tbmaestro: a 100% UTC enterprise!

In the Paris offices of tbmaestro, a handful of UTC graduates are busy modelling physical items - buildings and urban infrastructures – with the objective to propose optimal management for public and private authorities in charge, for local authorities and for the State. The company was set up by Jean-Pascal Foucault, a research scientist and lecturer in urban system engineering, and who pursues a fairly straightforward HR policy – UTC graduates will be recruited as a priority!

tbmaestro: a 100% UTC enterprise!

And the results are convincing too: over 6.7 million m², spread over 1 690 building premises are managed with tbmaestro which, for its second fiscal year has doubled its revenues and its profits. It has signed a contract with Aéroports de Paris to manage the Roissy Charles-de-Gaulle (CDG) hub, plus Orly and Le Bourget airports up to year 2020. "This is a solid enough base for us to recruit 5 new permanent staff", indicates proudly Jean-Pascal Foucault.

Each building must be seen as a unique entity

Jean-Pascal Foucault, who hails from Canada, is a graduate from École Polytechnique Montreal, and it was his intention to move into building operations and maintenance when he finished his studies. In the early 1990s, Canada was hit by a serious economic crisis, "there were no jobs going in design of new buildings but some in operating existing premises", recalls Jean-Pascal Foucault who had a 2 M$ Can to rehabilitate a school. In order to reconcile economic, legal, environmental and social constraints as best he could, Jean-Pascal Foucault started looking for methods available in France, in the USA, in Switzerland, etc. This did not produce anything tangible and none of the solutions he saw seems satisfactory inasmuch as they did not consider each building as a unique entity. That was when and why he set out and developed the bases for his future service offer and the software package tbmaestro, a buzz word (in French) for Dashboard, Modelling, Analysis, Strategic and Operational Assessment.

'Like the game Tetris!'

The tbmaestro tool proposes a multi-scale and inter-time scale representation of the metabolism and life cycles for physical entities. "After an audit is carried out, we must be able, just like in the game Tetris, to provide aids to decisions with a limited amount of information", says Jean-Pascal Foucault. The final objective is to be able to answer the following simple question; "With 1 000 euros, what are the most urgent maintenance jobs to be done? What should my priorities be? And by applying successive audits to the buildings analyzed, tbmaestro can build up a film of their evolution so as to preserve the heritage value in the quality requirement window defined by the client, as a function of the expected uses. "

"Tbmaestro reintroduces the physics of materials and renews the engineering options in economic acfrive building management models. It enables the client to bring operational and strategic considerations into line. It gives a short term, mid-term and long range visibility to evolution in terms of risk assessment", summarizes Jean-Pascal Foucault.

His approach then took a book form in 2003, published by the Presses Internationales de Polytechnique. Following a lecture he gave at the AFIM meeting (French association for maintenance managers and engineers), Jean-Pascal Foucault was approached by Manuela Sechilariu, from the UTC Urban System Engineering Department (GSU), as well as by the Aéroports de Paris (ADP) consortium. Jean-Pascal Foucault accepted to lecture at UTC. _ "President François Peccoud assigned me the mission to set up a company using tbmaestro given the interest manifested by the Paris area airport authorities ADP. I accepted even though I did not especially have an entrepreneurial fibre!" smiles Jean-Pascal Foucault in retrospect, he who became Director of UTC-GSU for 6 years!

Hiring UTC graduates

The tbmaestro package was installed on the 300 000 m² platform of CDG Airport. The first results were positive and the solution was extended to the other Paris area airports (Orly and Le Bourget). With respect to new certifications needed in "sustainable" HQE, BREAM and LEED buildings, tbmaestro provides an improved dimension for risk assessment and control. "Very often, the risk managers are disappointed with their certified building assets after 3 to 5 years existence: expected performance is just not there. Good maintenance is the key to success. It is the definition of sustainable development in the real acceptation of the term", reminds Jean-Pascal Foucault. In 2008, he decided to move out from the UTC incubator UTEAM, and he pays homage to this unit: "Without their help, none of this would have been possible." When one his former students Claire Duclos called him to see if he had ideas for job openings, he invited her to join in. She officially created the company and today is the CEO. Ever since the incubator days and to date, tbmaestro has generated over 30 internships and some 25 first jobs for UTC graduates, between Montreal and Paris. The client catalogue now includes the town of Niort with the aim to modelise all its public buildings to fight ageing phenomena and to ensure quality of life style for the local citizens. It received an award Territoria d'Or for the city's overall plan - signed tbmaestro! "It is really spectacular for the young graduates who create their company. I continue to accompany and encourage them, but I have one big double wish: autonomy and pleasure", concludes Jean-Pascal Foucault for whom the entrepreneurial action is "devastating but so gratifying!"