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Of Interest

See archived entries

Getting it right

Krista Dulon

''What really counts at the end of a project is quality,'' says Anthoula Chatzivasileiou, the new Quality Assurance Civil Engineer at ITER. (Click to view larger version...)
''What really counts at the end of a project is quality,'' says Anthoula Chatzivasileiou, the new Quality Assurance Civil Engineer at ITER.
Once upon a time, a group of animals got together to compare, and brag, about how many offspring they had. "Two!" said the Black Bear. "Five!" said the Cheetah. "Six!" said the Wolf. "I have only one cub," said the Lion after they had all spoken, "but it's quality and not quantity that matters!"

For Anthoula Chatzivasileiou, Quality Assurance Civil Engineer at ITER, this story, heard from a Quality Assurance trainer in Greece, says it all. "After all of the bulldozers, the cement and the turmoil, what really counts at the end of a project is quality," she laughs.

Anthoula joined ITER three weeks ago. Her role will be to oversee the quality of the construction and buildings from a civil engineering point of view, verifying that they conform to specified ITER requirements. She'll be cooperating closely with the Civil Construction and Site Support (CCS) Office at ITER and the European Domestic Agency. Construction hasn't begun yet, but there's a lot to do in advance to make sure that all parties, from the on-site foreman to the chief engineer, know what their quality assurance roles and responsibilities are.

Trained as a civil engineer in Thessaloniki, the second-largest city in Greece, Anthoula spent 18 years as part of a construction company specialized in large, and frequently international, projects such as natural gas pipelines, bridges, and tunnels. At the creation of their quality assurance department back in 1996 she was invited to become involved ... and there she stayed.

"The motto of quality assurance is 'Do it right the first time' and that's what I like about this field," says Anthoula. "Ideally in a project, cost, quality and time all line up. Making mistakes means more time, and more money, and that's what we try to avoid."

Anthoula is settling into her new life in Provence, where she'll soon be joined by her 10-year-old son. Her daughter hopes to study in France on the Erasmus European exchange program next year. "I already feel at home here," she says. "There aren't huge differences between the southern-French and Greek ways of life ... and let's not forget that Marseille was founded by the Greeks in 600 BC!" She's also enthusiastic about the ITER adventure. "The whole world is facing the energy challenge, and here at ITER we're trying to do something about it. When the project is over, I look forward to saying "I was also there!"



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