Marie Roussel relishes a challenge or a complex project. From the Neuchâtel tunnel to the Brussels tramway, she gives us an enthusiastic run-down of her career.
Tell us about your university studies and career path to date.
I graduated from INSA (French national institute of applied sciences) in Lyon, specialising in mechanics and automated control systems.
I have been working at Mobility for nearly 30 years. During that time, I have worked in many different roles, from design engineer to technical project leader, and then systems project leader, design office manager and project manager. My days are so busy and varied that I haven't noticed the time go by!
I have taken part in many projects, firstly in industry and then in infrastructure. Three in particular stand out for me, as they were complex projects and real adventures in working as part of a multi-disciplinary team.
In 1992, I was Technical Project Leader for the first-generation instrumentation and control system in the Neuchâtel tunnel. We had a major challenge to meet, as the tunnel was to open in six months.
From 2002 to 2007, I worked as Systems Project Leader on the Clermont-Ferrand tramway, for which Mobility was responsible for the overhead contact line, traction energy and rail signalling, within a consortium of contractors. I followed the project through from start to finish, from the preliminary outline to commissioning, and then follow-up during the guarantee period.
In 2014 and 2015, I was Systems Project Leader on the project to redevelop the T3 tram line to serve Lyon's new stadium. I was involved in the changeover from the existing intersection barrier management system to the new system, which enables improvements to traffic flow and safety along the entire line.
In 2016, I joined the Urban Rail business unit as a Project Leader, and am now responsible for the preparation of proposals and projects.
Mobility is very much oriented towards international markets. Were you not tempted by the possibility of working abroad?
I have three children and my husband also has a career, which held me back from working abroad. Nevertheless, I have worked on several projects in Switzerland and a few more distant assignments on a one-off basis, including a project in South Carolina, USA, for a French tyre manufacturer, and another in South Korea to supply catenary equipment for the high-speed railway line. I am working on an export project right now: a railway signalling safety instrumentation and control system for the tramway depot in Brussels!
What do you enjoy most about your job?
The dynamism and complexity of our projects, and the search for solutions: that's what has me leaping out of bed in the mornings! Working on public transport infrastructure means that the work is not only interesting, but also useful.
And, on every new project, the interpersonal and cultural aspects are very rewarding.
You are un female engineer working in a male-dominated environment. What advice would you give to female students and recent graduates?
I would tell them to throw out any preconceived ideas about gender: there are no obstacles, you just have to go for it! This is the message that I try to convey within Capital Filles, an association that puts female high school students in touch with professional women who act as mentors.