Interview with Grégoire Verdon, Secretary General of the Conservatory

Secretary General of the Endowment Fund, Grégoire VERDON is Director of CSR and Heritage of ARQUUS. President LEVACHER entrusted him with the creation of a conservatory in early 2020. One project, three questions.

Grégoire Verdon, Secretary General of the Endowment Fund,

Why did ARQUUS decide to create this Conservatory?

We were already concerned about cultivating the memory of a prestigious family tree, and we started to write the 100-year history of ARQUUS, both in books and in comics. But for years we all found it regrettable that we could not devote enough time to the conservation of vehicles that we had in our car parks and that were deteriorating there. They are signs or stages in the industrial history of Land Defence and above all they are the testimony of millions of hours of thought and work by all our collaborators. It was time to save this treasure and the decision to create this Conservatory was obvious.

What is your strategy for the coming years?

This strategy is extremely simple: it consists, in the first stage, of "saving what exists", by giving shelter to these vehicles which were abandoned and awaiting the sad fate of being scrapped. To do this, we decided to dedicate a space, the Trois Glorieuses, to vehicles that bear witness to our recent history, the post-World War II era. Thanks to solid partnerships and private initiatives, we have been able to enrich this period 1945-2020 in an efficient way, even if we are still far from being exhaustive.

In a second phase, while starting the restoration of some vehicles, we will start looking for vehicles from the previous period, 1918 to 1945. This is an extremely rich period. It is nevertheless a real challenge. In the short or medium term, we will open the Conservatory to the public, which presupposes on the one hand an educational effort and on the other hand a meticulous preparation of the reception and the transformation of this entity into an establishment receiving the public (ERP).

How do you involve ARQUUS employees in this adventure?

It is indeed essential to involve them in this adventure because it is an ARQUUS project that can federate many enthusiasts and their innumerable skills. There are many possibilities: the restoration of vehicles, which will require many hours of volunteer work. We are thinking about creating associations on all our industrial or tertiary sites as soon as possible.

There is also the manufacture of models or dioramas, the exploitation of archives, communication, all areas in which the contribution of our employees' knowledge is extremely valuable.