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Meet the Engineer – Oemar Fariegh Nanhekhan

Oemar Fariegh Nanhekhan

Oemar Fariegh Nanhekhan has been working at VMEngineering for over two years now. At our office in Sneek he is known as the sportsman who knows what he is eating. Funnily enough, the food industry was not his first choice as a focus area for his Chemical Engineering degree. Nevertheless, with his interest in food and knowledge of chemistry, he now has a good combination for his role as Process Engineer in the food industry.

How did you become a Process Engineer and why in the food industry?
My background is in Chemical Engineering with a completely different specialization, namely in oil and gas. Unfortunately, the job market offered few opportunities in this area at the time  I was finishing my degree. I ended up at VME thanks to a recruiter. This meant a small sidestep into the food industry for me. I consciously say a small step because in my opinion there are many similarities when it comes to the basics. To me there is one clear difference between the oil and gas industry and the food industry. This difference concerns the focus areas in engineering. The oil and gas industry is often concerned with safety. This is of course also important in the food industry, but here the focus is mainly on hygiene. In terms of hygiene, many improvements can still be made in existing production facilities. It is also an aspect that is immediately taken into account in new factories and production lines.

What makes the work interesting and where does your strength lie?
In high school, I turned out to be good at studying chemistry, which is why I continued in this field with my Chemical Engineering degree. I really enjoy finding out how an end product should be made. The phase in which the client has only just found us for a project and asks: “I want this end product, how do I get it done?”, I find most interesting.

Setting up one or more concepts (in broad terms) gets my interest. At VMEngineering we call that part the Conceptual Design. This is followed by various phases, including Detail Engineering. I do not like to do this as much. Yet I realize again and again that also going through these steps increases my knowledge for new assignments where we get to pick up that interesting first question again. Despite an often recognizable pattern, I keep learning. Naturally, the products vary per assignment. As an employee, you must remain sharp in proposing solutions and every working day is educational. This is a huge advantage of the food industry for me.


Trends and development

“People have become increasingly aware of products that support their lifestyle,” notes Oemar. According to him, high-protein, vegan and local products continue to innovate and grow in numbers in the (super) market. This applies to both the physical stores and the emerging web shops. In addition, the environmental aspect is and will remain important. Aside from the demand for safety and hygiene, Oemar increasingly sees this as a requirement for projects. Another example of a trend he mentions is the Lely Orbiter and the ‘Mijn Melk’ concept. Local products, including local production, are also becoming increasingly popular.

Oemar continues to evolve when it comes to solutions, tackling projects in our growing industry and in his interest in food.

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