Guillermo shares his Quest Experience
Quest is an international transfer program which connects Arcadians from all over the world. Quest is sponsored by the Lovinklaan Foundation. Every week we are highlighting one of the stories of one of our employees who went on an exchange. In this blogpost we are publishing the story of Guillermo Hidalgo.
I am Guillermo Hidalgo, Assistant Structural Engineer working for the Rail team in Bristol, United Kingdom, and Global Shaper Generation 2016. I had the chance to join the Quest program and visit my colleagues in the Toulouse office (France) between the 16th and 20th of January 2017. This was a fantastic opportunity to learn how the Arcadis´ engineers from our neighbour country deal with technical challenges, such as managing the repair works to life-expired structures, accessibility modifications to existing stations and BIM (Building Information Modelling).
Why I choose Toulouse?
I know Toulouse well, as part of an student exchange program I spent one year studying Civil Engineering at the INSA Toulouse in 2012-2013. Hence, when Thomas STABLON – Head of the Civil Engineering team of the Toulouse office – offered to host me and show me how Arcadis implements engineering in our neighbor country, I could not say but “let´s go”! I met with my team in Bristol, had a conference call with Thomas, and start defining what we all wanted to get out of that week abroad!
What did we learn?
I started the week with a presentation on Arcadis´ activities of both, my team and the UK in general. During the following days I got insights of the capabilities the Toulouse team has on the analysis, assessment and repair of masonry bridges and pre-stressed structures. They have a broad expertise, as they have investigated and applied new techniques that helped in the development of a piece of British software we use to analyse masonry arches. It was unexpectedly impressive!
More rail specific, it was interesting to see how our colleagues prepare socio-economic studies for the SNCF (the national state-owned railway company) – one of our biggest clients in France – and are using the GIS (Geographic Information System) effectively. The team in Toulouse also has extensive expertise in light rail. I was able to bring back some ideas to Bristol on their approach of modifying existing stations in order to increase their accessibility.
BIM-wise, it was worthwhile to see the massive similarities with what we do in the UK, but I believe we can learn a lot from those small differences (especially that 3D printer… fantastic!).
“It was worthwhile to see the massive similarities with what we do in the UK, but I believe we can learn a lot from those small differences”
On top of that… visiting Arcadis Lyon!
The most hectic day was when I went to Lyon (2 quick flights in one day!), where our colleague Yves Lapray was my host. He introduced me to his rail team, who showed me some of the projects they are currently working on: linear infrastructure and redevelopment of stations.
Dominique Seguier, Urban and Railway transport Manager for Arcadis, presented me some of the Asset Management schemes managed, including the redevelopment of several tracks at French stations (following some models developed by Arcadis Netherlands), and socio-economic studies to revaluate some of the SNCF existing assets. It was a rewarding day!
What else about my Quest experience?
I look back at 5 really fun days, I learned massively, enjoyed being part of the company and kindness of my French colleagues! The Quest allowed me to build on international relationships. The adventure could not end without showing Toulouse´s Arcadians my story as a Global Shaper: Generation 2016!
The Lovinklaan Foundation and the Quest Program have helped me in broadening my network within the business and allowed me to learn more about both management and technical aspects of engineering. It does not matter where we are based, all Arcadians work together towards the same goal. Thanks to the Lovinklaan Foundation, and thank you for reading this!
“I look back at 5 really fun days, I learned massively, enjoyed being part of the company and kindness of my French colleagues!”