An expert is a man who has made all the mistakes
which can be made, in a very narrow field
I was born in October 1973, in Strasbourg, France. I have witnessed the birth of personnal computing, video gaming, and internet. I am an entrepreneur; fond of Internet & new technologies; martial arts; muscle cars; gadgets of all sort; games; books; movies; music; cigars, food, good beers & wines, and fine spirits. I enjoy cracking jokes, especially in tense situations, and I don't like people who don't respect people, unfair situations, lack of commitment and lack of attention to the detail. I divorced in 2012, and I have the most fantastic boy, Gabriel, aged twelve.
When I was 16, my first work experience was canning pickles as a summer job for a small local factory (Alelor). It was an experience I will never forget, and workers who do those hard jobs have my utmost respect, because it is all but easy!
I graduated in 1992 in Mathematics & Physics before attending university for a couple of years (English & American Civilization; Musicology; Mathematics & Computer Science), and discovered the fantastic universe of students societies. I became President of the Musicology Students Society for two terms; Vice-President of the General Students Society of Strasbourg for two terms; and was elected at the Strasbourg University Council for a two years term.
I got my first "real" job right after graduation. I started as a Computer Salesman in a large Rond-Point hypermarket, where I rapidly got promoted to be in charge of the video-games area. I loved the challenge of having a full-time job, while attending university.
I then found a job as a Pre-Sales Engineer in a small high-tech subsidiary of an american firm, where I participated to the French launch of the first CD writers (Pinnacle Micro RDC1000) before launching their Musical Software & Hardware department. I already knew I had the entrepreneur virus...
I made my first dip in the startup world in 1995, when I joined Gehol (Generation Holography). The company built the first holographic table eastern France; created original holographic works; and sold a vast variety of licensed holographic products. This was also my first experience in Business Development, and I positioned the brand within the large retail space in the region.
In 1996, I joined a large DIY brand, Leroy Merlin, as Logistics Manager in charge of three of the major areas for their largest store in the Strasbourg. Although I was looking to pursue a career in the retail industry at that time, the job quickly became boring and repetitive, and the perspectives of climbing up the ladder were not making up for it.
On 12th of May 1997, I made a major career move, by incorporating one of the first web agencies in France. After a very difficult first year, I found the perfect strategic realignment and subcontracted for those who used to be my competition before, making them my customers. This gave me the opportunity to work on most of the major web projects North-Eastern France, and overall to build more than a hundred websites (up to one thousand pages, and some with electronic commerce features).
Then, I entered the Strasbourg Graduate School of Management where I got my M. Sc. in Management, Marketing & International Business, majored in e-business. My thesis project was to setup a virtual art auction for underprivileged children, and the website went live and raised several thousands euros by involving regional artists and have them produce original artwork. After I got my diploma, I entered the Alumni Board in charge of online networking, before becoming Vice-President for several years until the merger of all Universities in Strasbourg.
In June 2000, I became an expatriate when I was hired by a major telecommunications provider in Switzerland to support their move from pure voice to IP services. During this three years project within the Research & Development department, I was in charge of developing the IP service management portal enabling customers to monitor and manage their services. I was responsible for user interface design, front-end coding and project management.
My second startup was created in 2003: Brainware, a boutique consultancy specialized in the management of high tech projects, and in recovery of troubled projects. During this experience, I worked for various government agencies and I have been appointed by the Chamber of Commerce as Intuitu Personae consultant on new technologies.
In 2005, I joined PSINet Europe in Geneva, 9 days before its acquisition by Interoute, a major pan-European telecommunications provider operating a network of 60'000 km of lit fiber. Starting as a Senior Project Manager, I was rapidly promoted to setup the Customer Service Management function for the group (17 countries), based out of Prague (Czech Republic). Once this was successful, I created the group's Project Management Office (PMO) for which I became Director in June 2007.
In 2008, I moved to Dubai to setup the PMO for the future Universal Studios Dubailand theme park to be launched in 2011. I was in charge of creating the IT project portfolio built from the strategic roadmap, representing more than 100 distinct projects, and 10'000 man-days of effort.
In the aftermath of the world financial crisis, I moved to Egypt to join AMER Group as PMO Director, to work on their special projects portfolio (Process Improvement, Business Development & Strategic Planning) on several large scale properties in the country and in Middle-East. Key projects included Porto Marina, Porto Sokhna and Golf Porto Marina.
In July 2010, I moved back to U.A.E. to join the Abu Dhabi Airports. There, I was responsible for standardizing the landscape of Technology. I also setup the Sourcing function (cost management, suppliers management, contracts negotiations). In December 2010, I have been honoured with the "Team Member of the Year" award, voted by my peers after less than six months in the company.
After a very successful year, I have been offered to join Emiraje Systems, a joint venture between Emirates Advanced Investments, and Cassidian (EADS Defense & Security), as their Head of PMO. The program was to deliver a C4ISR (Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance) system to the U.A.E. armed forces. This was my first experience for which I received security clearance.
I was then asked to setup the PMO Framework for UAE's Nuclear Power Plant at Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation. I stayed until the reception and installation of the first APR-1400 pressurized water Nuclear Core Vessel. This was a very unique experience, due to the higest level of safety specific to this industry.
In 2014, I joined Transguard, a record breaking FM company. When I joined to grow the PMO from a pure IT delivery device, into a Strategic Corporate tool, the company had 25'000 employees. Just over a year later, we broke the 44'000 mark, with an increase of 33% in revenue in the same period of time, it was most definitely one of the most challenging environments I have worked in.
In May 2016, the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation has approved the formation of Nawah Energy Company to operate and maintain Barakah units 1-4. I have been invited to rejoin the company to manage the PMO at the formation of the company and on their journey towards operational readiness. This is where I'm currently using my expertise, assembling and running the best PMO team in the world!
I did put a name on my job late in my career, when I discovered the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK®) and joined the Project Management Institute in 2006. I pursued my Project Management Professional (PMP®) certification in 2007 and joined the Program Management Office Community of Practice (PMO CoP, formerly known as PMOSIG) in 2008, became Director of Members Management in 2009, Vice-Chair of the Board of Directors in 2010, and have been serving as their Vice President for Technology & Communications until it was dissolved. During my tenure, I have been Program Chair for the PMO Symposium in 2011 (Orlando) and 2012 (Las Vegas), and Judge for the PMO of the Year Award in 2013, and 2014. I then served on the Board of Directors of the PMI UAE Chapter from 2014 to 2015. Since 2015, I am also a member of the Scientific Committee of the Dubai International Project Management Forum.
I am frequently asked to speak at conferences and seminars, and when time permits, I do really enjoy it! Here is a sample of my past presentations I shared on Slideshare: Managing Risk Attitude was my first World Class event presentation, given in June 2008 at the first Project Risk Management Forum in Prague (Czech Republic), where I first met David Hillson (The Risk Doctor).
Features of Performing PMOs was first given in March 2014 at the PMI AGC PMO Symposium in Muscat (Oman). Based on my previous works with PMI®, I presented the various PMO Archetypes and their key attributes. The second part of the presentation focuses on Best Practices from PMO of the Year Award winners and finalists.
The Essential of Risk Management was first given in April 2014, at the Project Management Asia Conference in Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia). This was a very hands-on presentation on how to setup a Project Risk Management function from scratch.
The latest one: Using budō to Win the War for Talent, was first given in November 2015, at The Big 5 Project Management Conference in Dubai (U.A.E.). In this presentation, I attempted to have a different outlook on Talent Retention, based on my personal experience as a Martial Artist.