A Series of Firsts: HSC Competitor Makes First Trip to IPC APEX EXPO with Support from MATRA Electronique Team

Nathalie Kaladgew, MATRA Electronique Photo credit: IFTEC

MATRA Electronique, located in Lacroix-Saint-Ouen, France, designs and develops electrical and electronic equipment for aerospace, military, oil exploration and medical equipment. With a workshop of approximately 120 employees manually hand soldering components to circuit boards, MATRA has a very skilled workforce. Nathalie Kaladgew, a 10-year employee of MATRA, entered a regional hand soldering championship for the first time in 2018, and won the title of hand soldering championship for France, which included an all expense paid trip to San Diego, California, to participate in the first-ever IPC Hand Soldering World Championship and Rework Competition.  

MATRA encourages its employees to participate in hand soldering competitions, even hiring a coach to help employees to do their best at competitions. When Nathalie made her plans to compete at IPC APEX EXPO, she was accompanied by Anthony Priouzeau, her coach, Cecile Mathieu, the HR director at MATRA, and Frederic Wilmot, MATRA Electronique CEO. It was an exciting experience for members of the MATRA staff, all visiting the United States for the first time. Cecile Mathieu shared her thoughts on what it meant to MATRA to compete in this international event.

“Every skill level in every job is important to MATRA,” said Ms. Mathieu, “and sending a competitor to the World Championship at IPC APEX EXPO for the very first time was a thrill for the entire company. The skillset required for intricate hand soldering work is very technical and specialized and requires concentration at the highest level. By working together, the employees on the workshop floor have a very supportive, collegial environment, knowing that everyone’s job is critical to the success of MATRA Electronique.”

Participating in the hand soldering world championship and rework competition was important to the company, says Ms. Mathieu, “because it increases our knowledge and helps us learn, as well as helps us to recruit more employees to work at MATRA. Participating has been an incredible learning opportunity for us to increase the visibility of our company, our international presence, and it benefits our training center as we increase the skills of our staff. We are a team. Nathalie was not coming here alone. We are all together, supporting her.”

“I’m very proud of the skills of our staff,” said Frederic Wilmot, MATRA Electronique CEO “and the fact that our participation in the hand soldering world championship and rework competition provides wonderful visibility for MATRA Electronique.”