MAGAZINE #1 – 2015 WWW.WTCNL.COM
MAGAZINE OF COOPERATING WORLD TRADE CENTERS IN THE NETHERLANDS
WTC GOES GLOBAL 46TH GENERAL ASSEMBLY IN MANILA RICK NIEMAN HIS SPECIAL BOND WITH AMERICA EXPAT LIFE ‘THE DUTCH SPIRIT DREW US BACK’
TALENT SPECIAL THE IMPORTANCE OF COMPETENCES
MAURITS VAN ORANJE, THE SOURCE
‘Entrepreneurs no longer have a comfort zone’
MAKING A DIFFERENCE IN FINDING FINANCE PROFESSIONALS
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Coverstory Maurits van Oranje, Felix van der Houwen and Michel van Honk – The Source ‘What connects us, is that we dare to be co-entrepreneurs’
Interview Taco Carlier – VANMOOF
World Wide WTC
Gadgets for the business traveller
WTC meets the world
Column Lianne van den Boogaard – WTC∙E Business Society
Post Event Report: 46th GA at WTC Metro Manila
The expat experiences of Amal and Benjamin Le Collen 8 entrepreneurs about their most memorable business trip, source of inspiration and talent.
‘Building a network takes people’
Interview Eelco Osse - Boessenkool
Well prepared for international business
36. SPECIAL: TALENT
‘I like the ‘Yes we can!’ mentality’
6 things entrepreneurs can ‘learn from love’ to grow their business
Business Maria Pinelli - EY
Interview Rick Nieman
On the move
‘New York is the world’s greatest city for cycling’
36. 38. 41.
Europe boasts many of the world’s best educational institutions Interview: Ilze Lamers – Michael Page Column: Danny Hollestelle – Businesswoman of the Year 2015
Facts & Figures about One World Trade Center
COLOPHON WTC-NL magazine is issued by ASEGA Media on behalf of WTC Netherlands (WTCs Almere, Amsterdam, Eindhoven, Leeuwarden, Rotterdam, Schiphol Airport, The Hague and Twente). www.wtcnl.com ASEGA Media Parnassusweg 819, 9th floor, 1082 LZ, Amsterdam (UN- Studio, Zuidas), T +31 (0)20 820 39 89 email@example.com - www.asega.nl Editor-in-chief: Milou Peeters Management: Bob Oostelbos Sales Executives: Romy Lange, Karin Starreveld Art Director: Marleen Klijn Translation: Taalcentrum-VU Final Editor: Robyn Grafton
Editors/contributors: Milou Peeters, Mandy Tromp, Christine Spanjaard, Josée Westrik, Iris van Iersel, Danny Hollestelle, Lianne van den Boogaard, Floortje Osnabrug, Myrna van Gils, WTC-NL, WTCA Photography: Jalisa Oudenaarde, Wouter van Ierssel, Selma Hengeveld, WTC-NL, WTCA Editorial Advisory Board: Patricia van Drongelen, Robert Anemaet Thanks to: Maurits van Oranje, Felix van der Houwen, Michel van Honk, Rick Nieman, Taco Carlier, Ilze Lamers, Amal Le Collen, Benjamin Le Collen, Eelco Osse, Maria Pinelli Printed by: Q-Promotions Drukwerk Print run each edition: 5.000 copies Frequency: Two times a year 2015/2016 Advertisements: Please contact ASEGA Media at T +31 (0)20 820 39 89 or firstname.lastname@example.org Copyright: © 2015 ASEGA Media. All rights reserved. Nothing appearing in this magazine may be copied or reproduced, in any matter whatsoever, unless explicit permission has been given in writing.
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CUBA LIBRE Who would have thought it? Now that the cold has passed, both literally and figuratively, the trading fever in Cuba is set to rise rapidly to tropical heights. After the historic handshake between Barack Obama and Raúl Castro, the Netherlands is one of the countries clamouring to re-establish economic ties with the land of salsa, cigars, classic cars and the world’s best known cocktail, the Cuba Libre - or ‘free Cuba’. Let us hope that this sentiment prevails, with international trade at last able to flourish as private enterprise is given more freedom on the island. At the end of April the Netherlands Council for Trade Promotion (NCH) took a delegation of seventeen Dutch companies to Cuba and, because of the enthusiasm to explore opportunities there, a second mission is already being planned for November. I just wonder when its ‘mobile motor museum’ is going to be livened up with buses from VDL of Eindhoven!
van der Houwen and Michel van Honk, at the WTC in Amsterdam’s Zuidas business district. They may have posed like well-behaved schoolboys for the camera, but out of shot this trio of hands-on entrepreneurs were all laughs. Also particularly inspiring was the interview with retiring TV newsreader Rick Nieman about having the courage to spread your wings. The photo shoot at WTC Schiphol Airport, with a backdrop of arriving and departing flights, really added to the symbolism. Other features in this issue include a Talent Special, including a column by Dutch Businesswoman of the Year 2015 Danny Hollestelle of Koninklijke Hollestelle. Ilze Lamers of recruitment specialist, Michael Page, also explains the best way for businesses to win the loyalty of the talented Generation Y. Globalisation and a changing jobs market make that a complex challenge, she says, but are also what make this a great time to be in business. I second that totally. Enjoy reading this first edition of WTC-NL magazine. Perhaps with a refreshing Cuba Libre to hand!
BUILDING THE GLOBAL TRADE NETWORK
It is fantastic that international business cooperation continues to expand in this way, further building the global trade network. And cooperation is what this new magazine is about, too. It is an initiative by WTC-NL, the association formed in 2014 by the eight Dutch World Trade Centers: Almere, Amsterdam, Eindhoven, Leeuwarden, Rotterdam, Schiphol Airport, The Hague and Twente.
In this first edition of this WTC-NL magazine the Dutch WTCs bring you up to speed with the world of national and international commerce in which they operate. An inspiring world that is not just about business, but fun as well! For example, I look back with huge pleasure to my meeting with the founders of The Source, Maurits van Oranje and his partners Felix
PS. The next issue is due out on 27 November and includes an IT and Communication special
Drs. Milou Peeters Editor-in-chief WTC-NL magazine firstname.lastname@example.org
‘WHAT CONNECTS US, IS THAT WE DARE TO BE CO-ENTREPRENEURS’ Michel van Honk, Maurits van Oranje and Felix van der Houwen
in devising and implementing new business strategies,” Van Oranje says. “Our focus lies on innovation and forward thinking, in order to actually achieve the growth the company – be it large or small – envisioned. We try to come up with ideas that will actually make a difference, and consequently, we put those ideas into practice.” “But we don’t see ourselves as consultants,” Van der Houwen adds. “Consultancy comprises merely 20% of our job, whereas we devote 80% of our time to actively implementing our ideas. We have a handson mentality, enabling companies to grow by offering strategies in marketing, communication, finances, sales, legal matters, or whatever else is required.”
