After eight years in the Middle East, Antoine Darnault moved to Lyon and joined Mobility as a project leader in 2016. Already, he is ready and raring to set off for new adventures abroad!
Tell us about your university studies and career path to date.
I graduated from Supélec, a leading French engineering school, in 2007, and then went to Qatar for a year and a half under the VIE (international voluntary business placement) scheme with Areva T&D. I was responsible for telecommunication and SCADA (supervisory control and data acquisition) projects.
In 2009, I joined Cegelec Oil & Gas. Initially, working from Paris, I was involved in the design and purchasing phases for a project to redesign and replace the instrumentation and control system for the Abidjan refinery in Côte d’Ivoire. I then returned to Qatar, where I was responsible for coordinating two projects: the construction of a new explosion-proof control room and the replacement of the turbine and compressor control systems for two natural gas production units. As the Project Control Manager, I worked in tandem with the project leader and was particularly involved in the planning, budget management and subcontractor follow-up aspects.
After a short spell as a Proposal Manager in France in 2012, I then spent three years in Abu Dhabi working on the installation of a new gas-fired thermal power plant on an offshore island.
You joined Mobility on your return to France.
That's right. In 2016, I came back to France and joined Mobility's Roads & Tunnels department. It seems that the Middle East is a recurring theme in my career, as I am now responsible for the contractual administration of a Qatari project to install the ventilation system in the underground sections of the Lusail tramway. In parallel, I am working on the costings for a relamping project in Switzerland, and on equipment lots for the Fréjus tunnel.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
Working with people from different teams, from the design staff to worksite personnel and, of course, the support staff, subcontractors and customers: I enjoy this wealth of interaction with others. The role of project leader also provides a global and comprehensive view of a project and its various phases.
My job calls for a range of skills as an assignment evolves, and I enjoy the adrenalin rush that this brings each day. I would like to pursue project management further and eventually manage some major projects.
Your international profile means that you followed a special training course at Mobility. Can you tell us about this?
Along with eight other employees, I am on the PLIM (Programme Learning Integration Mobility) programme. This is an accelerated training scheme designed to share Mobility's capabilities and know-how. The programme is aimed at people who want to go and work abroad. It offers us the tools that we need to represent Mobility internationally: a coat of Mobility polish!
So are you thinking of heading abroad again?
Yes, in a year or two. In the Middle East, I worked a lot with Indians, Filipinos, Lebanese, Egyptians, and more. Working in a multicultural context, and being confronted with different ways of thinking, is an extremely stimulating and rewarding experience.
But for the moment, I am making the most of life in Lyon, with its gastronomy and plenty of walking in the surrounding countryside!