Please meet our creative Product Development Engineer Thomas Collomb. We asked him everything under the sun to give you a look behind the scenes of Evalan.
What is your role at Evalan?
At Evalan I am responsible for the mechanical aspects of the bGrid projects. I am involved in the entire process from product design to manufacturing. I am working in cooperation with the hardware team to make devices that allow all the functionalities of the bGrid system to perform as expected. For example, one of my aims when designing enclosures is to “wrap up” the hardware in a way that all the sensors are measuring data accurately. I also have supply chain responsibilities, such as the relations with our suppliers or participation in the production process optimization.
What do you like most about your job?
I really like the combination of two different types of activity: operational activities and design and having a balance between those two. I really love getting deep into development work but it is refreshing to balance it with more routine and repetitive tasks. It is very hard to take a break or stop thinking about development work, like when you have to search for a solution to a technical problem or design a new mounting system. That is why I like the alternation between both tasks.
Another aspect of my job that I really like is that I share the office with colleagues from other fields of work, currently with programmers. Having people around me that are working different things and have different knowledge and skills, makes it easy and fun to share thoughts about the products and get other perspectives. It takes a lot of people with different skills to develop the products at bGrid, so it’s nice to work spatially close to them to always keep in mind the bigger picture.
Why did you apply for this job at Evalan?
After studying in France, I finished my master studies in mechanical engineering and design engineering at the university of Twente, on the other side of the Netherlands. I met my girlfriend there. After 1 year in a small start-up in Paris I decided to join my girlfriend in the Netherlands who had found a job here. The Netherlands is great for international couples because there are a lot of companies where the main language of communication is English. Evalan caught my attention because it was a relatively small company that did not have the disadvantages of a start-up in terms of financing since it was running already for several years. The projects, like the smart building project that gave life to bGrid, were very innovative and were involving a wide variety of fields.
What is it like working in the team?
I think there is a very good atmosphere here. I love the fact that it is a young and energetic company with different personalities and nationalities. Having that many different personalities and being able to work in English without any problem, is in my opinion relatively rare for smaller companies and it leads to an open mind: you expect everybody to be different, so when someone does something uncommon, we think it is natural. People can be themselves in their work and they know and respect how others work. It also helps in thinking of solutions from different perspectives.
What are you most proud of?
I am very proud of seeing the product portfolio of bGrid compared to when I first started here; our product installed in the various types of ceilings of our clients in nice looking and innovative buildings. The bGrid projects were just starting when I first joined Evalan, and it is nice to take a step back once in a while and realize all the work that has been done since then, for example having designed various enclosures, finding nice suppliers to work with, improving supply chain and production processes.
One of my aims when designing enclosures is to make them well integrated as if they are part of the building. It is always rewarding when looking at the results and seeing the bGrid products in the ceiling, well integrated and fitting with the style of the building.