CEO Beheersmaatschappij Antwerpen Mobiel (BAM)

What was your position at VITO and what is your current job?

In 1991, I started off as a project leader at VITO, right when it was founded, and quickly became coordinator of the research programme Energy & Environment. Five years later this research programme was split up and I opted for the position of Unit Manager at TAP, Remote Sensing and Atmospheric Processes. I chose to follow my heart, which is set on Remote Sensing and its accompanying technological development.

After 10 years at VITO, I worked at the Public Psychiatric Care centre (OPZ) in Geel for five years, and afterwards decided to take on the position of General Manager at BAM, Beheersmaatschappij Antwerpen Mobiel. We are responsible for major infrastructure works in the Antwerp region and the coordination of everything related to shipyards, works and mobility.

How has your position at VITO influenced your further career?

First of all, VITO has been focusing on internationalisation for quite some time now. As Unit Manager of TAP I visited many countries and organisations in the framework of projects we participated in. We already went on a scientific mission in China back then. You learn that the world is bigger than your own village, your own country. And you learn a lot in a very broad context. You have to cherish and open up this wisdom you develop; the different views and perspectives, but also the various interests that you should consider in your future career. Moreover, I have learned to think in systems, the coherence and relations between processes and the ‘look through’ to the future. What are the obstacles, the possible effects, and what are the breakthroughs you can achieve? It has helped me to get a grip on files and processes a lot faster, but in the organisations I worked for after my career at VITO as well.

What are your best memories of VITO?

There are many. The little things that become reality, pioneering and innovative business. Those things are very satisfying. Very enjoyable work. I remember me philosophising with a colleague and he asked me: “What do you think, between now and two years, our own aircraft?” That was the era in which dreams did come true. Two years later we had our own aircraft for a measuring campaign in the framework of the ESA-APEX* programme. I always look back at my time at VITO with much appreciation and satisfaction. 

APEX: the Hyperspectral ESA Airborne Prism Experiment

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