Profiles - A Light-Hearted Look at Industry Personalities
Product Manager, Serapid S.A.S.
No. 193 in a continuing series
Eric Michaut is not only product manager for Serapid's famed and world patented LinkLift system, he also supervises the major projects that use its unique facilities - which means that in addition to getting his head down to complicated planning in the operation's offices in Normandy, France he also has to travel worldwide representing the company on projects and exhibitions.
Eric was born in Boulogne-Billancourt, a southern Paris suburb, in 1968 and continued his education at a local technical college, studying electro-mechanical engineering. His first job was with a company manufacturing automatic doors and shutters and when that closed he went back to university for a year to study management. He duly joined Serapid after finishing the course, and has been with the company ever since - a run of 19 years so far.
Serapid is located at Londinières near Dieppe and back in 1990 it was a general engineering operation manufacturing components mainly for the automotive and nuclear industry, and Eric was tasked with customer liaison and design work. However, in 1999 when the LinkLift system was introduced the profile of Serapid began to change, and he was asked to become manager for the product.
Since then, things haven't exactly stood still. From zero turnover in 1999, LinkLift and associated SCT products for horizontal applications such as stage wagons, now account for 60 percent of the company's turnover, with the vast majority of that coming from the entertainment sector. LinkLift applications include lifting orchestra pits, stage platforms, scenery lifts, get-in lifts, choral risers and elevating tables.
Eric says the system truly came of age when it was employed at the newly opened Copenhagen Opera House in 2005 and involved a major orchestra lift installation. Although it had been used frequently elsewhere, this project brought Serapid and LinkLift to the full attention of designers and theatre consultants worldwide. And since then, a major install for the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics - where a large array of lifts were required which were located in the centre of the stadium in a huge lift pit - was a significant feather in the company's cap (see feature in Entertainment Technology issue 189).
And although work for the theatre sector requires a great deal of attention to detail, Eric states that he very much enjoys the personal relationships that develop alongside the creative discussion and development of ideas en route to finding the most appropriate solutions to specific project requirements.
When he does escape home, to a village in the nearby Pays de Bray, Eric, his wife Françoise, a local GP, and sons Stéphane (21), Pierre (19) and daughter Audrey (18) have five horses for company. And at holiday time, the whole family go on tour - most likely in France, and most likely on horseback.
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