This year, Maurits van Oranje and Felix van der Houwen see their tenth anniversary at the helm of their company The Source. Along with partner Michel van Honk, they are based at the WTC building in Amsterdam’s Zuidas district. We talked to them about ‘handson’ entrepreneurship, business opportunities and breaking with tradition.
Partnership In a word, those who work for The Source are ‘doers’. Michel van Honk, a partner since 2011, explains the philosophy behind their work. “We apply ‘disruptive’ business models, where we strive to come up with a unique concept, rather than continuing on the road travelled by everyone else. To name an example: after offering an innovative solution to a business partner – a term we prefer over client – we remain closely involved because we actively keep working with this business partner to help put these ideas into practice. As a consequence,
Hands-on mentality In 2006, following a successful management career, with leading companies such as Philips and Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, Maurits van Oranje decided to start his own business. He teamed up with business partner Felix van der Houwen to found The Source, a company that helps businesses to actively achieve their growth plans and ambitions. This is why they chose ‘Catalyzing growth’ as their company’s slogan. “We started The Source because we noticed that many companies had difficulty
Houwen. “Because you’ll have to be able to cope with working under constant commercial pressure, and to forego payment if you haven’t met your targets, or fail to bring in new customers. What connects us, is that we dare to be actual co-entrepreneurs in specific sectors, particularly in areas such as sustainability and computer automation. Of course we cannot handle everything ourselves. Sometimes a project will involve activities such as producing a television commercial, which we delegate to specialists in that area. Given the nature of our business, it would be impractical to have permanent staff on hand for every type of activity that may be required.”
we build up a close relationship with this company. It evolves into a genuine partnership, in which we often spend twenty or thirty hours a week working on location. Van Oranje: “We do not charge by the hour. That would become prohibitively expensive. For that reason, we partly invest our own hours into the job to keep up front costs low. What we don’t say to a company is, ‘here’s our idea – let us know how you get on.’ We remain actively involved throughout, working to achieve the best possible results. Of course, putting an idea into practice will often require changes within the organisation, and change is bound to cause friction. But without friction, there’s no polish, so we will carry on polishing until we’ve reached perfection!”
‘YOU NEED TO LEAD THE CHANGE IN YOUR BUSINESS’
From start-up to corporate The Source’s added value comprises a variety of aspects. “We often see companies come up with a new product or technology, while having absolutely no idea how it should be successfully marketed,” says Van der Houwen. “They lack the experience and/or the time. And that is where we come in.” “I have had twenty years of experience as a managing director of several marketing and communication consultancies,” Van Honk adds. “And in that capacity, I have worked with a wide variety of leading companies. Maurits and Felix share that experience in various business sectors. It is our unique selling point.” “I think we can claim an excellent mix of experience, ranging from direct involvement in a small start-up to working in a large »
Not a traditional consultancy model The Source has purposely opted to remain relatively small, as far as the number of partners and employees is concerned. “It’s not our ambition to become a company with a hundred people on the payroll, which is often the case within the traditional consultancy model. We on the other hand prefer to focus on content and personal contact,” Van Oranje states. “This is why we have three partners instead of ten,” adds Van der
corporate setting,” Van Oranje says. “We know what it takes to get things done. Many small and medium-sized enterprises limit their focus to the present situation. We make a difference by looking ahead: for instance, by planning an effective growth strategy. Another talent we share, is that we are able to come up with straightforward ideas on a strategic level, that seem not to have occurred to anyone else. In many cases, the solution is relatively close at hand, but it is all a question of being able to see the larger picture and how everything ties in with everything else.” Unique renewable energy generation by S2NRG Apart from The Source, the partners have recently set up a new enterprise: S2NRG (pronounced ‘S to Energy’). “We were already involved in several sustainability projects, one of which prompted this new initiative. We saw such enormous business potential, that we decided to team up with an American technologically based enterprise to start up S2NRG,” explains Van Honk. “Energy resources are under strain worldwide,” continues Van Oranje. “In the Western world, we see that fossil fuel sources are not inexhaustible. We believe that the solution lies in renewable energy, and particularly in what we call ‘industrial renewable energy’: the re-use of energy from energyintensive manufacturing processes. During these manufactur-
ing processes, a great percentage of the energy is wasted in the shape of heat, flue gasses and steam. In recent years, we have worked with S2NRG to come up with a number of technological solutions that enable us to re-use a large amount of energy. This energy is then used to generate electricity, which we sell back to the grid. The advantage for the producer lies in remaining economically viable, because they are able to work more efficiently. In addition, it minimises their ecological footprint. In short, this is a marvellous project, which combines financial interests with environmental interests and which is hugely practicable as well. It is too good an opportunity to pass up.” Business lessons The partners enjoy being independent entrepreneurs. “However, entrepreneurship in the Netherlands is becoming more difficult than ever before,” states Van der Houwen. “Consider only the changes in financing and legislation. On top of that, consumer preferences are evolving all the time. This is why traditional organisations such as Hema, Vroom & Dreesmann and the ANWB are experiencing such difficulties.” Asked what lessons they would offer, Van Honk replies, “Remember that you must constantly change and develop. There is no longer such
Maurits van Oranje performed military service with the Royal Netherlands Marine Corps and the Royal Netherlands Navy in 1987. He graduated from the University of Groningen in 1995, where he obtained a MSc degree in Economics. After his study he worked for Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, where he occupied several management positions, including Senior Manager of Passenger Services. From 2001 through 2006, Van Oranje worked for Philips DAP BV (Domestic Appliances and Personal Care) in Amersfoort, where he was in charge of part of the Philishave portfolio as VP and global business manager. In 2006 he started The Source with Felix van der Houwen. Their company focuses on realizing and accelerating growth projects for companies with a turnover of 1-150 MM euro and is active in many business segments. Recent projects like the introduction of electric mobility in the Netherlands has earned them a place as an established business accelerator.
Felix van der Houwen
is a serial entrepeneur in marketing, media and communications. He helped launching and grow a lot of (nowadays) well-known companies and brands. Van der Houwen also has been teaching and lecturing for different universities and private schools and courses. He has written columns and articles for different professional and business magazines. He also is a mentor at Rockstart Accellerator. In 2006 Van Der Houwen started The Source focussing on innovative concepts for products, services and systems for both business and government.
a thing as a comfort zone.” Van der Houwen: “Focus and speed are essential. If you lack focus and you’re trying to do five things at once, you cannot do them quickly enough. Focus on one thing at a time.” Van Oranje agrees, adding: “Know your weaknesses as well as your strengths and then go out and find the right people who can complement you. At the same time, it is up to you to lead the change in your business setting. Take Apple, for example. If they do not constantly change and innovate, Samsung will quickly overtake them. You must always keep your eyes open and be amenable to innovation.”
