Innovation & Entrepreneurship
Jean R. Simonnet
Entrepreneur in Residence, Muhlenberg College
Mr. Jean R. Simonnet, Entrepreneur in Residence, has joined Muhlenberg College in the summer of 2008, where he is teaching Entrepreneurship Policy, Capital Venture and Entrepreneurial Practicum. In these courses, he is concentrating on the links between theoretical studies and practical applications in the business world. Mr. Simonnet, who is tri-lingual and a seasoned international executive, graduated from “Ecole Centrale d’Electronique” in Paris, France and has completed additional graduate work at Loughborough University in England, as well as intensive, complementary studies in Health, Safety, and Environment in Holland. During his career, he successively led research and development programs with Corning Glass Works International on photo chromic lenses in Harrodsburg, KY, followed by an 18 year career in technical gases with Air Products and Chemicals, Inc. where he held senior positions in operations and commercial responsibilities across Europe, including being a member of various management committees and boards, at Director and Vice President levels, in England, France, Holland, Belgium and Germany.
Mr. Simonnet founded his own company in France and remained the President and CEO for 8 years. This company, SAGIM, operates in the hydrogen market in Asia, Africa, Eastern Europe and South America. He was also the President of Prometeo, a French association of companies operating in the meteorology sector. At the same time, he was named Vice President Sales and Marketing for HBT, a California start-up developing hydrocarbon reformers producing hydrogen for the fuel cell and car industry. Over the last years as part of his activity as a private consultant, operating his own consulting company, HJS-International Consulting, Mr. Simonnet created the Corporate Health and Safety Department for DCN, the French naval armed fleet. In this responsibility he was directly involved with the construction and commercial activity of the armed vessel sector including nuclear operations, as well as associating with many high-tech contracting companies in Europe, Asia, the Middle East and the USA.
Recently, as an expert in the field of hydrogen, and after research works in hydrogen as a renewable energy, he wrote “Preparing Today for the World of Tomorrow” (unpublished), a synthesis document on the role and perspective of hydrogen in the new economy, seen from a marketing point of view. He has led commercial projects in Africa for HYDRO, a worldwide Norwegian based company in hydrogen production. Across his career progression, he has experienced the challenges and rewards of various positions in several businesses, from Fortune 500 corporations to successful smaller entities. Having been involved in first and second round financing with Business Angels and Venture Capital communities gives him a natural base for this role at Muhlenberg. Mr. Jean Simonnet has recently relocated to the area with his Allentown born wife and their son.