“Continuous improvement, that's my passion! And motivating people to make them happy to come to work, that's why I do it.”

From Process Engineer to M&E Director Benelux

What I really enjoy: when people encourage each other and are genuinely interested in each other. That's good for the working atmosphere and makes everyone glad to come to work.


A look behind the scenes

After my studies in Chemistry Technology at the TU Delft, I spent around three years working as a Project and Process Engineer for two engineering bureaus. This gave me a glimpse behind the scenes at many large companies, in a range of sectors. When I applied to Perfetti Van Melle for the position of Process Engineer, I had already gained the necessary experience with most aspects of the engineering sector and I was familiar with the challenges of the food industry.

Technology...... fantastic fun!

I got the job! As Process Engineer, I work on engineering and optimising the production system in sweet factories. Interesting and varied, often in small project teams with different people and multiple production locations in the Benelux. And technical work too: making process calculations for pumps, pipe systems, water purification installations and air treatment cabinets, for example, but also drafting P&IDs, machine, valve and instrument lists and drawing up layout diagrams. Boring? Never! Just really interesting!

Overseas experience makes you creative

In Indonesia and Poland, I worked as a Project Engineer on the installation of production lines. There, you quite literally started with nothing and then, after a few months, sweets started rolling off the production line. Working with local businesses requires patience, particularly in countries where they regard agreements differently. The reward was then even greater when you ultimately found a working method and started achieving results. Creativity is also quite useful. In the Netherlands, for example, the measurement instruments were placed at a height of 1.60m but in Indonesia, we found out that the operators are much shorter than the Dutch. Interesting...

Not prone to panic...

Leading projects, e.g. in Romania or Spain, suited me. Managing people, making contact with clients and suppliers, monitoring budgets, organising things... With concrete projects where you could motivate people with enthusiasm and compliments; I took to it like a fish to water. My foreign 'adventures' have made me much more resourceful and decisive. I don't panic easily and that has always helped me make decisions.

Flexi-time

Once my son Tom was born, I didn't want to do any further foreign projects. But it wasn't a problem; I was able to work part-time and lead projects for our Benelux branches. It was fantastic because I had time for my family, friends and hobbies, all of which are very important to me. But then I saw the Plant Manager vacancy in Breda. I really wanted the job. The problem was that it was a full-time position and my children (by then we had Tom and also Ruben) were only 7 and 2. I suggested working the 36 hour week over 4 days, plus a Wednesday evening. I could work my hours but also be home for a whole day for the children.

Sustainable production

Once evert three months, we work with the Plant Managers from our branches in Breda, Weert and Sittard/Leuven, on drafting an update for the energy projects, because we continuously invest in solutions: for our steam installations, the compressed air installations, heat recovery, ventilation, air treatment... With solar panels, we also save around 65,000 m3 in gas in Breda and provide some of our electricity needs. And what's great is that new technologies are always being developed; the push towards sustainability never stops. Continuous improvement, that's my passion!

New challenge

After working as Plant Manager for two years, a new challenge came my way. The experience I've amassed in more than 10 years within international engineering projects could now be applied in the position of Manufacturing & Engineering Director for the Benelux. Yet another step up my career ladder in which I could develop personally, but also acquired a say in the Management Team.