Michel van Honk dedicated 20 years of his live in developing and building one of the most reputated Dutch marketing and communication agencies. He acted 17 years as managing director and started his career in the Unilever advertising agency Lintas. He spent a decade in the board of the Vea (adversiting agency association), was one of the founders of the CMC (Centre for brand and communication) and member of the Effie Jury. Van Honk participates in several social activities and advisory boards and chaired the SIRE foundation for four years. He also was a member of the semi-governmental workgroup ‘Andere Overheid’, chaired by Gerrit-Jan Wolffensperger. In 28 years of working experience he advised more than 150 companies in a wide variety of businesses. He joined The Source in 2011 as partner.
Excellent location Last but not least, we asked how the partners enjoy working at WTC Amsterdam. “We now have a permanent office on the third floor and it is absolutely ideal for us. Good accessibility is crucial for us, and the available infrastructure makes this a perfect location. Our business partners enjoy visiting the WTC. You can be at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol in a matter of minutes, which means that every location is practically on our doorstep. What’s more, we are only one floor up from the restaurant and bar, so we have no reason to move just yet!” Text: Milou Peeters | Photography: Jalisa Oudenaarde
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WTC Eindhoven @WTCEindhoven: 40 Ambassies at the Diplomats Dinner “Opportunities in International Trade” @WTCEindhoven #NBI @EindhovenHotel WTC Club Rotterdam @wtcclubrdam: Nederlandse WTC’s officieel onderdeel van (internationaal) handelsbevorderend netwerk Hello Zuidas @hellozuidas: Interessante #expositie in (onder) #Zuidas! #Ondergronds #WTCAmsterdam
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CYCLING THROUGH MANHATTAN, TACO CARLIER SUDDENLY HAD AN IDEA THAT STUCK IN HIS MIND. WHY NOT DEVELOP A STRONG, HIGH-QUALITY BICYCLE SPECIFICALLY FOR COMMUTERS IN MAJOR WORLD CITIES? SO HE AND HIS BROTHER, TIES, FOUNDED URBAN BIKE BRAND VANMOOF. SIX YEARS ON, THEIR BICYCLES ARE AVAILABLE WORLDWIDE AND THEY HAVE NOW OPENED THEIR FIRST INTERNATIONAL FLAGSHIP STORE IN NEW YORK. “OUR AIM IS TO BE THE GLOBAL MARKET LEADER IN CITY BIKES.”
ANMOOF’s Amsterdam flagship store had yet to open officially when the enterprising brothers jetted off to New York for the opening there. “For me,” says cofounder Taco Carlier, “New York is the world’s greatest city for cycling. It’s lovely and flat and you have some beautiful routes over the Brooklyn Bridge and along the Hudson River, with spectacular views of Manhattan. This is where the idea for our business was born, too, so it’s fantastic that we’ve now been
able to open our own store in Brooklyn. As in Amsterdam, we’re presenting our collection of city bikes in a modern way and in spacious surroundings.” An American trend Brooklyn was chosen not just for its great cycling routes, Taco explains. “Americans are increasingly beginning to realise that the bicycle can be a serious alternative to taxis or the subway.
‘NEW YORK IS THE WORLD’S GREATEST CITY FOR CYCLING’ 14
More and more commuters are cycling to and from work, like we do in the Netherlands. It’s no coincidence that bicycle sharing has caught on in New York as well. And this whole two-wheeled trend started in Brooklyn, so it’s great for us that that’s where we are.” New business strategy As well as Amsterdam and New York, VANMOOF soon expects to be introducing its new retail formula to Taipei, Osaka and Singapore. Launching these international flagship stores is part of a modified business strategy, says Taco. “For the time being we’re only selling our bikes direct to the public, either online or through our own stores, with no middlemen. That ensures that the customer’s experience of VANMOOF is identical everywhere in the world, so that they enjoy the same service wherever they are. Also, their direct feedback means that we can constantly improve our city bikes. All the compliments, complaints and tips we receive through our shops are processed by a special software system, and our product designers have direct access to the database. That keeps our lines really short.” Responding to international needs VANMOOF’s updated strategy seems to be bearing fruit: year-on-year sales figures doubled in the first quarter of 2015. “We’re now selling one bicycle an hour in 39 countries all over the world,” Taco declares. “To keep that sales curve climbing, it’s crucial that our international design team stay in
touch with the customer. For Tokyo, for example, we’ve developed the T series. They’re compact bikes which are easy to take indoors, because living space is limited there. For the Americans, on the other hand, a bicycle’s weight is very important. So we’ve made the sportier D series for them.” Staying independent What are the brothers’ talents as business partners? “What Ties and I are good at,” says Taco, “is independent design and development. I would never have made it this far on my own – I’m an industrial designer and more of a theorist. Ties finds it easier to cut to the chase. He has that entrepreneurial edge. Because of that, we inspire one another enormously. What we both share is a strong desire to bring innovative products to market, using our own resources and our own strength. We consider it very important that we remain independent and not be distracted by the prospect of outside investment. In that way we stay entirely focused upon our goal: to be the world’s best manufacturer of city bikes.” Text: Milou Peeters | Photography: Selma Hengeveld
6 THINGS ENTREPRENEURS CAN ‘LEARN FROM LOVE’ TO GROW THEIR BUSINESSES Running a business can be all consuming. Maria Pinelli, EY’s Global Vice Chair for Strategic Growth Markets, shares her advice for companies ready to scale up their growth.
1. DON’T BE SELFISH
2. EMBRACE THE WHOLE FAMILY
As in mutually rewarding relationships, business is not just about you. There are two people in a relationship and many more in a business – every stakeholder from your supplier through to your customer must be considered, and no one neglected or you’ll end up with a dysfunctional business. Remember to think global and act local, you are just a small part of the universe. #givemore
Don’t forget to spend some time getting to know the in-laws. Treat some of those difficult stakeholders (clients, suppliers, regulators) with disdain and you might be in trouble. Treat them like an extension of your business and you’ll be laughing. How many have you encountered – the person who ‘picks away’ at every negative feature? #moodkiller
4. PLAN SOME SURPRISES
5. LISTEN AND COMMUNICATE
In romance, a little change, surprise or time away together is often what is needed. In business, whether it be an injection of new ideas or people, a change of scenery or an away day or team event, don’t be afraid to take a chance to keep things exciting. Innovation depends on it. #spontaneity
Every relationship relies on communication. And two-thirds of that should involve listening. Listen to your business and all its stakeholders, including the board, to staff on the ground, to your suppliers. A great idea or a looming crisis might be right under your nose. Are you listening to those on the front line? #patience
3. SAY THANK YOU It’s too easy to allow ambition, drive and a focus on results get in the way of stopping to say thank you to the people that make it possible. Give back to the business; celebrate milestones, appreciate how far you and your team have come together. Thank your people, sincerely. This will help you strengthen relationships, grow networks and retain key employees – all pivotal in the name of scaling up. #gratitude
6. SEEK ADVICE Just like that friend at the end of the phone, a business mentor or strategic advisor who’s been there and done that can help you get through rough patches. Nothing can beat experience and a fresh perspective to turn a crisis into a great opportunity to strengthen and grow. #becurious
‘I LIKE THE ‘YES WE CAN!’ MENTALITY’ 18
FOR NINETEEN YEARS, RICK NIEMAN (49) WORKED FOR RTL NIEUWS, ONE OF THE LARGEST BROADCAST NEWS ORGANISATIONS IN THE NETHERLANDS. IN APRIL, THE JOURNALIST AND NEWSCASTER HANDED IN HIS NOTICE. HE HAS NO REGRETS. “I STILL ENJOY THE WORK – IT’S A FANTASTIC JOB – BUT THERE ARE SO MANY OTHER THINGS I WANT TO DO.”
