In this interview series, we chat with members of our club to help you get to know them better. Today, we talk to Carmen Barker Lemay about her life and work in the region.
What brought you to the French Riviera? How long have you been here?
Both a dream and a practical matter brought us here.
My husband, Norm Lemay works for the Paris-based chip design firm Sequans Communications. During COVID they bought a team in Sophia Antipolis. As soon as travel opened up, my husband was traveling here a lot to assist in the integration of the team into the wider operation. Adding this to regular visits to Colombes and Reading (UK) meant he was gone a lot, and jet lagged when he was home.
We have two adult children so I casually said, ‘Remember how much we liked Nice when we visited in November of 2000. Perhaps this is a good time to relocate.’ And thus it was manifested!
Could you tell us about your professional career? What do or did you do for work?
I’ve been consulting in climate, energy, and sustainable practices for more than 20 years. I’ve worked with (U.S.) state governments, tribal government, corporations and NGOs on a variety of topics: increasing energy efficiency and conservation, improving the uptake of renewable fuels, sequestering carbon, and creating circular production systems where nothing becomes waste.
What does the company that you work for do?
I was self employed from 2006-2014, and again from 2016 until we moved here in September 2022. I would now prefer to join a firm that shares my values and can use my project design and people and portfolio management skills.
Why did you decide to start your own business?
The first time in 2006, I simply couldn’t find a local consulting practice that was doing what I believed that I could do. I had just spent 6 years managing a group of 30 professionals inside America’s 4th largest electric and gas utility, so I knew what types of services they would purchase externally.
Within a few months of my establishing my consulting practice, several former colleagues were asking me to bid on projects.
What would be your best advice to others thinking about living or working on the French Riviera?
This region is warming fast. I’m curious in your own work what you are doing to mitigate and/or adapt to climate change. What resources do you access to assist you in your efforts?
If you are, or know of local firms, government agencies, or NGOs working in climate or energy, I’d appreciate an introduction.
Fun facts about Carmen!
Since when do you live on the French Riviera?
Where are you originally from?
Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA
What is your favourite wine?
What is your favourite spot on the French Riviera?
What French word, expression or sentence do you find very difficult to pronounce?
I play the flute and sing, so if you ever want to jam….