Interview with Philippe JULIARD (ISTEC 2009), Thomas LECCIA (ISTEC 2009), and Loic OLIVEIRA (ISTEC 2012), co-founders of the ISTEC Network Club: Building, Real Estate, and Construction.
Philippe, Thomas, and Loic, you created the ISTEC Network Club: Building, Real Estate, and Construction in 2021. What is its purpose and objective?
The purpose of this club is to bring together ISTEC alumni involved in the fields of Building, Real Estate, and Construction, allowing them to exchange ideas about their activities and gather around common events.
The club has numerous and varied objectives, including giving visibility to companies or projects led by graduates or external individuals. For example, during our launch event, we had Caroline SEMIN, an ISTEC 2016 graduate and CEO of the family company SEMIN (manufacturing coatings, adhesives, and pastes for construction), as a guest speaker. We also aim to share experiences and market trends, such as how to navigate the rise in raw material prices or respond to new energy regulations. Additionally, we facilitate recruitment and offer internships, apprenticeships, and job opportunities to graduates and students.
In practice, this is realized through conferences, site visits, and after-work events that provide a friendly environment for networking. Our scope of action is quite broad, and we are always open to new proposals.
How did you come up with the idea?
(Philippe) I was born and raised in a family of entrepreneurs in the Construction industry, so I have a particular affinity for this sector. Having been involved in certain associations during my studies (HumanIstec, Istec Sails, BDA), I wanted to continue my engagement in a different way. Through discussions with some graduates, I realized that many of them were working in these sectors, and some schools had a Real Estate Club.
I believe in the potential of networking, and beyond that, events allow us to reconnect with or meet ISTEC alumni in a different context. Connecting all the dots, I contacted Thomas LECCIA, a fellow alumnus whom I crossed paths with at certain professional events, to propose the idea of starting a club, and he immediately agreed!
With the help of Claude WISDORFF, Director of the alumni network, we then tried to identify other graduates in these sectors who might join us on this adventure. Eventually, we connected with Loïc OLIVEIRA through a mutual contact.
What are your professions? What brought you together on this project?
Loïc works as a Sales Director at CBRE, Thomas is responsible for partnerships and events at Club Prescrire, and Philippe is the General Manager of Forster.
We had the opportunity to meet on campus during our studies, and there are common interests and affinities that bring us together beyond our professional relationship.
In terms of activities, we hold different positions within companies operating in various segments of the Building, Real Estate, and Construction fields.
Our networks and areas of action are diverse, allowing us to reach a wide audience, both within the school and beyond. This gives us a comprehensive overview and a certain complementarity that are valuable for defining the directions of the BIC Club.
What events have you organized so far?
We organized the launch of the club in December 2021 at the Forster showroom. It was an opportunity to introduce the BIC Club to the ISTEC community and test our concept.
Caroline SEMIN’s participation and the support of the Association of Graduates allowed us to gather around thirty people, and the interactions with the participants confirmed our project’s viability.
The idea was then to organize at least 2 events per year, and we have already achieved this goal in 2022! First, we organized the conference “Building and Sustainable Development: Challenges, Impacts, and Opportunities” in May at CBRE, and then we had an after-work event in early July that brought together about thirty participants.
What results have you achieved, and what networking opportunities have been developed through these meetings?
Our first success was to bring people together around concrete themes with quality speakers and to see that the participants had a good time.
During the networking session that concludes our events, some were able to establish professional contacts. We were told that one graduate landed a small project, and others are interested in showcasing their products on a demonstration site. Some people had lost touch and reconnected during our events, while others met colleagues who studied at ISTEC but whom they didn’t necessarily know before! We are delighted to sense a real sense of enthusiasm and a desire to share among the participants. Everyone comes with their experience and good spirits, which allows everyone to have a great time. For some, the result will be more tangible, while for others, it will simply be the pleasure of exchanging ideas or meeting new people.
What do you plan to organize in the future? Can you already announce the theme of the next meeting?
In addition to conferences and after-work events, we want to organize visits to projects or construction sites, depending on the possibilities. It will be a big challenge because it raises questions of organization and safety that are different, but we are confident that there is much to be done.
For now, we have the visit to ESTP in sight for December, but we are open to any other ideas before then.
So, we are reaching out to ISTEC alumni: feel free to propose visits to your premises, a project carried out by your company, or a topic that interests you for a conference.
You aim to bring together ISTEC graduates. Why do you invest in your school and the alumni association?
The three of us have been involved in different ways in ISTEC’s associations during our studies, and it is a way of giving back to the school some of what it has given us.
This commitment allows us to reconnect with some classmates in a different context and contribute to the reputation of the school while sharing good times.
Thank you to the three of you for this interview and your involvement in animating your Club for the ISTEC network! If you also want to create a Business Club, contact the ISTEC Alumni Association.