Vincent Lebeau, composite specialist and manager for Safran Engineering Services
It is possible to be both an expert in a technical field and a team leader. In any case, at Safran Engineering Services, it is! To prove it, we met with Vincent Lebeau, Head of Design Activities for the mechanical line on the Saclay site.
Vincent, can you tell us about your career path?
V.L: After earning my BTS certification in industrial product design, I joined a service company, ECM, where I worked for five years. I was assigned to composite part design for the automobile and, later, the aeronautical sector. In other words, I was an industrial designer. I collaborated with Dassault Aviation and also with Safran Nacelles on the composite Internal Fixed Structure (IFS) of the A380’s nacelles. I wanted to progress my career while working on my most recent assignment, but I did not have the opportunity to. As such, I started to look elsewhere. In 2010, I arrived at Safran Engineering Services.
What position were you hired for at Safran Engineering Services?
V.L: Technical designer. My goal was to develop composite part design activities, a new expertise that the company was seeking to obtain. I was motivated by this challenge and clear possibilities to evolve. We began to work for other companies in the Group, Safran Landing Systems and Safran Nacelles. For example, I participated in the landing gear part development, with the associated goal of optimizing design processes and methods to quickly handle modifications. I also collaborated on the design of Silvercrest’s Fan Cowl Doors, panels that protect the engine. Over time, we began to offer our services for more complex projects, and I became part of a small three-person team.
How have your responsibilities changed?
V.L: As I mentioned, I was in charge of increasingly complex and wide-ranging projects. I became project manager for the Safran Nacelles account and the COMAC contract, and worked towards designing the nacelle’s thrust reverser parts. Planning, client relations, and steering of a cross-functional team all became part of my composite part design activities. I also began managing the processing portion. Since I was not a specialist, I mainly concentrated on the steering aspect, which I loved! Little by little, other composite part projects, and later metallic projects, became part of my workload. My role had really taken off. Since my responsibilities and activities had evolved, I asked for manager status, which I obtained in 2017.
What do you do today?
V.L: I am the head of design and composite activities. I manage the design of metallic and composite parts. This role was essential to me becoming a manager. I had acquired both industry experience and a supervisory role. Several months ago, I made a mobility request within the group, and the response was positive! In April, I joined Safran Systèmes Aerostructure, another group entity and subsidiary of Safran Nacelles. My career is progressing, while remaining on the same Safran Paris Saclay site.
What memories to you have of your years at Safran Engineering Services?
V.L: Only good ones! I went from specialist composite technician to project manager. I managed teams. When I became a manager, I was able to take on more responsibility in an advanced position requiring a Master’s-level qualification (bac+5). My new position of Technical Manager suggests ambitious new challenges. There will be cross-functional management, lots of project management and client relations. My experience at Safran Engineering Services will be very useful in these three fields. Also, I never got bored. Each day, I had a new set of challenges to resolve. As we say here: “No stress, no fun!”
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