A mission right on track with Athanasios Papoutsis

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« Who knows, in a few years’ time, I might be able to travel in one of the trains I designed! »

From studying electrical engineering in Greece to working on the delivery of a high number of trains to the Swiss Federal Railways in the heart of the German-speaking part of Switzerland: the career path of Athanasios Papoutsis is unconventional, and he now seized the opportunity to jump in on an exciting project in the industry sector through agap2.

Could you please introduce yourself and your job in a few words?
I am Athanasios and I am 30 years old. I am originally from Greece, where I studied electrical engineering. Now, I work as an electrical engineering consultant for a large manufacturer of trains and railway rolling stock. I am working on systems within the vehicle control department.

Could you please introduce the client you are working for in a few words?
The client I am working for is a company that counts among the largest train manufacturers in the world with production facilities and offices all over the world – a new production facility is currently being built in America. The company is headquartered in the German-speaking part of Switzerland, where it started approximately 60 years ago.

What other missions have you worked on with agap2?
This is my first mission for agap2.

Could you please introduce the project you are currently working on?
I am working on a project with the Swiss Federal Railways (SBB/CFF): the aim is to supply them with a large number of trains of the newest generation. I belong to the team in charge of the control system of the train. On a daily basis, this means we are creating electrical drawings, we coordinate with external suppliers in order for them to fulfil the company’s high-quality standards and control that the equipment we will receive is complying with our requirements. Eventually, we integrate the components in the electrical system of the trains. We also communicate closely to the programming team so that they integrate these systems into the train’s software.

What excites you about this project?
It is very exciting to work for such a large company on a large-scale project with a large amount of merchandise to be delivered to a national client. And who knows, in a few years’ time, I might be able to travel in one of the trains I designed!

What makes you the right person to do this project?
Working on trains is a complicated matter since they require a wide knowledge: many stakeholders with a technical background take part in the project and it is important to collaborate well with them on complex themes, meaning it is important to be able to understand all of them when in charge of such a project. Also, many different rules and regulations have to be taken into account. My past experience on big and complex projects made it possible for me to accustom quickly to what the project and the team required.

How long have you been working on this project and how long will the mission last in total?
I have been working for this client for three months and the mission will last nine months in total.

What is the working atmosphere like within the company? Is there a perceived difference between the client’s employees and agap2 consultants?
Obviously, there are day to day differences on practical administrative matters directly related to my contract with agap2 – when I want to take holidays for example. However, on the bigger picture, the team here supported me since day one and totally embraced me just like all other agapians directly hired by the client so that I feel “at home”. On the other side, I am happy to support them back with my knowledge and expertise. So, at the interpersonal level, there are absolutely no differences.

How does agap2 contribute to your daily life at work?
I have regular contacts with business manager: he supports me with any administrative issue I may face with the client, and I know that agap2 is present in my professional life at any time in case I need guidance for example. Since the client I am working for has high needs, we’re a small team of consultants here and we often meet across our various projects but also to spend time together in our time off as well.
For personal reasons I have not been able to participate to any of the get-togethers with other agapians yet, but I am looking forward to doing so, since it helps maintain the strong agap2 spirit!