"Within Safran's various entities, there are many ways to practice one's profession."
As Safran Engineering Services recruits more and more in the automotive industry in Paris area, Gaël Zagrodnik, a 34-year-old engineer, spoke about how in three years he became the manager of an ambitious, innovative program aiming to develop autonomous vehicles.
A Rapid Transformation
Gaël Zagrodnik earned his degree at the ECE Paris Graduate School of Engineering with a specialization in Embedded Systems, and joined Safran Engineering Services three years ago. "Before I worked at Safran, I spent almost ten years in a company in project management services with a specialization in consulting and engineering. From validating to developing and then designing software, I then moved to project management while still working in the aerospace industry," he explained. In May 2014, he was recruited by Safran Engineering Services for the Operations Manager position at the Villaroche site. "I acted as an intermediary for department heads at the Safran Aircraft Engines site. I managed more than ten project teams in the Applications & Systems department for the Control System and Advanced Projects departments. I worked on ambitious engine programs such as Leap, Silvercrest and Sam146, and oversaw testing, research and development—activities that focus on innovation."
From Aerospace to Automobiles
Six months ago, Gaël Zagrodnik switched sides. After two and a half years at Villaroche, Safran Engineering Services offered him the chance to evolve in a new industry. He would be able to put his expertise in embedded systems to good use. "Today, I am in charge of a program that we are co-leading for PSA. It involves defining and establishing their first marketable autonomous vehicle system, planned to be road-ready by 2020," he explained. How did an aerospace specialist come to work with a French automotive giant? "Aerospace manufacturers have always understood the idea of responsibility. In the automotive industry and with the development of autonomous vehicles, in the event of a problem, responsibility shifts from the driver to the manufacturer. It's an entirely new paradigm to grasp." In addition to Safran Engineering Services' history in the automotive industry, its ability to run large programs and excellence in managing responsibility brings added value to the company's offerings.
Evolving in a Major Industrial Group
Working alongside Gaël Zagrodnik, the engineers at Safran Engineering Services collaborate with experts at Safran Electronics & Defense on algorithms, technical functions and the design of this new autonomous vehicle system. "They proposed an outstanding challenge to me," he explained. "I love the relationship I am building with the client and the Safran teams. My mission's innovation and technical challenges also motivate me." As for his career prospects at Safran, Gaël sees them clearly: "At the moment, I am fascinated by what I do, but I see myself moving up to management or shifting to corporate responsibility. We are fortunate to be a part of a major industrial group like Safran that gives us pathways to new industries and professions. And what's more, within the group's various entities there are many ways to practice one's profession!"