Arts et Métiers Alumni interview with AFAM Detroit representative, Cl. 189 alumnus Xavier Ovize
- Tell us about your career path and area of expertise today. How did it come about?
I am a Cl. 189 alumnus. After graduating from Arts et Métiers, I have been working in France for 3 years for Hutchinson, a global leader in vibration control, fluid management and sealing technologies.
In 1995, I arrived in Michigan to develop one of the business divisions in the US. I became business development manager at Hutchinson Paulstra. It was a tremendous change and a big adventure as in France I was a part of a big group (30 000 people) and when I came to the US, I was by myself and there was everything to do. After a few years developing Paulstra in the US, I came back to France (Paris), stayed for 1.5 year but really wanted to get back to my work in the US. When I did so, I came back to Michigan as North America Managing Director for Hutchinson Belt Drive Systems and was doing this job for 10 years.
4 years ago, I became a CEO of AdduXi Inc, a global family-owned business that work on precision plastic parts for the automotive industry.
- What do you do every day at work? How does being a Gadz’Arts help you in your everyday tasks and team management?
It is difficult to describe in a few words what a CEO job is about. Every day is different. It is a bit of everything: industrial aspects, finance, management, sales development, etc.
Being a gadz’arts had been of great help back in the 90s when I first arrived in the US to start a business and needed to do everything by myself. Gadz’arts have been prepared to be polyvalent and self-taught. The gadz’arts culture makes you ready for very versatile professional duties with an open mind, which is very important to develop a career.
- How is your work life different than in France?
Work culture in the US and in France are very different: I feel like in the US, the work culture more open and positive. It is like the glass is half full in the US and half empty in Europe (laughing). Another thing is that you can keep your cultural identity. Acceptance and respect of other cultures, promotion of cultural diversity shaped this country.
- What is the best advice you can give to young gadz’arts especially those who plan to go to the US to study or for an internship?
I would say: be intellectually curious and open to diversity. Like Antoine de Saint-Exupéry said: "Si tu diffères de moi, mon frère, loin de me léser, tu m'enrichis". This is the motto of my Cluny promotion and it inspired me my whole life.
- What is one favorite way to spend your free time (hobbies, weekend activities)?
I do not have a lot of free time (laughing). But when I do, I love to play the piano and travel. I have visited 47 states out of 50 in the US and now when I have an opportunity, I explore other places in the world.
Thank you again for sharing your experience and thoughts on life in the USA for Gadz'Arts! AFAM is grateful for your support.