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From VIE to risk management & project control

Follow Jean Hiriart in his journey through different Air Liquide Engineering & Construction projects from cryogenic units to commissioning and Risk Management & Project Controls.

Jean Hiriart

“I was born in Norway, lived abroad in the Middle East and Malaysia until the age of 6 and then grew up in Limoges and Paris. I studied to be a mechanical engineer with an Erasmus semester in Poland at Politechnika Lodzka.

My first job was as a V.I.E for Air Liquide in Bulgaria in 2003, when I discovered the company from a Large Industries perspective and focused on air separation unit operations. I joined Air Liquide because it offered me the chance to go abroad right after my studies and learn "in the field" the profession of an engineer.

Following this first experience in Bulgaria on a gas production site, where I participated in a range of small projects and site activities, I wanted to further develop my experience in commissioning by meeting new, diverse and very "hands-on" challenges. I therefore moved to the Commissioning Department of the Advanced Technologies Division, in Grenoble, France.

After a couple of years starting-up “rare birds” units, I was eager to get involved further “upstream” in project execution and have a wider overview, from customer needs to solution elaboration, implementation and delivery, and I got this opportunity to move into Project Management at the Champigny center in France. What attracted me most, and still thrills me today, is the diversity of challenges, disciplines and people I had, and still have, to deal with on an everyday basis, on top of the autonomy of decision to drive my projects.

As a Project Manager, my main experience is in cryogenics and brownfield projects, but as Risk Management & Project Control Director of E&C Krakow and Frankfurt, I now address a very different project portfolio, which is focused on Lurgi technologies and Detail Design studies for Third Party and Group customers, as well as other Air Liquide Engineering & Construction centers. But independently from the technology or scope, all projects boil down to the same key topics, which are contractual performance, customer satisfaction, troubleshooting and team management.

My latest project is about getting the Risk Management & Project Control teams of the Krakow and Frankfurt centers to work together as one integrated team, combining the forces of each location and defining common paths for further improvement. This is a very different type of project, but involves the same approach and mindset as for an engineering and construction project!

Each project is by definition unique and brings its own share of challenges and experiences, but it is always, and above all, a human adventure that creates strong relationships between people. I foster the diversity and challenges of working for Air Liquide Engineering & Construction and, to anyone thinking of embarking on a similar career, I would say, go for it and live the experience fully!”