Why change direction now? “I shall turn fifty this year and there is so much I want to do. Yes, I could wait another ten years but then I’ll be sixty. I thought, this is the right time. My wife Sacha was in the same profession; she used to present the 8 o’clock news on national television. Two years ago, she opted to explore a different career path. Since then she has worked as a freelance photographer and has been involved in many interesting projects. It’s that freedom that really appeals to me.” Asked about his plans, Nieman replies, “I want to spend more time writing. My first novel ‘Altijd Viareggio’ was published recently and I have really enjoyed promoting it with book-signing tours and so on. I also hope to become involved in organising conferences and events. And I’m looking forward to travelling with Sacha: she can take the photos and I’ll write about the things we see. I’m open to other projects as well, including journalism because it is still a marvellous line of work. One thing I definitely do not enjoy is sitting around doing nothing, so I have every confidence that things will turn out well. After so many years working for someone else, it’s exciting to become your own boss!”
You’ve always had a special bond with America. Why? “I spent five years studying in Chicago and Los Angeles and I go back to the States almost every year. I like the American attitude: optimistic, enterprising and active. It’s the ‘Yes we can!’ mentality. The Netherlands has also become a lot more enterprising in the last twenty-five years. There have been some marvellous developments. It is no longer seen as ‘unacceptable’ to make mistakes or, conversely, to excel at something. In the past, the word ‘entrepreneur’ was almost an insult. But no longer. We are gradually adopting the American values. Just look at successful Dutch companies such as G-Star, TomTom, WeTransfer and Booking.com. The Netherlands must be doing something right!”
You have seen many events and interviewed many prominent people during your career. Who or what stands out for you? ”I remember standing backstage at Royal Theater Carré in 2010, about to present my first ever live election debate. To be in that iconic theatre in front of a full house was certainly an experience to remember. My interview with Willem-Alexander and Máxima was also very special, it was just after Beatrix had announced her abdication and we knew that he was about to become king. The television audience was over 5.5 million, which is a lot for the Netherlands. In fact, it was the highest viewing figure that year. The most memorable news event has to be the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington: 9/11 as everyone now calls it. I was on duty in the newsroom that day. It was unbelievable, shocking. I couldn’t get my head around what was happening. Many years later, I visited the memorial at ‘Ground Zero’. It is very moving: a huge
What tips would you offer to entrepreneurs? “It may sound something of a cliché, but I agree with Stephen Covey when he says that you should always look for a win-win situation. If you’re going to work with someone else, first make sure you both know what you wish to achieve. You can then find an approach which will benefit both of you. Another useful tip comes from the Dutch chef Jacob Jan Boerma, who once told me, ‘You just have to do it. It’s all about the idea, the project and the partnership. It’s never about the money.’ I think that is very valuable advice.”
‘After so many years working for someone else, it’s exciting to become your own boss!’
Text: Milou Peeters and Iris van Iersel | Photography: Wouter van Ierssel
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POST EVENT REPORT:
46th GA at WTC Metro Manila The 2015 WTCA General Assembly (GA), held April 26-29 in Manila, Philippines, drew 160 WTC Participants from 86 WTCs, and approximately an additional 50 Philippine business delegates. The 46th Annual General Assembly, titled â€˜Better Together: Global Unity & Cooperationâ€™, featured three days of intense networking, education, and collaboration with WTC Colleagues and the Filipino business community. Attendees left the event with a greater understanding of the Philippines as an international business destination, and with increased connections with fellow WTCs for future cooperation.
Text & photography: World Trade Centers Association (WTCA)
WTC meets the world
THE EXPAT EXPERIENCES OF AMAL AND BENJAMIN LE COLLEN
On the move The first time Amal Le Collen, her husband and their son Benjamin moved to the Netherlands was from France, in 1998. Later they exchanged the Netherlands for Spain and lived in Barcelona for six years, but eventually the family (now with a second child) re-settled in the Netherlands in 2014. WTC-NL magazine met with the warm and energetic Amal and her cheerful son Benjamin to talk about where life has led them and their experiences living in foreign countries – and in particular about the Netherlands and Dutch culture. Was it difficult or easy for them to adapt? A conversation with mother and son”
Entrepreneurship Amal Le Collen is an all-round professional, and entrepreneurship runs in her veins. With extensive experience in software and business consulting and training for a wide array of international organisations, she is something of a perennial expat. Most recently she was appointed business development manager of the International Institute for Learning (IIL), and is also the founder of a company called Smart Upswing. “I am fortunate that my career took off so fast and that I am able to do what I enjoy, no matter where. But always there are things you have to learn to adapt to. For example, when we came to the Netherlands for the first time, we really had to get used to the Dutch weather, the food and the opening hours of shops,” she says. Both times that the family moved to the Netherlands – in 1998 and again in 2014 – it was because Amal had been assigned here by her employers. And on both occasions she took on the challenge and set out with her family to embrace new opportunities. For her son Benjamin, now in his first year of International Studies at Leiden University, the school system took some getting used to. “Dutch programmes have far fewer study hours than French and Spanish programmes. They are not as structured here as in those two countries; you have to take more responsibly yourself,” he explains.
‘CREATIVITY IS THE FOUNDATION OF THE DUTCH ENTREPRENEURAL SPIRIT’
Dutch spirit Looking back on the period when her children were in primary school, Amal comments, “Dutch primary schools should give children more time to be challenged and to discover in which direction their talents lie. When they reach group 8, they are more or less already required to choose. This is an incredibly tough decision: a young child cannot oversee the consequences of the choice they are about to make. I found it difficult for my sons as well. On the positive side, I noticed that there is a very strong social cohesion in primary education. There is a lot of room for creativity. I think this is also the foundation of the entrepreneurial spirit for which the Dutch are globally known. That typical Dutch spirit is one of the things that drew us back to the Netherlands.”
