Safran USA employee spotlight
February 23, 2017
Julien Sedlak, Site Engineering Manager - Safran Electronics & Defense Avionics USA, LLC
Who: Julien Sedlak is the Site Engineering Manager for Safran Electronics & Defense Avionics, based in Costa Mesa, California. He manages engineering teams in "The Golden State," as well as those in Texas. Before joining Safran in 2004, Sedlak spent four years in the Swiss Air Force working on air traffic control and flight safety, and earned his Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) commercial aircraft pilot license with several ratings. He holds a Master of Science from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne, Switzerland.
When: Sedlak started at Safran in the Computation and Simulation Department at Safran Aircraft Engines, where he worked on finite element codes to recreate the impact of a broken blade inside the compressor casing. He then moved to the Engineering Department, which enabled him to work on the design and manufacture team focused on high-pressure compressor casings for an engine developed for regional jets.
Sedlak subsequently transferred to Safran Electronics & Defense, where he was part of the design and testing project to equip airborne cameras on helicopters. Finally, Sedlak had "the opportunity of a lifetime" to join Safran Electronics & Defense Avionics USA, LLC, managing the engineering teams in Texas and California.
What: Sedlak's primary function is to design and certify pilot controls and panels, integrated cockpit display systems, flight controls and autopilot systems for aircraft and helicopters. He relies on his experience as a licensed pilot to understand the needs of end-users, so that he can help deliver the best results for all Safran customers.
According to Sedlak, the key to his job is communications and management: "My project team and I need to get assignments done on-time, on-budget and with the highest degree of quality. To achieve these goals, communication is key."
Memorable moment: Even though Sedlak is constantly in communication with customers, he rarely has the opportunity to fly with them. In June 2016, he was invited to meet a Safran customer in Spokane, Washington who had performed maintenance on an Airbus AS350 helicopter – equipped with the fully-integrated cockpit display system that Sedlak helped create. As this customer was to perform a back-to-service acceptance flight, Sedlak went airborne with the helicopter, flying over Mount Spokane.
"This was the best classroom experience ever! I had the opportunity to see first-hand just how smooth, efficient and powerful our products are here at Safran," he said.
Challenges: For Sedlak, being an engineer is akin to being a perpetual student, constantly aware of compliance with the latest technology and the regulatory rules to successfully deliver results. "As the Site Engineering Manager, it is my job to understand every evolution as quickly and comprehensively as possible to best serve the customers. This process is never boring as there is always a new challenge to overcome," he explained.
Why Safran: "Safran's diverse range of cutting-edge products gives me an opportunity to work on the technology of tomorrow in an industry that has fascinated me since I was a child."