Get to know Quentin, Mechanical Engineer at ALTEN in Örebro. Read more about his thoughts on what it’s like balancing a professional Engineering career with competitive orienteering and what some of his field’s biggest challenges are.
What are you working with today?
– I’m a Mechanical Engineer with a specialization in Industrial Design and Calculations, currently on assignment at SAAB Dynamics working as Production Quality Engineer. It’s my first assignment and I’ve been a part of ALTEN since January 2022.
What attracted you to join ALTEN and what first got you into the field of engineering?
– I believe being a consultant is a great opportunity for variety and acquiring experience. ALTEN seemed like a good company and a nice fit for me personally. It also felt nice that it’s a French company, since I’m originally from Paris and I like the international reach that ALTEN has.
– I’ve always had a passion for building things with my hands, starting with building Legos as a young kid. When I started studying, I found the classes revolving around technical drawings, 3D modelling and mechanics to be interesting, so I pursued that field.
What do you enjoy most about working as a consultant?
– I really appreciate my contact with my closest manager and the bits of advice he gives. It’s also very nice to have “extra” colleagues who work in different companies and fields, which I think creates a wider network of contacts.
“It’s very important to have a training plan for the week ahead to know what to do, but it’s equally important to know when to adjust that plan and be open-minded to do so.”
Combining Careers – Competitive Orienteering and Mechanical Engineering
Besides his ALTEN career, Quentin is also orienteering on the side. Phrasing it as ‘orienteering on the side’ might be an understatement – considering he’s a full-time athlete. He’s been into orienteering for as long as he can remember: After his first European Youth Championships in the “under 16”-category at 15, he never turned back. While that might have been his first rodeo, it sure wasn’t his last.
On the 14th and 15th of May, Quentin participated in the Swedish Championships for Sprint and Knock-out. The weekend before that, he ran “Tiomila”, the second biggest orienteering relay in the world, with his team OK Ravinen. It’s a night race with 10 people participating per team, starting at 21.30 and finish around 7.30. Quentin and his team finished 2nd.
– It’s the club’s best result in Tiomila since 1981, so while we didn’t win we were pretty stoked!
Somewhat simplified, the orienteering season is split in two: The first one between March and June, the second one from late-August to mid-October. To give you an example of how Quentin’s schedule looks mid-season, he averages about two races per week – excluding training sessions. During the season, he averages six to eight training sessions per week, around seven to ten hours per week. Between seasons however, during winter, is when the training period is set. During this period, Quentin aims to work out eight to ten times a week, usually amounting to 11 – 15 hours per week.
What’s it like balancing the two careers?
– Well, it’s not always easy. I can get very tired from a hard training session or weekend competing. Those times, it’s tough being very efficient. It can also be the other way around, getting the right amount of recovery and spending less time on training sessions from time to time. While it’s definitively challenging, it’s very much possible with the right planning and flexibility. I’ve been balancing these things my whole life, so I’m quite used to it.
What do you enjoy most about orienteering?
– It’s never the same. There are always new paths, new courses, new surroundings. That means there’s a new puzzle, if you will, to solve each time. I enjoy that small part of uncertainty, you must keep questioning yourself but in a good way. It’s a very humbling sport.
– Then of course, I love being close to nature. Just running, finding my way. That feeling of having total control over where I’m going and feeling strong, running where most people wouldn’t even want to walk. It’s a special feeling.
Future Challenges to Look out for
What are the biggest challenges in your field?
– A big challenge in the field of Engineering in general is to sustain the constant growth that has happened for the past 40 – 50 years, while reducing the impact on climate change. Our current technological solutions have to adapt in order to become more environmentally friendly.
What areas in Engineering do your find most interesting?
– I think the early phases of Product Development are exciting. From early concepts and calculations to detail design and technical drawings. I especially enjoy the prototyping process. It’s exciting to design something new, and then build it for the first time to try to improve the design as much as possible.
“I really appreciate my contact with my closest manager and the bits of advice he gives. It’s also very nice to have “extra” colleagues who work in different companies and fields, which I think creates a wider network of contacts.”
Do you have a tip for anyone aspiring to balance careers like you are?
– Keep a flexible mindset. It’s very important to have a training plan for the week ahead to know what to do, but it’s equally important to know when to adjust that plan and be open-minded to do so.
– I also think regularity is the most important thing in training. So take it easy, go on at your own pace, and you will improve with consistency.
Besides orienteering, what do you do when you’re not working?
– I have a strong interest for woodworking. I like to build everything from children’s toys to bigger furniture like beds and tables. I find it relaxing and calming – and it’s surely not disconnected from my Mechanical Design education!
Curious to join one the ALTEN Engineering teams?