Talent In light of this issue’s special feature on talent, we wanted to know what mother and son see as each other’s talents. Amal says, “Benjamin is incredibly determined. His perseverance is admirable.” Benjamin himself gives an example: ”When I was 16 years old, I signed up for a triathlon in Spain meant for people aged 18 and up. Many people told me that I physically would not be able to do it, that I shouldn’t even try. But I proved them wrong. I feel it’s important to be led by confidence and determination, not by fear.” And how about his mum? Benjamin smiles, “My mother always pushes forward and regards ethical conduct as a cornerstone of society. With her friendly personality, she always tries to help wherever she can. She truly is my role model.”
Text: Mandy Tromp | Photography: Wouter van Ierssel
BUSINESS TALK WTC-NL magazine asked members of eight WTCs the following: 1. Describe your most memorable international business trip. 2. Who is your source of inspiration in business? 3. What is your special talent?
WTC TWENTE Robert Nijhuis (49), managing director of Stork Thermeq
WTC LEEUWARDEN John Weening (43), owner of NoordNedMedia, Weening Reclame and Ids Internet
1. That was for a customer who initially only wanted a compressor system for a refinery in Egypt. After several days of meetings, he decided that, actually, he might as well have us build the complete Process module around it, a deal worth millions of guilders at the time. We had to prepare layout drawings and Process drawings on-site – which we did working poolside at our Cairo hotel while basking in the sun. Our hand-drawn plans were delivered to the customer that Monday and we got the assignment to build the big Process module shortly thereafter. Ten months later we built the module at our factory precisely according to our handmade plan, which was a brilliant experience. 2. There are three people really, but the most influential would have to be the director of the first company I worked at, Colin Pearson. He was truly a great guy to work for, passionate about his company and with his heart in the business. 3. It’s tough to judge for yourself, but I think that I unite people by getting them to communicate clearly, openly and honestly about mutual expectations. I hope that my passion for my job and company will also enthuse others.
1. Our business focuses mainly on companies in the northern part of the country. We have a few customers who generate international business, including the WTC Leeuwarden, but we don’t really do business abroad ourselves. However, other countries, with their own cultures and working methods, have always been a huge inspiration to me. At the moment, for example, we’re working on a project to let houses and apartments on Ibiza online. Basically, I was in Ibiza and got to talking with a resident who lets houses and apartments there and who wanted to try expanding into the Dutch market this year. In hindsight, that was an unforeseeably fabulous business trip. 2. There’s no one person who inspires me; I collaborate with lots of people and come into contact with new people every day. There’s always something to learn, you just have to be open to it. I’m drawn to people who have a passion for what they do and throw themselves into it heart and soul. And those are the kinds of people who inspire me, both in business and personally. 3. My motto is: ‘C’est le ton qui fait la musique’ – it’s the tone that makes the music. I treat everyone the way I want to be treated. I’m open to almost anything, plus I’ve got a knack for getting the right people on my team – after all, launching a business isn’t something you can do alone. I trust the people I work with, and they trust me.
WTC SCHIPHOL AIRPORT Michel Bilars (46), partner at Luminous Tax Matters N.V.
WTC AMSTERDAM Axel von Maltzahn (39), commercial manager at Company Webcast
WTC EINDHOVEN Marco Koenen (47), CEO of JSB Group
1. It was several trips actually, around nine years ago now and a few months before we opened our office in the WTC at Schiphol Airport. We had worked out a concept for a niche office with a strong focus on international tax law on paper and then went round to several tax consultancies abroad to discuss our plans. Within the space of a week we visited various places including Paris, London and Luxembourg. All the positive reactions we got along the way gave us the final push we needed to put our plans into action. That was a pretty hectic time, with great memories. 2. Some people are real visionaries; others just get out there and do what needs to be done. Someone who combines both those qualities is Daan Roosegaarde of Studio Roosegaarde, known for the ‘smart highway’ and the ‘Smog Free Park’ in Beijing, among other things. His studio develops high-end technologies for sustainable initiatives. When I first heard him speak a year or two ago, I had this surge of enthusiasm that things are going to work out with Mother Earth. People like him really energise me. 3. In all modesty, my talent is that I can turn ideas into actions and don’t stop until all the details are in place. I’ve been struck by the fact that people often have good ideas but either rationalise them to death or simply quickly get bored trying to work them out. I’m convinced that for a good idea to be successful, you have to pay attention to the details.
1. There isn’t any one international business trip that stands out particularly, but on the whole I enjoy every chance I get to do business abroad. Closing a deal in a different environment and culture is always a bit of a kick, even if the specifics of the agreement usually don’t differ much from deals in Holland. 2. I get a lot of my inspiration from books by various authors, like Kenneth Blanchard’s ‘The One Minute Manager’ and Stephen R. Covey’s ‘The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People’. Rereading those seven characteristics every now and then offers a good way to reflect on your own work and life. 3. I don’t feel very comfortable listing my own talents; I’d rather leave that to others to decide! But if I have to choose something, it would be that I’m inquisitive and open-minded. I have two ears and one mouth, and I use them in that proportion. As a consequence I’m constantly learning new things and find it easy to connect with others. For my job it’s essential to quickly find common ground with other people and to be able to share knowledge.
1. JSB Group is the long-time supplier of the analysis instruments that the UN employs to track down substances used in chemical weapons production. One trip connected with this was a visit to the UN building to meet with buyers from various UN bodies to discuss several prospective projects, for instance, the analysis of environmental pollution in developing countries. The meeting was held in the UN building in New York City, which was pretty impressive. And it was a treat to get to see the UN’s General Assembly Hall and to sit in one of the seats there. 2. My source of inspiration is American Gerry Farren of Quantum Analytics, who adheres to a healthy no-nonsense policy in how he approaches the analytical instruments industry. It was on the basis of his advice that I started JSB 13 years ago: ‘If the technical solution isn’t out there yet, you’ll just have to build it yourself!’ In other words, don’t avoid a challenge, and keep on innovating. That’s the recipe for staying ahead and for healthy competition. 3. My talents, I’m told, lie in an ability to simplify problems and tackle them pragmatically through anticipation and planning, and also in the areas of internationalisation, business development and sales. »
WTC THE HAGUE Jan Siemons (52), managing director of the Netherlands Council for Trade Promotion (NCH)
WTC ROTTERDAM Wing Li (42), managing director of YoYo! Concepts B.V.
