Alumni STORIES – VOL.1 | devon hyver

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No pain, no gain. When you have the same skills, it’s the investment you put into your work that makes you stand out.

Alumnus | IFG Paris
Program | Master in executive management
Graduated in 2022
City of residence | Vienna

What made you progress as a student, and still does today?

The desire to be the best, at work and at school. It’s interesting to have the recognition of your peers, and to see that your parents are proud of you. Whatever the training, the important thing is that it is professionalizing. The school model of tomorrow will have to correspond to spending less time sitting in a chair, and much more time focusing on concrete actions!

Not a month goes by without Devon’s duties inviting him to travel the globe; from Africa to Asia, slipping a favored pair of sneakers into a suitcase that stands packed and at the ready, he brings along a solid argument on green energy: “I run a lot, and in all the major cities of Europe, whenever I’m on the go! I take the opportunity to listen to economic podcasts during a good jog.” Whether he works with institutional, industrial, or political players to promote hydrogen and its applications, it is important for the Sales Director of Plug Power, the world leader in fuel cells, to assiduously maintain his knowledge of the sector. Without claiming to be an activist at heart, the child of the French countryside likes to intervene for a better environment in a growing market by working in green engineering — a branch that surprises as much as it decarbonizes. While he was initially headed for a career in the military, “for the athletic aspect,” Devon recalls a schooling that was not highly praised by faculty — “I’d love to run into some of them again, it would probably tick them off to see me become a shareholder in such a big company.” Not one to expect things to fall into his lap, the former high school student, who could already count on his talents as an electrician to finance his vacations, was aware that with hard work and tenacity, he would be able to make his own luck and destiny. The only thing missing was the discovery of work-study programs, during a technical sales diploma, to draw on this motivation that he holds as a cardinal virtue: “No pain, no gain. When you have the same skills, it’s the investment you put into your work that makes you stand out.”

As soon as he received his master’s degree in industrial marketing and negotiation, he had to cross the Atlantic to reveal his full potential and affirm his aspirations. From then on, and for a decade, immersed in ABB, a company specializing in renewable energies, and in this Canadian culture “stamped by efficiency, autonomy and meritocracy,” the technical salesman did not hesitate to make his mark: “I was the youngest professional to be sent out on the road, and in just six months I was in charge of the largest territory in terms of sales. I was trusted very quickly and ended up taking over the marketing department.” But when the voice of his intuition was coupled to that of his heart, even if it meant mourning the loss of a job that had everything and more, Devon decided to return to Isère; leaving ABB to immediately join Plug Power: “I had the opportunity to join this American company, with a mentality to match. I was aware of my skills, but I still took a big risk by coming back to France! That said, I have no regrets about following my instincts. I have the feeling that I am in the right place at the right time.” In parallel to his career, Devon joined the IFG for an Executive MBA; a curriculum tailored to fit his own schedule: “What was most important to me was the ability to follow along from anywhere, even on an airplane, and to be able to maintain all my professional obligations. I loved the format of this teaching method!”

While studying online topics related to law, human resources, and finance — “it was worth it to adapt to the European market! I also learned how to conduct a personalized live meeting, how to get difficult messages across” —, Devon was humble enough to work at attaining whatever lacked in his prior generalist training. Although dematerialized, this teaching at the IFG also gave him the opportunity to engage moments of complicit camaraderie: the intrepid learner connected with five fellow students, scattered on the continents, bonds of friendship that transcended digital contents. Aspiring now to expand his responsibilities at Plug Power, the young father found his “escape” by helping out on his wife’s ranch — “she is an exceptional woman!” And when the nostalgia of his distant America rushes back in, Devon likes to scan his objectives on larger horizons, maintaining the hope of one day returning there, imagining the gallop of mustangs in stride with other stallions.

Written portrait© Maison Trafalgar | Watercolor drawing © Maison Trafalgar & Camille Romanetto

Updated 18 October 2022