Testia Experts: Jean Michel Bieysse, Retired Responsivle Level 3 (NDT)

In our article series “Testia Experts, we present short interviews with our employees – the experts that really make Testia what it is. In this issue, Jean Michel Bieysse reflects on his career as Responsible Level 3 (NDT) on the occasion of his recent retirement.

What exactly does the L3 Responsible position involve?

The responsible level 3 is the person who assures compliance with requirements in terms of training and certification of NDT personnel. This is a position which is defined in the EN 4179 and NAS 410 standards and which is mandatory for companies carrying out non-destructive testing.

Delegated by the company director, the responsible level 3 enforces the standards and ensures the qualification of employees in their respective NDT methods and techniques.

Level 3 support means that our Testia Level 3 represents external companies acting as the responsible level 3 for them, but also as a technical level 3. It is a multifaceted profession, because you interact with a lot of different companies, roles and products. And you are responsible for everything related to NDT that is carried out in these companies you are responsible for.

It is a varied job, but also very challenging on a social and family level because 75 % of the time you are traveling. On the other hand, it also means having a lot of autonomy: You have your portfolio of clients to manage on a commercial and technical level, you contribute to action plans, you organize your trips and schedule etc.

To fulfill the position as responsible level 3, one must… ?

The regulations are very clear: you must have at least a level 3 qualification in one of the NDT methods. Then, you can be assisted by other level 3 inspectors for methods, where you don’t have the qualification yourself.

In terms of personality, you must be able to communicate both with management and the teams, so “manager coach” skills are necessary: How to lead, discuss and exchange with all kinds of colleagues, to ensure compliance to the standards as well as Testia’s activity and at the same time be able to manage the qualification and training of the NDT personnel.

Could you tell us about your career path?

I joined at Testia in 2000, so 24 years ago, when it was called “NDT Expert”, and I’ve been doing NDT since 1988. But let’s start from the beginning: when I was 18, I joined the Paris firefighters for 5 years. Afterwards, I was hired by an Airbus subcontractor in Toulouse, specialized in surface treatment and NDT. There, I spent more than 12 years learning the skills of my profession.

Then, I managed to obtain funding to do what I had dreamed of for a long time: a professional helicopter pilot’s license. It took me a little over 2 years and a lot of energy because I continued to work, studied in the evenings and flew during weekends. After this period, I arrived at Testia (NDT Expert). I started my training in penetrant and magnetic particle testing (PT and MT). During this period, I was able to be trained in radiography inspection (Camari, French Certificate of ability to handle industrial radiology equipment) and I succeeded at obtaining level 3 qualifications for three NDT methods.

After almost 12 years, I moved on to a new role for level 3 support and at the examination center, in order to take care of clients for penetrant, magnetic particle and radiography testing. Later on, I took over a managing role in Testia’s inspection and engineering departments. 4 years ago, I was offered the position of responsible level 3, which I held until my retirement in January 2024, when I handed it over to my successor.

Indeed, we can say that my career at Testia has been very enriching, as I was able to work in diverse positions and activities!

Do you remember your first day at Testia / NDT Expert?

Oh yes, I was lost! At that time there were 16 or 17 people in the company, and everyone participated in everything – we were working multi-functions. I wasn’t used to this, because my previous experiences were in companies where everything was regulated. At Testia at that time it was completely different. So it was a little challenging and confusing at the beginning, until I really appreciated it. There was real autonomy for everyone, with trust from managers. I really liked this sense of confidence and autonomy.

How has the atmosphere at Testia evolved, developing from 20 employees over two decades ago to currently more than 500?

We have developed from a small hands-on team to an international group, so things are changing, especially in terms of operations, a growing process structure and internal collaborations – locally and transnationally. On the other hand, what has not changed is the team spirit of sharing, mutual assistance and trust. With all the managers I have worked with, there was always a base of trust and good communication.

Do you have any advice for today’s young generation? Either for those who want to discover the NDT world or those who have no clear career path in mind yet.

Sometimes, it is necessary to step out of your comfort zone and give things a try. If you only watch others do it, you can’t gain your own experiences or even know if you like it or not. We may dream of a certain situation, a job, an environment, but at some point, we have to actually give it go. It can really open doors to discover our potential.

We do have many interesting options in the field of NDT, there is a whole range of professions: Take me as an example, I have tried out everything. It opens your mind and increases your knowledge, as you meet other people and encounter different ways of thinking. It’s really interesting and helps you grow both professionally and personally.

Thanks for taking the time for this interview!

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