This month for our Meet the Team series, we spoke with Antoine Regnier, who originally joined us at our Glasgow HQ in 2019 as an intern from France and now works as a project consultant within our ICL team.
1. Tell us a bit about your background and when you first came to join IES.
I joined IES in April 2019 as an intern during my final year of engineering school in France (my native country) where I was studying General Engineering with a specialization in Smart Cities. This specialization taught us every aspect of the “City of Tomorrow” (sustainability, building design, HVAC, transport, energy, social, IoT, etc.) and was taught entirely in English. I had always wanted to start my career abroad, working on the decarbonisation of the built environment, and it led me to IES. Although I didn’t know the company before looking for an internship, I'm glad it's taken me to where I am today!
2. What is your current role at IES?
As an ICL Project Consultant, my role is to use the ICL suite of tools developed by IES on various projects (both in a commercial and research context). As every project has its own objectives and challenges, it involves having an in-depth knowledge of how to use the software, continuously learning and improving my “IES skills” as well as helping team members on the subjects I am more familiar with and offering advice.
3. Were you involved in any of our internship, graduate or other recruitment programmes? If so, can you tell us a bit more about your experience?
As I mentioned, I initially joined IES for my end-of-study internship. It was a great opportunity for me and I was pleased to find myself within a team composed of people like me: young, from many different nationalities, and with similar ambitions and concerns about the ecological crisis. Although I was scared at first to start working in a foreign company, in a different language, everyone was kind and patient with me. I found many others had been through the same situation or, in some cases, were just pleased to see another French guy speaking their language! The fact that IES is an international company, with a diverse group of employees from all over the world, is a major advantage.
4. What does a typical working day involve for you?
As I get the chance to work on various projects, my working days are completely different from one day to the next but typically each day will be dedicated to a specific project (sometimes even a single task of it). I usually start the day with a catch-up with colleagues to discuss any updates that might affect my schedule or just to track progress: basic management work. Then I focus on my project tasks which are mostly modelling based (my favourite kind). Usually meetings with colleagues and partners are held around noon to account for any time differences. Afterwards, there are always emails and/or reports to send before I quickly get back on to project tasks I started in the morning. If I have some free time scheduled during the day, I work on personal development tasks, such as developing scripts or online courses.
5. Are there any particularly interesting projects you have worked on that you could tell us about?
Immediately, the iBECOME project comes to mind! It is an EU Horizon 2020 funded research project with the scope of developing a virtual building management system (BMS) with the goal of optimizing buildings' energy performance and comfort conditions, while reducing operational costs. What I like about this project is the diversity of buildings we are using to develop the required algorithm. They are all different in terms of their usage, location and function: this is a great challenge! I also enjoy working with partners from all across Europe.
Although I initially started to work on this project only to help on modelling activities, as the project has progressed I have become involved more and more. It has encouraged me to push my boundaries further in various fields such as modelling, management and reporting. Research projects are always interesting as you are working on something that has never been done before.
6. What is the best thing about working for IES?
Every time I discuss my work with friends or others, I am always proud to describe what I do at IES. I feel lucky to be doing something I have wanted to do ever since high school and to see how my work has a positive impact, while many of my former classmates are bored in their roles and far from where they initially hoped to end up.
7. What important skills have you learned whilst working here?
I have learned a lot whilst working here, especially since it is my first job. I believe the most important thing has been the knowledge gained from working on very interesting and technical projects with colleagues that have a wealth of amazing experience to share.
8. What advice would you give others considering a position with us?
Technical knowledge related to the field is surely fundamental but the key is open-mindedness: to be ready and willing to learn! You can’t know everything but having this mindset is a game-changer, as it was for me back in 2019 when I started here. If you are considering it, believe me: you won’t regret working at IES!
9. Is there anything else you’d like to share about your experience working at IES?
The team at IES has always been understanding, kind and flexible with me in general. From HR, to managers or colleagues, any time I have had a personal issue or concern - whether that be in relation to relocation or remote-working - I found help and support from the company. That's not a negligible bonus considering the last few years we've had.
10. Did you relocate for your role? If so, where have you relocated from and what is your favourite thing about where you work.
My situation is unique as I will actually be relocating back to France permanently starting October (having initially moved from France to Scotland at the start of my internship). Although I have missed the French food during my time in Glasgow, I've really loved all the Scottish people I've met, both inside and outside the company, who have been polite, kind and welcoming. Glasgow is a great city to live and hang out and I can go everywhere without even needing to own a car. Scotland is just such a beautiful place to visit generally - I’ll miss it!