With the arrival of Ruud Koetsier, VMEngineering, part of the NIRAS Group, took an clear step regarding the development of services. In addition to the core business of process and packaging technology, the Civil Engineering department has been added to the services in 2020. Under the name ‘Buildings’, VME is now not only taking care of the inside of a production facility, but also of exterior. The focus remains on the food industry and that is exactly where Ruud is at his best.
What keeps you busy at VMEngineering and the clients?
Developing a department within the organization is one of the things that I enjoy working on. Fortunately, Civil Engineering is not entirely new to VME, because customers have requested it before. This is how the collaboration between myself and VME started more than ten years ago.
By joining the company, we can now offer the complete ‘package’. For it is important within the organization that we acquire even more knowledge and that the cooperation with all other disciplines within the organization runs smoothly. A food manufacturer can contact us starting with the building up and until the start of production, and of course afterwards as well.
We see that this can be an important advantage. Many clients prefer one contact person and responsible party for their (engineering) projects. It is easy and unburdens them in one step. What makes VME distinctive in this matter is that we are not a mega-sized company and we can still offer a complete range of services. In my experience, this contributes to the quality of the work delivered, partly thanks to the short lines. Before I started working for VME, I already noticed a high level of knowledge within the company and that is very important to me. Furthermore, with NIRAS we do have the option to act as a larger party when it comes to international projects or projects that require specific expertise.
In the mentioned phases I can be called responsible for ‘the building’. I design, calculate, advise on aspects related to the building and the production facility. I find it interesting that in our industry, the food industry, you also have to take into accounthygiene, shelf life, climate and, for example, the vulnerability of raw materials.
How did you end up in the food industry?
A few years ago I was working in Belgium, but I had my mind set on working in the Netherlands again. After a few conversations, I ended up with an employer who was mainly involved in the food industry and that was that. I quickly became interested in the logic that this industry entails. Actually, it was only a small step from structural design, to structural and hygienic design, but stil need to adjust your mind-set.
In this market, the building must really serve the production process. Functionality, safety and nowadays sustainability are factors that mean different implementations and concepts for a building than for production. You should bring these together and think about them so that you can make the right choices.
Where does the challenge lie for you and what makes the work so much fun?
What gives me satisfaction is to see something develop from the drawings to a realized building. Especially if there are elements that have been well thought out in advance.
What I enjoy doing is creating a real collaboration with clients and colleagues. The unburdening and puzzling out how we can solve something well are only possible if you stay in touch. Asking questions, but also communicating clearly why you make choices are key from my perspective. It is important to be able to compare wishes with realistic possibilities and to understand each other in this. That is where the challenge lies: it should not become a situation of your word, against mine, but rather you need to come to an understanding and corresponding solutions.
That is also an approach that I would like to implement within the Civil team with colleagues. Transferring knowledge and skills makes collaboration enjoyable. That way I still learn new things myself and I truly believe you stand stronger together. By continuing to share, everyone can start working independently and we all recognize any new projects at producers. Within the company everyone has a passion for technology, a lot of creativity and youthful enthusiasm. That gives me every confidence for the future.
Civil Engineering in collaboration with NIRAS
NIRAS, of which VMEngineering has been part of since 2018, has years of experience with Civil Engineering. Ruud Koetsier sees many opportunities to bundle knowledge, especially when it comes to developments within the industry. Areas such as sustainability and the environment of the production facility are becoming more important. For instance, NIRAS has a clear focus on Sustainable Development Goals and has become increasingly adept at advising on these issues.