Employee Spotlight: Andre Fregeau



Andre Fregeau - Manager, Alternative Fuels for TÜV SÜD AmericaAndre Fregeau

Manager, Alternative Fuels for TÜV SÜD America

#FutureInYourHands – This motto properly describes how TÜV SÜD empowers its employees. It’s best to hear from TÜV SÜD executives and staff members what their personal experiences are working for TÜV SÜD.

Can you describe your role within the company?
My main involvement in TÜV relates to the testing and certification of pressure components for compressed natural gas (CNG) and compressed hydrogen (GH2) fuel vehicles. In this role I help clients through all stages of certification, i.e. review of design, review of applicable standard/regulation, testing of the pressure component, reporting and final approval/certification.

How did you choose this career path?
The university I graduated from has a hydrogen research center, and at that time it was predicted we would be running out of oil in 25 years (that assessment completely changed once new oil extraction methods were later discovered). I remember thinking that hydrogen presents a unique solution to our energy crisis and was a clean form of energy. On top of that, it’s the most abundant element on our planet. Two years later, I started working as a program manager for a startup company manufacturing hydrogen generators via electrolysis (splitting hydrogen and oxygen from water). From that moment on, I never stopped being involved in the field of hydrogen.

What do you enjoy most about your job and/or engineering in particular?
I enjoy the Alternative Fuels market as it’s in constant evolution and the technology is getting better year after year. Most people don’t realize it, but we are more and more surrounded with alternative fuel vehicles. For instance, airport taxis & buses, garbage trucks, UPS/mail trucks typically run with CNG. GH2 vehicles are more limited but increasing fast year after year. Several automakers now have GH2 vehicles available for lease or purchase.

In terms of my job, I enjoy that I’m involved with the customers on all project phases. Customers greatly value having someone that will help them through each step leading to an approval/certification.

Is there an engineering-related innovation that you find fascinating or are inspired by?
Most people are fascinated by electric or hydrogen vehicles; they are attention grabbers and always serve as a good conversation starter. However, the concept of these vehicles isn’t new as electric and hydrogen vehicles were invented in late 19th century.

I personally find smart phones to be one of the most fascinating innovations. Phones used to only carry voice and have now become embedded in our lives, soon we’ll all have one implanted under our skin. They’ve taken over! Smart phones have reached across all demographics, even to poor countries where people struggle to eat three meals a day.

What do you think this industry will look like 20 years from now? How will it have changed?
I think the alternative fuel industry will evolve and mature to a point where it will eventually become a commodity. I see relevant standards and regulations adapting and becoming less stringent as the technology becomes more advanced. However, I think our involvement at TÜV SÜD will always be needed to ensure that the pressurized components remain safe for the end-user. The global volume of business may increase as more customers will be entering that field, but more competitors will also join it.

What advice do you have for young people considering entering this field?
Be ready to adapt and live in a constant changing environment. Customers are no longer limited by geographical boundaries, so business is to be found anywhere on the globe.

When not working, how do you enjoy your spare time?
Being a husband and parent certainly takes a great portion of my spare time, but I enjoy every moment of it. I like physical fitness including swimming and light weight lifting for staying healthy and “forever young”. I also enjoy motorcycle riding as it always gives me the opportunity to clear my mind.

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