Meet Julien Girard, GBatteries' Hardware Lead

January 14, 2021

Julien joined GBatteries as a Junior Hardware Engineer a few years ago, and quickly grew within the team to a leadership position as our Hardware Lead. We spoke with him about his experience joining the team, the projects we're working on, and why he thinks now is a great time to join GBatteries.

Introduce yourself and tell me a little about how you got drawn to the world of hardware engineering in the first place.

I took electrical engineering at uOttawa and was in the co-op program. I did my first placement with a public service department where I worked on their test team and project management team.

It was in my third co-op when I really started to get into electronics and embedded systems, which is pretty much the job I occupy right now. I joined a small company in Ottawa where we did ​LED lighting systems and controllers. I did a little firmware and a little hardware, so I was already split between those two roles. For a subsequent co-op, I moved to a large company in the defense sector. There I was mostly focused on the hardware.

When I graduated, I went back to the lighting company because I saw greater potential for growth. Because it was smaller, I could take a larger role in what the company was doing. I was there for a full year after graduation, where I oversaw hardware, firmware, and the system integration of the two.

How did you end up at GBatteries?

I started searching for opportunities for personal growth and career development. I knew I wanted something technically interesting and where I could learn on multiple fronts. When I came across the GBatteries’ job posting, I knew right away that I wanted to be part of their team. Two things led me here.

I was looking for more challenging projects, from a technical standpoint. So essentially, working on systems that were more involved in their design. I was able to find that. For example, the platforms we develop and use at GBatteries are very capable in terms of power-handling, measurement acquisition, and processing. This all comes down to the level of performance required for us to develop our technology and achieve our mission.

The other important thing was expertise from senior engineers, so basically in-house experts to help me learn. When I joined GBatteries, I started as a junior member working with leads from other teams that were able to give me guidance when it came to the new concepts that became more complicated boards.

I ended up finding four mentors across different areas of engineering and they all taught me a lot.

What do you like best about GBatteries? What are the most interesting parts of your work?

I really like working in a small, tightly knit team such as ours, where everyone has the opportunity to significantly contribute to the company's success. The environment is fast paced! Everyone wears multiple hats and gets to put a variety of skills to good use. With frequent scrums in place, we collaborate really effectively. Communication between teams is fluid and encouraged.

Most of all, we’re working on some very unique and complex projects at GBatteries. The challenges we encounter are novel and the work is complicated (in a good way)! I’m constantly growing as a designer and as a leader.

"I really like working in a small, tightly knit team such as ours, where everyone has the opportunity to significantly contribute to the company's success"

What are your main tasks/responsibilities in a typical day?

There is really no such thing as a typical day at GBatteries! Each day is different from the last. That said, my day-to-day consists mostly of design work, on all fronts of the embedded team. From high-level scope to detailed implementation and from new project planning to lifecycle support.

Being in a smaller team such as ours, we all try and participate in multiple project and look after each other, making sure no stone is left unturned. As a result, the specific design tools and environment change on a weekly basis for me. For example, I may be involved in low-level firmware design, analog simulation work, schematic capture, PCB design or in-lab prototyping and testing, to name a few.

Aside from my design work, I also work with the rest of the team and managers to close-in on project requirements, resource allocation and task timelines. This is done to make sure all projects get the time and attention they deserve and that we reach the level of quality we strive for as a team.

What do you enjoy doing outside of work?

I love cycling, playing the guitar, and listening to music.

Your position has changed quickly in your time with the company. How did you go from a junior member to where you are now?

I joined GBatteries in February of 2018 as a Junior Hardware Designer. A year later, I became the primary designer on the hardware team. Then this past summer, I moved into a leadership position ​as part of my Hardware Lead role.

Although I didn’t know everything that I needed to know when I was promoted, I had already developed trust within the company, which I think was the biggest factor for me. There were definitely more experienced candidates outside of GBatteries that the company could have brought in to fill the role, but I had established trust. I had demonstrated my work ethic and attention to detail, so that was in my favour when the position became available.

Why should someone looking at GBatteries as a potential employer consider joining?

In two and a half years, I’ve been able to significantly contribute to the company's success, which has been really rewarding. If you’re looking for advancement opportunities and interesting projects, that’s what you will get. Once you build the trust of your co-workers and develop your skills, so many opportunities will arise.  

We're always on the lookout for engineers that are proactive and detail-oriented, wanting to assist on multiple fronts, while developing their areas of expertise to help GBatteries grow. If that sounds like you, definitely consider applying.


Interested in learning more or joining Julien's team? Check out our opportunities or get in touch.

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