74 years ago, it was a daring decision. But we did it. Employing 45 people and reaching a turnover of 10 million euros (70% generated from export), GALLAND is recognized for its expertise in providing solutions for the overhead lines on the railway market. This success is the result of long hours of research activity carried out by GALLAND in cooperation with its clients.
I am proud to be part of this incredible 32-years journey as General Manager. Nevertheless, nothing predestined me to a career in the railway sector…
Building sand castles and spending holidays together established a friendship between two families (Galland/D’huy). As I moved forward, my first professional experience in the arts community offered me the opportunity to work as sound technician, artistic agent and even as importer of vintage guitars. At this moment, I developed a new concept of audio cable that was firstly handmade.
Without any starting capital, I was looking for a sponsor to bring this innovation to industrialisation and I approached Denis Galland who was by then General Manager of Jacques Galland SA.
On April 1st 1988, I have started working for the company to create a department dedicated to the audio products. And I am not joking! Despite my passion for music, I was attracted by the universe of the overhead lines. Technician in my heart and soul, I explored with curiosity the funny parts installed at 6-meter height. Progressively and regardless of my primer goal, the Technical Director (Grand Master of the Overhead Lines) Robert Dourneau, was guiding me to embrace what would become a real passion. Taught by the best, I learned and discovered the industrial world by integrating the engineering office.
At this moment GALLAND employed 25 people and was making business mainly on the French market, having a strong reputation as the supplier of section insulators, tensioning devices and other catenary products.
Two years later we were closely cooperating on the 2nd generation of the high-speed products with the engineering of SNCF. This was a great experience during which we were working with pioneers and catenary experts.
At the same time, we were participating to huge railway projects, such as technical study and material for the Channel Tunnel. I used this opportunity to put in place quality management program and to launch ISO 9001 certification.
Year 1992 marked an important achievement for the company. GALLAND, known for its know-how and the quality of its products, started the international expansion signing the first export contract on Chinese market.
In France, the renewal of Parisian tramway was creating favourable conditions to collaborate with the engineering of RATP on a new overhead line called « LAC éco ». This was a period of a « tramway fever » and GALLAND supplied equipment for all tramway lines in France and beyond, like in China and in Brazil.
Three years later, I was named Technical and Commercial Director. GALLAND’s team was reinforced with the arrival of Dominique Bec at the Engineering Department and Marc Mattia at the Quality Department. From then on, the company consolidated its presence on the national market and pursued its expansion abroad: India, China, Japan, Europe, Canada, Brazil and North Africa.
In 2000, Denis Galland Chief Executive Officer, offered me the position of General Manager, which I have proudly accepted.
MOVING TO GIRONDE
Very implicated in my job and always motivated, it’s time for a change. The company based in Choisy-le-Roi in Paris area, no longer corresponds to desired development criteria. We have decided to move and invest the Aquitaine region where GALLAND had an established business in the aluminium foundry and wine property. In April 2003, we have inaugurated the new plant in La Lande-de-Fronsac.
Having a well-performing installation, a qualified and loyal team, we were free to launch new projects. Under the attentive watch of Philippe Galland and enjoying the synergies with Fonderies du Bélier, we engaged a steady move forward. The goal was to transform GALLAND into a well-structured and competitive medium size company, able to tackle the international competition.
Today, this goal is achieved. GALLAND is actively working in 25 countries. The innovation, the quality of our products and the know-how based on a 74-years’ experience from our predecessors and partners, are placing GALLAND as a key player on the overhead lines market.
Today, it is time for me to make a handover. For this reason, at the end of this year, I will be leaving my position. I spent a major part of my life at GALLAND. It is with a certain emotion that I will be saying goodbye in a couple of months. I sincerely thank Galland family for trusting in me during all these years. It was a real pleasure to live my passion in a friendly environment where the success was accompanied by entrepreneurship.
Mr Claude Cautain, former General Manager of Fonderies et Atelier du Bélier Dalian (China), will succeed me at the position of General Manager. He arrived on 1st September 2020 and I will accompany him for this new job during a transition period to succeed in his mission and to write new pages in GALLAND’s history.
I am sure that all the GALLAND’s team will continue with passion and rigor this great adventure started in 1946, respecting the values that were always ours: Quality, Innovation and Service.
I would like to express my gratitude and deep respect to those who were my fellow companions and who stimulated my curiosity and entrepreneurship by their experience and knowledge.