WTC ALMERE Samir Laoukili (36), senior finance manager at Yanmar
1. The trade mission to Japan with the Dutch king and queen in October 2014 was a unique trip, and very successful in terms of promoting the Netherlands thanks to the royal couple’s strong ties with the imperial family, and their own and the delegation leaders’ proactive attitude. During that mission I had a chance to help several Dutch companies close actual deals with Japanese firms with which I’ve enjoyed good relations for many years. One take-away from this trip was that the Netherlands’ strong reputation abroad is often underestimated. That’s an asset that the Dutch business community can tap into. 2. My Japanese professor, who supervised my thesis (comparing quality assurance structures in Japan and the Netherlands) has been a major inspiration to me. A few of the lessons I learned along the way are: ‘Don’t start anything you can’t finish’, ‘Success means focusing on what you’re good at and leaving the rest to someone else’, ‘Trust is never blind; it is the result of dedication and long and assiduous application’. 3. I spent five years living and working in Japan (1988-1994). That period was a crucial foundation for developing my talents. People see me as a consummate networker – someone who works hard but also understands the value of good rapport. Clients and people who know me, know that my primary focus in my work is on content and quality. Over the course of my 25 years in this career I’ve gradually become more of a world citizen who can quickly shift gears between cultures.
1. In the past three years we’ve opened five YoYo! Fresh Tea Bar locations in the Netherlands. We regularly travel to Hong Kong, Singapore and Taiwan for business. At the beginning of April we also opened two branches in South Korea through one of our franchise partners. That trip was very memorable for me personally because we’d perfected an Asian Tea concept in the Netherlands which we then franchised back to Asia. That’s the ultimate proof that we’ve got a very good setup here in the Netherlands. 2. I have several different role models. Li Ka-Shing is a major source of inspiration. In the space of 40 years he has gone from a dockworker with no education or possessions, to one of the biggest business tycoons in Asia. I also admire Richard Branson because of the diversity of his entrepreneurial activities and his ‘work hard play hard’ mentality. And, last but not least, Elon Musk, who in a recent interview said: ‘Never give up, never!’ For me, that’s what it all boils down to. 3. I don’t think I have any one specific talent. My strong suit is that I’m always reasonable. When you’re just starting out with a business, usually you can’t afford the luxury of appointing a specialist in every focus area. So, in my case, I had to do most of it alone: sales, marketing, business development, finance and HR. And then there comes a point when you’ve grown to the extent that you can organise things differently and hire the right people for each job.
1. One of the most amusing trips was to Los Angeles. I was having dinner at CUT, a restaurant run by Chef Wolfgang Puck in the Beverly Wilshire Hotel, and was convinced Oprah Winfrey was sitting at the opposite table. But my colleague was 100% certain that it wasn’t her because she was reasonably well ‘camouflaged’. Later that same evening I heard on TV that Oprah had been in Beverly Hills to meet with her asset manager. 2. You have to admire Steve Jobs. The way he positioned the Apple brand and has turned it into a lifestyle. 3. I’m really a people person. I try to preserve harmony and at the same time help everyone around me to achieve their full potential.
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‘BUILDING A NETWORK TAKES PEOPLE’ Every entrepreneur knows the value of having a good network. After all, a big part of doing business revolves around making the most of your connections. Business networks abound in every region of the Netherlands. In the south of the country, WTC Eindhoven has been going strong for more than 30 years now.
it a group of entrepreneurs down together and discussion will quickly turn to leadership, resolve and ambition, but also to trends, inspiration and new insights. Among the reasons to join a network is to share knowledge. You often hear people say, ‘Lots of business owners never show their face outside’, or ‘I actually like to be surrounded by other entrepreneurs. Their positive mentality and drive inspires me’. The great thing about a WTC is that so many different disciplines are represented among the members. You can draw lessons from all sorts of sectors and, by forging new links, can find and maximise opportunities.
Profiting from knowledge The world is constantly changing. Entrepreneurs have to be poised to adapt to those changes; to continue to invest and innovate. Knowledge about wider developments is one thing you get from a good network. Someone who is solely focused on their own business and has no network to tune into will soon fall into a knowledge gap. In fact, life-long learning is a requisite for good entrepreneurship. These days, it is no longer enough simply to work hard. There is much more of an emphasis on results and on making results measurable and verifiable. That’s why it’s great if you can profit from other people’s experiences. In the end, you always learn more from another person’s mistakes than their success stories.
Who you know However, you should only join a network for the right reasons, and reeling in new customers is not one of them. People tend to forget that although network clubs can yield customers, those customers need not be members themselves. Rather, it is the contacts of the people you know that offer potential for business; the rings twice or three times removed from your own circle of connections. Hence, the bigger your network, the bigger the potential catch. Besides that, networks are also a great resource for companies in search of specific services. Every organisation has to deal with things like insurance, personnel, the media – you name it. By talking about these aspects and trading experiences, you can compare and figure out what’s best for you. As one member once remarked, ‘A network is like a physical manifestation of a LinkedIn page’. And just as with social media, it’s not about who you know, but about who your connections know. Being part of a network is like tossing a stone in the water: it’s about the ripples that are created. Business beyond borders The international network of the World Trade Centers Association also opens up opportunities across the border. The organisation of sector-based events as part of exchanges with WTC clusters in other countries can generate immediate business prospects. In industrial regions of Germany and England, for example. Entrepreneurs – whether they’re just starting out or long-established – can get a great boost by expanding their networks and connecting with high-potentials at international organisations. And not just to see how others are doing it, but with a real view to doing business!
Lianne van den Boogaard Director of the WTC∙E Business Society
Networking at Christies Amsterdam
Free international advice
WTC Amsterdam Business Club and the American Chamber of Commerce in the Netherlands will cooperate in organising a network event at Christies Amsterdam on Thursday, June 4. During the event we will learn about the current trends in art and what is the best kind of art to invest in. This members-only event will start at 16:30 hrs, if you would like to subscribe, please sent an email to email@example.com
WTC Twente in Hengelo has launched a free weekly advice session on doing business internationally. Entrepreneurs with questions in this area can consult a team of experienced specialists from KroeseWevers, Oost NV, KienhuisHoving, the Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO), the Eastern Netherlands Manufacturing Association (VMO) and WTC Twente. They are on hand every Friday, between 9am and noon. Appointments are required. To arrange yours, call +31 (0)74 291 5604 or go to wtctwente.nl.
BOARD Fourth WTC Stair Climb in Almere The fourth annual WTC Stair Climb, held in Almere on the evening of Friday 1 May, attracted no fewer than 150 participants. Climbers had to negotiate 600 stairs to reach the 29th floor and enjoy its magnificent views. Victory went to Matjaz Miklosa of Slovenia, with a record time of 3’43”. The fastest woman was the Czech Republic’s Lenka Svabikova, who took a minute longer to reach the top. This year’s event was all the more special because entrants ranged in age from six to sixty.
