Interview of Pascal Parent : An engineer with people skills

Pascal Parent, Engineering, handling assignments for Syngenia
Pascal Parent, Engineering, handling assignments for Syngenia

Pascal Parent, who graduated as an industrial engineer from the Institut Gramme in Liège, has already built quite a career for himself. Right from the start, in 1997, he focused on electricity production projects. And he has worked for some of the sector’s biggest names. First for Electrabel, then for Sibelga in Brussels, plus a spell of railway development for Tuc Rail. After his early plunge into electricity production and operation, he is now with Tractebel Engineering, handling assignments for Syngenia.

What’s your mission at Tractebel Engineering?
I head up the electrical and instrumentation projects for the power plants at Tihange and Doel. We’re in overall charge of projects that mainly have to do with electrical motors and power transformers for the two power plants.
We handle everything, from technical specifications to post-installation testing, as well as drawing up calls for tender, analysing the submissions, awarding the contracts and supervising the installation on site.

– Tell me a bit more about your work at Tihange.
I’m part of the Long Term Operation (LTO) team at Tihange. The extension of the power plants operating life depends on the LTO work. So you can see the importance of the tasks we’re entrusted with. Incidentally, this project is a first for Belgium, and it’s a major challenge.

– So being employed by Syngenia has been useful?
It has indeed. I joined Syngenia in March 2014. And a good thing I did. Otherwise, if I’d stayed on with my previous employer, I wouldn’t have had access to the LTO team. And that’s not the only advantage. Being part of an international group like GDF SUEZ, with all the opportunities it provides to advance your career, retain your seniority, put your past experience to good use, benefit from internal mobility … that’s quite something.
Ever since I’ve been with Syngenia, I’ve really felt part of the team. I receive more information than I used to. And the training given by Electrabel is also open to me, which isn’t the case for other contractors.

– What challenges do you encounter at Tractebel Engineering?
If a project is to succeed, you obviously have to ensure overall control. But most of all, you have to get all the members of the team to work together really well. There’s no magic formula for that. Experience and empathy are what you need to solve problems. The biggest challenge for a head of projects is to manage the human aspects. Being part of a group, and sharing the same long-term vision, is the best way of moving a project forward.

– And when you’re not working?
I have two children and I’m mad about horse riding. All of my family go riding. I go show-jumping with my mare. No great pretentions, though. Just as an amateur. The challenge I set myself is to always stay the course – at work and at play.