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Testimonial of Sebastien, a french system engineer at Continental North America

Sebastien graduated from the french University of Technology of Belfort-Montbeliard in 2014 with a specialization in embedded systems and hybrid vehicles. He joined ALTEN in February 2016. On assignment at Continental since his arrival, he has been working as a System Engineer on braking systems.


Please tell us about your role and your current project?

I am currently working for Continental on braking systems. As member of the system team, I am handling mainly the open issues related to the system behavior. At the same time, I also do some testing and a bit of software development.


What are/is the main challenge in your role?

Since Continental is a worldwide supplier, I have to be able to communicate to everybody in the shortest time. Due to different time zones, it can be difficult to have the right information in the allowed time.
I am also involved in a second challenge for my current role. I manage and define the work’s responsibilities of our trainees. My main focus is to follow them, teach them the working base on the technical part since they just granted from school and only get theoretical knowledge. I’m always satisfied when they are able to put in practice what I taught to them.


What do you appreciate the most in the America work culture?

The major point is that you can suggest some new methods to improve the work process. If it works and you can prove its efficiency, it might be implemented in the future. There is a lot of area for creativity and people are receptive to it.


What is your point of view on the automotive market in Michigan and its perspectives?

We can currently see that almost all suppliers, OEMs and even new costumers (startups in CA) are running for autonomous driving. There is a huge market that will grow in the near future (5-10 years) but people seem not to be ready for it yet. From what I can see around me, people are afraid of letting a machine taking the full control of a vehicle. However, I think that we will have the same situation as Cruise Control, and people will become familiar with this new technology.


What convinced you to come to Michigan?

I really like to live close to the nature, Michigan is a perfect state for that. The whole year you can enjoy the outside activities: catch and release fishing, canoe, biking, hiking, dog-sledging, ice-skating, BBQ with friends, music festival…
Also, Detroit is reborn from the ashes like a phoenix several times and each time you can see the evolution. The community stands up for its city and you can see all kind of artistic structures popping: street art and exhibitions.


Can you tell us about a memorable moment since your arrival in the US?

The first time I went to a BBQ organized by friends on Lake St Clair really surprised me. We were over 30 people during that afternoon. People were all talking to each other, playing volley ball, swimming or even kayaking. It was amazing to be in the middle of the nature and being less than one hour from Detroit.


What are your hobbies during your free time?

I mostly work on my car that I am currently converting it to a track car. People who know me, know that it takes a lot of my free time. Each time I hit the track it makes me feel proud of what I achieved, with the help of friends for some parts. Also, from time to time I try to attend live shows or music festivals. Detroit is known for being the birthplace of Techno music that is why you can find a big underground culture in the Detroit area. Not only that kind of music is popular here; live shows of worldwide known bands are also often taking place in Michigan. It’s pleasure for me to see live music of some popular bands playing song that I’m practicing with my bass guitar.


Please share with us your favorite places in the Detroit area and in MI.

The Upper Peninsula of Michigan is by far my favorite place. You are in the middle of the nature, most of the time with no mobile network and miles away from the nearest city. You go back to basics and really learn a lot about yourself.
The most impressive building I visited for now is the Detroit Masonic Temple. The biggest Masonic Temple in the world!Tours are offered to discover that place and its mysteries. For live shows, the Saint Andrews Hall, the Crofoot Ballroom or the Royal Oak Music Theater offer a diversity of shows (music, wrestling, …) in places in which you can feel the history of the room.


Last word?

I hope that what I have shared will give you the chance to discover Michigan without preconceived ideas and enjoy the state with everything it has to show you.


Interested by an international career with ALTEN?

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