Production technician Julien Perrier joined Carbon Waters a few months ago. This judo and travel enthusiast tells us about his career path, what he likes about Carbon Waters and his vision for the future.
Can you tell us about your background and experiences before Carbon Waters?
Julien Perrier: I’m originally from Bordeaux, where I did my BTS in Chemistry. Once I’d graduated, I went straight to work. I’ve been working in the chemical industry for over 10 years. I’m a very curious person, I love to learn. Before joining Carbon Waters, I wanted to get a global view of what it’s like to work in a company. That’s why I worked on a series of temporary agency contracts, in a wide variety of positions, which enabled me to work for a wide range of companies, mainly large groups such as Michelin, EDF or Sanofi, to name but a few.
And what are your chemistry skills?
JP: Through my experience, I have acquired skills in several areas: quality control, production monitoring, process development, equipment maintenance, but also scale-up, i.e. transposing a lab production process to a larger scale. My career path has made me a real “Swiss Army knife”: I’m able to adapt to any environment. I think that’s what made the difference with Carbon Waters, who recruited me in April 2023.
And why did you decide to join Carbon Waters?
JP: What really appealed to me about the Production Technician position was the possibility of working in R&D, as Carbon Waters devotes a large part of its investments to this area, in order to improve both its production process and its graphene dispersions. Before Carbon Waters, I hadn’t had the opportunity to get involved in these areas. Here, I’m lucky enough to be able to learn about them directly on the job, while contributing my know-how in other areas.
What’s your day-to-day life like at Carbon Waters?
JP: At Carbon Waters, I have a double role. On the one hand, I’m in charge, along with the rest of the team, of producing the graphene dispersions (OGD) needed for customized customer projects, as well as our finished products, which make up the Graph’Up range. On the other, I’m working on improving and developing the production process.
Indeed, Carbon Waters is starting its industrialization phase with the construction of a semi-industrial pilot plant. We therefore need to prepare for this stage by studying the systems and tools that will be best suited to it. All the teams are mobilized on this major project: Rym for process adaptation, Mahbub and Fabien for production, and also Lucie and Thomas, the Application Managers. Moving from a benchtop process to industrial-scale production doesn’t happen by chance!
What do you like about CW?
JP: I really like Carbon Waters’ state of mind, as it’s a small structure, each member of the team is accessible, and we can discuss everything. Everyone can give their point of view and that makes for very rich, complementary exchanges, especially between the production and R&D teams. What’s more, this flexibility enables us to move things forward quickly, without going through a lot of intermediaries before reaching a decision.
I also very much appreciate the trust that is placed in us, both in terms of working hours, in the sense that we can organize our work as we wish (as long as it doesn’t get in the way of the team’s work, of course), and also the possibility of working on subjects in parallel with our main missions, in which we have a particular interest. This trust also translates into responsibilities. For example, I can take care of certain appointments with equipment suppliers for the future pilot myself, something that would never have happened in a large group.
How do you see your future, with Carbon Waters or elsewhere?
JP: In a few months’ time, I’d like to go back to school and get my degree in chemical engineering. This would enable me to evolve and continue to work on R&D subjects, particularly process development, but with a greater challenge to solve difficult problems. Ideally, I’d like to do a co-op training course at Carbon Waters, as I’d like to continue to take part in this adventure, and in particular in the industrialization phase, being present from A to Z and learning a lot in the process. When you consider what graphene can bring to industry, and the technical nature of our products, you can’t help but want to take part in a project like this!
And apart from chemistry, what are your passions?
JP: I’ve been passionate about judo for years. As I’m keen to pass on my passion, I even took my sports instructor’s diploma a few years ago in order to coach young people, which I do every evening of the week. On top of that, I’m a tango dancer and occasionally take part in shows. I also enjoy permaculture, cinema and, above all, travelling! I’ve been lucky enough to visit a dozen countries all over the world. It’s a real asset to be able to immerse oneself in cultures different from our own, and to be able to exchange ideas with foreigners – it’s priceless!