Long Shot: Sanofi Colleagues Michael Dufault and Steve Williams Chance Meeting Turns into Lasting Friendship
As the old adage says, “it takes a village”. Every Sanofi colleague has their own unique role to play as we work together to chase the miracles of science to improve people’s lives. For Michael Dufault, it’s in R&D at Cambridge Crossing in Massachusetts, more specifically Sanofi’s Biomarkers & Patient Stratification Group. For Steve Williams, it’s as a Packaging Supervisor in Chattanooga, Tennessee, supporting our Consumer Healthcare efforts. While Michael and Steve had never crossed paths while working as colleagues at Sanofi for the past five plus years, another “specialized skill” brought the two of them, and their families, together.
Long snapping, an extremely specialized skill in the game of American football, proved to be the common thread. While Michael and Steve are self-admittedly past their football days, their sons Andrew and Jay are the #1 and #4 ranked long snappers in the country in the class of 2024. It was in Texas three years ago, at a national long snapping competition, that they first met. Fast forward to 2023, and the two families from Tennessee and Massachusetts look forward to getting together several times a year at various competitions across the country.
While they first met in Texas in 2020, it wasn’t until a specialist camp at Georgia Tech in June of 2021 that Michael and Steve realized they both worked for Sanofi. “Even though our sons would be competing against each other for the foreseeable future, my plan was to get to know and become friends with the parents of the Class of 2024 long snappers. That would allow the environment to be competitive and exciting, but also the parents could offer advice and support to each other along the way. Mike and I already knew our lives shared the commonality of long snapping, but sharing our work for Sanofi has definitely strengthened our bond”, explains Steve.
Adds Michael, “I was definitely surprised. The chances of meeting someone from a different state that also works at Sanofi, who’s son is a top ranked long snapper in the class of 2024 have to be at least 1 in a million. And that’s pretty cool. Now when we meet up, it’s like seeing an old friend.”
Both families will be very busy this year and next, as Andrew and Jay play out the rest of their high school football careers, while at the same time making recruiting visits to highly ranked college football powers such as Alabama, Clemson, and South Carolina to name a few.
Here’s wishing both families the best of luck. Enjoy the process!