WTC Rotterdam in new hands WTC Rotterdam has changed hands. The beginning of this year the building was acquired by Bouwinvest Dutch Institutional Office Fund NV, the current owner of WTC The Hague. With effect from 1 April the new owner of WTC Rotterdam has contracted out its property management to DTZ Zadelhoff Property Management BV. Meanwhile, Postillion Hotels took over the Beurs-WTC Congress & Event Center, with more than 30 meeting rooms in WTC Rotterdam. WTC Rotterdam offers office space, flexible workspace, meeting & conference rooms, business services, bars and restaurants, shops and a business club.
WTC NL at NBI International Expo The Dutch WTCs will have an active presence at the fourth international Nation Branding & Investment (NBI) expo at Evoluon in Eindhoven on 30 September and 1 October. As a global forum for international trading communities looking for economic development opportunities, this unique ‘nation to business’ event provides a dynamic platform to promote investment and commerce between government agencies and leading businesses. For more information, see www.wtce.nl and www.nbiexpo.com.
New landmark at Schiphol Work is well under way on the new Hilton Amsterdam Airport Schiphol hotel. When it opens its doors in the fourth quarter of 2015, it will replace the current Schiphol Hilton, just ten metres away. Built to an iconic design by Mecanoo Architects of Amsterdam, the new hotel is set to become an airport landmark. Primarily targeting the business market, it will offer 433 guest rooms, 23 meeting rooms, a ballroom with a capacity of 600, a restaurant and bar, an executive lounge, a spa and fitness centre, underground parking and a covered promenade connecting it directly to the terminal building.
Export Carrousel reaches full speed
K TIPS ANSEN
NNIS ING KE
Following last year’s success, WTC The Hague is holding three more New Ambassadors’ Trade Meetings in 2015. These informal gatherings bring together recently appointed ambassadors and key figures from the principal trade and investment promotion organisations in The Hague, such as the Netherlands Council for Trade Promotion (NCH), the WestHolland Foreign Investment Agency (WFIA), the Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO) and the Confederation of Netherlands Industry and Employers (VNO-NCW). This year’s first meeting, on 6 March, was attended by nine ambassadors, from Afghanistan, Angola, Costa Rica, Cuba, the Czech Republic, Georgia, Panama, Peru and Saudi Arabia. The next two are scheduled for June and October.
New Ambassadors’ Trade Meetings
To better exploit export opportunities in the north of the country, a group of Frisian entrepreneurs have set up the Export Carrousel project. This begins its fourth round in Friesland in September, and is about to expand into the provinces of Drenthe and Groningen. N SAME The initiative is overseen by Margriet GROEI Bouma, Senior Business Support Adviser EN DEL at the regional Chamber of Commerce. As she explains, “Participating companies are given five months EI to develop export plans with GRO help from business students and their tutors, experienced exporters from the WTC Leeuwarden network, export clubs, the provincial governments and the Chamberof Commerce. This is a great way to build a solid network!”
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WELL PREPARED FOR INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS Starters International Business (SIB) is WTC Twente’s coaching programme for companies that wish to explore the international markets. We asked Eelco Osse, CEO of Machinefabriek Boessenkool, how it has benefited his business.
“We recently introduced a new electric tractor to our range: the ‘Multi Tool Trac’. Sales on the domestic market alone would probably not be enough to recoup all development costs, so we are keen to export the product. We began our own market research but soon discovered that we did not have access to all information sources. That’s when we approached WTC Twente, which has much of the necessary knowledge available.” A family company Boessenkool, founded in 1902, is a machinery and tooling company in the broadest sense of the term. “We design and manufacture custom-made products for individual clients, but we also develop and sell our own generic products,” explains Osse. “They can range from small components to complete machines.” The company was owned and managed by three generations of the Boessenkool family before being acquired by the Osse family. Eelco took over the reins from his father in 2005. Insight The SIB programme gave Osse access to valuable information which provided a thorough insight into the potential sales market for his product. “The process began with a meeting with a WTC advisor and an external consultant,” he recalls. “Together, we determined the questions to be answered and the information required to do so. We had already made some progress with our own market research, so it was largely a question of filling in the gaps. We were able to steer the process accordingly.” The key questions that emerged, related to the countries and regions which would be most likely to find the Multi Tool Trac interesting and the size of the potential market: what would be a realistic sales target? The entire process took some three months and included a further four interviews with the advisors. Their support and guidance helped Osse to crystallize his export plans. “Once we knew which countries offered greatest potential – the ‘low-hanging fruit’ in management jargon – we were able to take affirmative action.” Recommended It is too early to say whether the SIB programme has had the desired results for Boessenkool and its new electric tractor. “We are
still working to establish contacts in the target countries, but everything seems to be moving in the right direction.” It is however clear that Osse would recommend the programme to others in the same position. “It will be valuable to any company which does not yet have extensive international experience, especially if it wants to introduce an entirely new product. The WTC gives you access to so much useful information, you do not have to go in search of it yourself. That would be like reinventing the wheel.” Knowledge is also the motive for Boessenkool’s membership of the WTC Twente Business Club and the WTC Twente Energy Group. “By sharing knowledge and experience, and by working together wherever possible, you can achieve far more. WTC offers access to an extensive international network. The benefits can be enormous, especially if your ambitions extend beyond the national borders and you wish to take your business into Europe and beyond.” Text: Christine Spanjaard
T BEST EUROPEAN BUSINESS SCHOOLS
EUROPEAN RANKING DUTCH BUSINESS SCHOOLS
London Business School
Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University
Tias Business School
IE Business School
Nyenrode Business Universiteit
Esade Business School
Maastricht University School of Business and Economics
Source: Financial Times (www.ft.com)
Source: Financial Times (www.ft.com)
ALENT It may be the second-smallest continent on Earth, but Europe boasts many of the world’s best educational institutions!
EUROPE’S TOP UNIVERSITIES
TOP UNIVERSITIES IN THE NETHERLANDS
University of Cambridge
University of Amsterdam (15th in Europe)
Imperial College London
Leiden University (27th in Europe)
University of Oxford
Utrecht University (29th in Europe)
University College London
Delft University of Technology (33th in Europe)
Source: QS World University Rankings® 2014/2015 (www.topuniversities.com)
Source: QS World University Rankings® 2014/2015 (www.topuniversities.com)
‘TALENT AND PERSONAL GROWTH ARE THE PRIORITIES’ Many companies are finding it increasingly difficult to recruit and retain talented staff. We spoke to Ilze Lamers, Talent Director Northern Europe at Michael Page, about current trends. “The employment market is becoming more complex. The talented young people of Generation Y seek ongoing personal development and tend to spend less time in the same job.”
