Sep 1, 2023
We can’t wait to hear your story, Sylvain. Why don’t we start with a short introduction?
My name is Sylvain from France. I joined EIP about a year and a half ago as a project manager first, and now my portfolio also includes global business development.
Could you tell us what attracted you to our company?
Actually prior to joining the EIP, I was working in the consulting business as a team lead. However, that was a very multi-hat job that lacked specialization, while I wanted to develop more specific expertise in a field that I have a great interest in, which is energy and IT. I also wanted to be in an innovation driven environment as I view such a workplace as carrying better opportunities to learn and grow as a professional. When I discovered EIP on a job board, I very quickly realized that it was ticking every box on my checklist whilst being a company with a very healthy internal culture. So I applied and was lucky to be hired for this position.
You work in the energy domain - when you hear energy, what is the first thing that comes to your mind?
Life, society, human progress. We would not have any of those if it was not for energy, be it the energy that we get from the sun and that makes our planet liveable, or our advanced man-made energy system that is foundational to modern civilization, which is why I am interested in specializing in this field.
The readers interested in your role are probably curious about your typical day-to-day activities. Would you tell us what the day in the life of an international business developer looks like?
I wake up early as I belong to the brilliant early bird group of members that start work at 8am. I like to come a little earlier than the rest of the people just to enjoy the calm. I usually begin the day with checking news from the energy market and reading/answering emails from my clients, leads or business partners. And the morning is also when I try to have most of my meetings because as a morning person I focus best at that time, besides I’m working with North America quite a bit, and morning is usually their communication window. And for the rest of the day, usually I go by whichever task requires my attention or input. Be it, a new proposal, business plan, budget, or some project management related stuff. And late afternoon is when my contacts in Europe begin their day so I usually end my day with another round of calls with them. So that sums it up!
That sums it up pretty well! And how would you describe your job to someone in only 3 words?
The most obvious one is challenging, but in a good way. Then developmental, because you get to learn a lot and you really build an expertise that's quite unique. And I also view my job as rewarding, which is tied to the previous word.
Speaking about challenges, what do you think is the most challenging part of your work
Most of what EIP does is new and we operate in an emerging field, so often there is no existing playbook for developing or managing a new business. We often have little to zero stepping stones so you need to write your own story. That’s challenging but also extremely enriching.
From your current point of view, what would be the best thing about working in global business development?
What I enjoy the most is getting to meet new people and building relationships. Of course through the people that you meet, you may also discover exciting business opportunities, but the relationship part is what I like the most.
Out of all the projects you’re working on right now, what is one project you’re very passionate about?
Recently EIPGRID signed its very first project in the US, which is very meaningful in terms of scale and revenue and that's what's going to keep me busy in the next couple of months, if not years. For this project, we will use the EIP Virtual Power Plant Platform to monitor and orchestrate a large fleet of electric vehicles, chargers and power banks. Electric Vehicle fleets are a great way to decarbonize mobility, but EV fleets can cause strain on the power grid and operational cost challenges when not properly managed, especially in places like the US where the grid is sort of outdated, so there are numerous capacity issues and risks. EIP software will be used to overcome these issues by enabling energy conservation, optimizing storage and costs and orchestrating everything through a single platform. So it's an interesting challenge. We are solving a very tangible problem for the client and, if successful, this project will lead to multiple other projects in the US and North America, laying the foundations to a bright future for EIP in this part of the world.
Is there anything new that EIP is bringing to the EV market in the US in terms of technology?
When you talk about grid capacity issues, you may think “Let's just build more power lines”, or “Let's increase the supply”... It's not that simple. Because it requires infrastructure changes and the regulatory side can pose a challenge, but if you're smart with the management of your power, if you can store it and use it at the right time where it makes economic sense, then you can overcome these problems. That's what EIP is bringing to the market : an energy management software with capabilities that enable overcoming infrastructure limitations through greater agility. In my view this is quite unique, and energy management for EVs is just a small fraction of what the EIP platform is capable of : our technology enables energy asset owners of any kind to make a better use of what they own, and we also work with load aggregators and utilities on the energy demand flexibility side. Very few companies have such a wide and long reach.
Switching back to you, is there something that you can't imagine your work without?
Water, coffee and great colleagues. I try to stay hydrated all the time, so a tumblr is essential. I also said I like building relationships, so having colleagues around me that I like hanging around with is one thing I really need. I have all those three things at the EIP. So yeah, I guess I'm happy.
Do you have some productivity tricks that you’d like to share with us?
I have two. Number 1 would be delayed gratification - I indulge in a coffee break in the morning/afternoon only AFTER having completed at least a couple of tasks, and number 2 would be a power nap - when feeling dozy (especially after lunch) don’t fight it and instead a 10-15 mins nap to regain immediate focus instead of struggling the whole afternoon.
Do you have any advice for someone just starting their career?
Yes, look for challenges and take calculated risks. Challenge and risk early in your career are rewarding I believe, more than comfort and security.
What is the best part of working in EIP?
Well, this will resonate with what I said before, it’s professional growth. Although it is not always easy, learning by doing with very minimal stepping stones in the workflow is incredibly stimulating and enriching.
EIP also has many perks and facilities for its members. Which one is your favorite?
One of the parts of facilities that I use the most at the EIP is the rest/napping area. It's very valuable for me and without it, my productivity and comfort at work just wouldn’t be the same. Next one is the rooftop - perfect to get some sun exposure, stretch my body and take a break.
It’s always nice to hear that our members enjoy the benefits of our workplace. To wrap it up, is there anything you would like to say to the job seekers interested in applying for EIP?
EIP has a very noble mission, which is to energize the world, and we do that through innovation and technology by solving fairly difficult technical challenges. People who want to do something useful and meaningful for society, that like to learn and grow professionally and that believe in innovation, I think they are the ones that would be a great fit in EIP.
Sylvain, thank you for letting us learn a bit more about you, it was a pleasure talking to you. EIPGRID is lucky to have you!