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Insights Planning safe systems is an engaging challenge in risk management

As part of our #PeopleDriveResults campaign, this week we catch up with Guillaume Palmeira da Silva, a RAMS (Reliability, Availability, Maintainability, Safety) analyst focused on risk analysis. Guillaume is part of the Safety and Systems Assurance team and is based in Montreal.

Tell us a little bit about your professional background and what a RAMS analyst does

I started out doing an economics degree at Aix-Marseilles University in Aix-en-Provence near Marseille, but changed it to a logistics degree and further specialized in integrated logistics support (ILS) in my last year at the Air Academy of Salon de Provence (l’École de l’air et de l’espace). 

I was a civilian but I was with military students doing engineering school also specializing in ILS through the army in France. I worked in France for a short stint after graduating, but moved to Montreal in 2018.

What inspired you to become an engineer and then a risk analyst?

I loved the logistics courses at university, and then I completed a master’s degree in ILS because I was interested in the logistics of big systems, and beyond that the strategic parts of planning and executing large projects in big domains such as aircraft and rail and transit. The other reason I chose ILS because it was the more difficult choice for my master’s degree and only two civilians were selected to join the military school; I liked the challenge of it.

I’ve only been in my current risk analyst position since last year, so it’s very new for me. I jumped at the opportunity to work in RAMS (Reliability, Availability, Maintainability, Safety) engineering because I wanted to see the other aspects of this kind of job. Risk analysis is all about safety—making sure all equipment and systems being planned in a project is safe to use interests me.

What is the most interesting thing you're working on right now?

Definitely the Central Station (Gare Centrale) safety notes. The station is part of the Réseau express métropolitain (REM) project in Montreal, and is being built inside a heritage building. There are lots of third parties, so we have to manage to do the project as the client wants, and also coordinate with the third parties to have everything done properly according to all the standards and the safety analysis. It’s very interesting and challenging.

What has had the biggest impact on your risk analysis career development to date?

Improving my knowledge of risk analysis. Because I’ve never done RAMS before, I was worried I would not be a good fit on this work. It’s very challenging—I’m learning a lot—and really gratifying as well. Sometimes I recognize that I can do it and it feels good.

What is the best advice you were ever given? Who was it from?

Trust in yourself, and in your capacity. You can do it! Both my boss and my girlfriend tell me that. When people say that to you, even if you don’t have all the capacity and capabilities to do it yet, it’s a way to push you and to motivate you to do good work. And in the end, almost every time, you will succeed.

What is your favorite quote, and why?

“Love the life you live, live the life you love.” – Bob Marley

This quotation defines the word “happiness” the most for me. It’s about accepting your life as it is (whether there’s one, two or 50 years ahead of you)—you have to enjoy it, share it and live it at 100 percent to be happy. Nothing will ever be enough, so you have to settle down and enjoy what you have. Doing that, two different people with two totally different lives can have the same amount of happiness living and loving their life.

Tell us one interesting fact about yourself

I was born in France and lived there until I moved to Canada, but my mother tongue is Portuguese because my parents moved from Portugal just a little while before I was born. So as a result of that, I speak four languages: Portuguese, French, English and Spanish.

Are you interested in becoming a Risk Analysis expert?

If you think a risk analysis job might be a good fit for you, learn more about safety and systems assurance expertise and safety and systems assurance career opportunities.