Francis Bouchard

Name, First Name: Francis Bouchard
Nationality: French
City, Country: Toulouse, France
Study program, Degree: Electrical Engineering - Computer Engineering / Diploma
Year of graduation: 1999
Employer, Position: Airbus in Toulouse - Head of A350 Cabin & Cargo Chief Engineering


You are the President of our Alumni Chapter in Toulouse, what excites you about this task?
I am very proud to have founded this new chapter in Toulouse together with the alumni team. Our common goal is to increase the international alumni network and to strengthen the connection of alumni in South-West France with TUHH. I already experience this natural connection between Toulouse and Hamburg every day at Airbus, one of the biggest employers of TUHH alumni: Many Germans live in Toulouse and the Airbus shuttle connects the two sites daily. I'm looking forward to the new task.

What was an unforgettable experience for you during your time at TUHH?
I have so many good memories! We were a small group from all over the world and prepared exams together in the library. That was when we discovered the Internet with SUN workstations and marveled when we saw the first images of Mars Pathfinder in high resolution and live. What was also fun was to start the language club with some friends to organize English, French and Chinese lessons. Do they still exist? The lectures were all in German, which was not so easy at the beginning, but in retrospect was a chance. I couldn't understand the microelectronics lectures by the famous Saxon professor Reinhold Paul in the Audimax at all! Thank God my German friends were very helpful. Today I would like to thank them and also Professor Otto Lange, who gave me a lot of confidence.

What is the greatest thing about your job?
I am leading the development of the Airbus A350 passenger cabin. This has to carry even more passengers while maintaining the same level of comfort and at the same time becoming lighter and lighter. It's a great challenge to lead this multi-million project together with many engineers from Europe: I can often support in the communication between the different cultures. The engineers usually have good ideas, but difficulties to sell them to the management of another culture and they sometimes think too little about the economic challenges. My job is about deciding which ideas make sense and then convincing management that they have a business case and meet customer expectations.

What does a typical working day look like for you?
In a typical working day, I spend six to eight hours in Webex and meetings with many German and French engineers. I get about a hundred emails on top of that and have to quickly decide what is important and urgent and what can wait or be delegated. I still fly to Hamburg once or twice a month and have to visit customers (airlines) or suppliers from time to time. The skills I need most for this are good communication and analysis skills, resilience and endurance.

I would love to swap a day with ... CEO Tom Enders.

What would you ask an omniscient researcher from the future?
Where is the development of artificial intelligence taking us? What are the masses of people doing in the world of autonomous robots? How can we stop global warming and at the same time satisfy humanity's needs for greater prosperity and mobility without plundering the earth?

If you were president of TUHH....
My topics would be AI applications, battery of the future and energy networks. As a convinced European, I would also intensify ties with European and especially French universities: Together we can move a lot and set high standards.