communicate and cascade company strategic view
" decide about resources adjustment and investments to support daily activities and continuous improvements
" communicate with customers and present them all our skills and knowledge
" etc…

Being a Gadz'Arts helps me to better integrate the human factor as part of the decision and be close to people from operators to top management.
It allows me also to discuss with all the different departments and understand their concerns in order to take the right decision thanks to wide and generic skills.

3. How did you come to the US- why and when? How is your work life different than in France?

Arriving in April 2016 prior to my family, it allowed me to integrate the new constraints of my jobs and took the time to know them. I spent time to discover a new culture and way to work, explore where to live to prepare the best integration of my family in the US system.

The main difference is the dedication of people to change without any negative and long discussion. Be careful not to raise an idea too fast if you want to discuss it because it could be implemented within 24 hours. In France, we usually discussed for months before to go ahead, most of the time in the right direction but defining so many rules that it kills creativity.
Common sense, think positive and having funs are the main drivers even if it should be better balanced all along the year and with less excess.

4. What is the best advice someone ever gave you? Why?

The best advice that could be felt as very demagogue but finally credible when you see your boss practicing that with his team and sometimes customers with natural is "Have fun!".
You can be the best technician or sales guy with the most profitable activity, if you don't have fun in your job, you will not enjoy every day of your life and will not have a lot of things to share with your gran children.
Having fun doesn't mean you are not serious and professional.
It could be very contagious and create virtuous circle, so try it!

5. What is one favorite way to spend your free time (hobbies, weekend activities)?

Discover through children activities and parents-friends the American culture and way of life. Opportunities also for us to share our culture and challenge theirs.
Ride bicycle every Sunday morning around in DC where you will be surprised to follow rivers and trails like in the middle of French forest but here you will be in fact in DC downtown.

Thank you again for sharing your experience and thoughts on life in the USA for Gadz'Arts! AFAM is grateful for your support.