Who fits into your company? As a global specialist in professional recruitment, Michael Page brings top talent and potential employers together. Who better to ask about the current trends in talent development? “In general, the requirements placed on any employee are becoming ever more complex,” states Ilze Lamers. “Factors such as globalisation and computer automation make it much more difficult for companies to determine what qualities their staff must possess. Skills which are seen as essential today may no longer be relevant in future. It is very difficult to predict market developments, and hence equally difficult to anticipate them within personnel policy. We have revised our internal training programme, and with the help of an external company we have developed an assessment tool which allows us to identify the type of employee a company is actually looking for and the skills and competences he or she should offer.” Trend: competence measurement It is no longer enough to have the professional knowledge and qualifications required for a job, Lamers continues, it’s now all about ‘competences’: the skills and qualities which enable a person to function effectively in all aspects of a position. “Competences are far more important than a degree certificate or work experience. Companies no longer look for just one narrow set of competences, they take a much broader view. The nature and responsibilities of many positions are changing very rapidly; someone who is taken on to do a certain job today is unlikely to be doing precisely the same job in a few years’ time.” An increasing number of companies, including Michael Page itself, are therefore introducing innovations in ‘competence-led employment policy’. “The traditional focus on performance and output is no longer enough. To assess a person’s true value to the company, you have to consider his or her competences, which must therefore be measurable. But how do you measure a quality such as ‘tenacity’? We are keeping pace with this trend because it is of importance to Generation Y. They want to know their added value and what legacy they will leave to the company.”
Engagement Alongside the importance of competences, there is a growing focus on corporate culture. Companies must know their ‘DNA’ and be aware of what they stand for. They foster engagement, involvement and commitment. “Today’s generation wish to have good training and a clear career path. They are influenced by the employer’s willingness to promote their wellbeing: a sports programme or free fruit provided in the office, for example. They are also interested in the company’s efforts to reduce its environmental impact. Is the office ‘paperless’, for example? Since the advent of social media, the dividing line between work and private life has become less distinct. People are always online: they might be on Facebook during working hours, but they are equally likely to read business emails while at home or on holiday; it’s important that companies are flexible. People wish to be part of a company which has a certain culture and vision. The attitude of ‘I’m only here for the money’ no longer applies. In this sense, we live in interesting times.” Text: Milou Peeters
‘IT IS NO LONGER ENOUGH TO HAVE THE PROFESSIONAL KNOWLEDGE AND QUALIFICATIONS REQUIRED FOR A JOB’
Salary less important The ‘job for life’ is a thing of the past. People no longer wish to stay with the same employer for their entire professional career. But how can companies retain talented staff for as long as possible? According to Lamers, today’s Generation Y view work and employment very differently to the members of Generation X, born between 1961 and 1980. “Generation Y are far more concerned with personal development. They want to know how the employer can contribute to that development. While Generation X might ask what they can offer the employer, Generation Y are more interested in what the employer can offer them. Generation X were concerned with what they would earn; their successors are more interested in what they will learn, their growth potential, the people they will be working alongside, and so forth.”
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TECHNICAL EXPERTISE IS CRUCIAL Dressed in my most presentable packable travel attire and with a quotation I knew nothing about tucked under my arm I stepped out onto an outdoor terrace in Melbourne, Australia in 2001. Two businessmen at the other end of the world had shown an interest in the unique container crane concept developed by our family firm in the Netherlands. Never in my life had I set eyes on a crane system of its description, let alone have any understanding of its technical ins and outs. I came to spend four months ‘down under’ and a few years later these efforts resulted in the successful delivery of a container crane project for the largest storage facility in Sydney. A unique coup for Koninklijke Hollestelle, it was also the start of my own career – a career that was recently crowned with the title of ‘Businesswoman of the Year 2015’.
Family business This is a case in point of how a ‘small’ company can make it big. By applying vision and drive, combined with the level-headed mentality characteristic of Zeeland, Koninklijke Hollestelle from Goes made it into the big leagues. From its beginnings in 1874, our family business has evolved over the generations from a local farrier into a trendsetting multidisciplinary company. Each generation has contributed its share to this evolution with its own creativity, guts and perseverance. As the sixth generation to be at the helm, I am a firm believer in a personal approach, in forging connections and in a structural focus on qualitative and quantitative growth. To achieve all this we need talent, and more specifically, technical talent. Technical know-how is part of the DNA of my company, Koninklijke Hollestelle, and of our workforce. It’s all about technology And technical expertise is crucial for our modern society too. Everything around us is made possible by technology, from the generation of energy to the production of food, from healthcare to communication. All of these essentials of daily life incorporate technology and rely on it to work. If we wish to make use of the most modern resources and facilities, then we cannot do without technology: technical development is, quite simply, a necessity. Technical development requires solid, accessible technical training programmes and a strong, steady influx of students. And there’s the rub. The match between training programmes and the labour market in the technical sciences sector must be improved if we are to continue to fulfil the demand for qualified graduates. The right technical talents It cuts me to the quick to see that my old mechanical engineering programme no longer exists, and likewise that electrical engineering is no longer offered at the regional university of applied sciences, whilst organisations are seeking graduates in precisely these areas. Only through the active and concerted cooperation of government, the business sector and education institutions to coordinate labour demand and supply will we be able to reverse the increasing shortage of qualified professionals. If we wish to reap the full benefits of the talent that’s out there, we have to enable people to grow and learn in their work and in their professions. Encourage and inspire them to use their capacities and give them a generous measure of freedom to define the focus of their work. With the right technical talents in place, Koninklijke Hollestelle and other companies like us will be able to achieve their international ambitions.
Danny Hollestelle Owner of Koninklijke Hollestelle Businesswoman of the Year 2015
FACTS & FIGURES ABOUT ONE WORLD TRADE CENTER
One World Trade Center is 1,776 feet tall (or 541.3 metres). This stands for the year 1776, in which the US Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence.
One World Trade Center – or ‘Freedom Tower’, as it has been nicknamed – is the tallest skyscraper not only in the US but in the entire Western hemisphere, and the fourth tallest worldwide. Towering 104 stories, floors 100-102 are reserved for the building’s observation deck: One World Observatory.
The building is equipped with 54 high-speed destination dispatch passenger elevators. Safety was a major concern in the architectural design. The skyscraper had to be able to withstand storms, earthquakes and aeroplane attacks comparable to those of 9/11. The glass used is thicker than in other skyscrapers and able to withstand heavy blasts.
Around 41,000 tonnes of steel and 150,000 m³ of concrete went into its construction. The exterior is clad with 14,000 glass panels weighing half a tonne each and covering a total surface area of 90,000 m², not counting the 4,000 glass panels around the concrete base. One World Trade Center accommodates 69 offices floors plus restaurants, and a shopping centre and public transport station underground.
The soaring antenna serves as a radio mast. In addition to many green features – it was built from recycled construction debris and materials and generates its own power – the entire site of One World Trade Center was specially constructed to collect rainwater to help care for the plaza’s greenery, cool the building and replenish the memorial fountain.
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