A few days ago I was in a pub in London with a friend that asked me how I started being passionate about Intelligent Mobility and European projects. This question made my mind travel back to the remote past, 25 years ago, when all started. It was good to remember when in those days I was curious about how electronics could be applied to transport after reading about RTTT (Road Transport and Traffic Telematics). The term “telematics” came from the French language at the end of the 1970s merging the words télécommunications (telecommunication) and informatique (informatics).
As this was a topic I wanted to learn more about, I was also interested in understanding whether there were common efforts in this field in Europe or every country was making experiments on its own. Somewhere I had read the European Commission was promoting common efforts by funding specific activities and in 1994, although I was one of the firsts to have an Internet connection and an email address, I wrote a letter to the European Commission to request more documents about it.
Honestly, I didn’t believe I would receive anything back but, after a few weeks, the postman rang my doorbell to deliver a heavy parcel coming from Brussels! With my immense surprise and joy, I opened the parcel and found several documents concerning pilot projects on intelligent transport systems and, in particular, deliverables of the DRIVE I and II projects covering the end of 1980s and beginning of 1990s when, in the meantime the RTTT concept evolved into ITS (Intelligent Transport Systems) which, with some changes in goals and technologies, is still a familiar term in our days.
I was fascinated by the possibility of working with project partners coming from several EU countries (in those days there were only 12 of them), using English as lingua franca, learning from other countries’ experiences, regulations, results, etc.. This was the moment when I decided that my professional field would have been ITS that, whenever possible, be linked to EU projects.
This is actually what I did while working in Italy, which I continued when I moved to the UK in 2006.
I enjoyed working on these topics and I loved EU projects to the extent I submitted my profile to become an Expert Evaluator of the European Commission, which was accepted.
In 2009 I satisfied another goal of mine: becoming an entrepreneur and setting up a consultancy firm. This was the moment when EPN Consulting was set up in London offering assistance on ITS and EU projects as main areas of consultancy and boasting a network of 2,500+ professional contacts in Europe. As many of you may know, becoming an entrepreneur is not an easy decision to take: there is a lot to do, a lot of responsibilities to bear, a huge number of hours per week to work, a lot of books and magazines to read to keep updated on several topics and little certainty of having a salary every month. But that’s it: passion prevailed and, despite the immense workload and risks, I like this venture while still continue to collaborate with the European Commission.
I am not going into details to avoid boring you but as we are at the beginning of a new year when usually each of us makes new year’s resolutions, I intended to report my experience to show you that when there is a serious and committed engagement in reaching a well-defined goal, this is reachable. As someone said: “Be careful about what you dream of, it could become reality”. 😊
EPN Consulting CEO and Founder