AdvantageCS has a permanent presence in France, in the person of Philippe van Mastrigt, our director of European Operations. In the past decade, Philippe has become THE key player in our European expansion strategy, and is now engaged in most of our client relationships in Europe. Philippe is involved in marketing, sales, project management, client services, account management, and business development. He wears many hats in a single day---sometimes in a single hour!
How did this come to be?
This July will mark the 10-year anniversary of the Advantage go-live at Bayard Presse in Paris. Philippe was the Bayard project director on that massive project. Prior to that, he led Bayard’s world-wide search for a new subscription system—which led him to Advantage and our first meeting with Philippe. During Bayard’s first year in production operations using Advantage, I asked my executive contacts at Bayard what was next on the docket for Philippe. And therein hatched an interesting idea: What if Philippe were to come to AdvantageCS as our director of European operations? About a year later, that’s exactly what happened, and we had our first employee on continental Europe. (Thank you again to Hubert and Nicolas for making this happen!)
Yes, Philippe is a highly valuable employee, but he has also become a personal friend to many here at AdvantageCS. And oh, what a friend we’ve found in Philippe.
Philippe comes to visit us here in Ann Arbor multiple times every year, and returns home exhausted every time. He’s invited to dinner almost every night in the homes of his AdvantageCS colleagues. He’s been Michigan pheasant hunting several times. He’s brought each of his daughters with him on separate trips, during which he arranged to have his girls hang out with the teenage kids of other employees. After wrapping up his business in Ann Arbor, Philippe took them to interesting spots in Michigan, and stopped off for a weekend of fun and shopping in New York en route back to Paris.
Over a period of months, Philippe worked with the wife of one of our US employees to design, type-set and publish his very own book (a biography of his great uncle who was a French war hero) that is now available online in France.
During his November visit this year, my wife arranged for Philippe to attend a University of Michigan football game (American football). Believe me, it’s quite an experience—just ask Philippe—to be in “The Big House” with 110,000 other spectators, with 95% cheering for the home team.
Philippe has been a great colleague for me as we’ve worked together to expand our business in Europe. My regular visits almost always have Paris as my ‘port of entry’ and departure, and the hotel that has become my home in Europe is just two blocks from the van Mastrigt family home in central Paris. I have been there, literally, about 100 times in the last 10 years, and spend most of that time with Philippe, visiting AdvantageCS clients and prospects, planning, and just being “ACSers” together. Office life 4,000 miles away from your co-workers in the northern US can get a little lonely, so we do our best to pack a month’s worth of ‘co-working’ into my regular visits, and Philippe’s frequent trips to Ann Arbor.
We at AdvantageCS/Ann Arbor have great regard for the talent, experience, and industry connections Philippe brings to the company, and we are incredibly fortunate to have him on the team. In fact, we’re plain lucky that Philippe himself, 12 years ago, found AdvantageCS in his search at Bayard for a subscription system. Oh, what a friend we’ve found in Philippe!