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Krystian Ptak - Superintendent Scaffold Construction

I am doing what I really always wanted to do. Building scaffolding is just a beautiful profession. Now I no longer build them myself, but supervise the projects on site during maintenance or turnarounds and supervise the foremen."

The story of Krystian

How did you end up at Bilfinger?

"I'm originally from Poland. I finished my training there and then I left for Ireland and started working in scaffolding. First as an auxiliary scaffolder, and in five years I progressed to first mechanic with all the papers. Then I came to the Netherlands where I could also work as a first mechanic through an employment agency. But I had a family and was looking for permanence and stability. So I applied for a job at Bilfinger; I had already worked there through the employment agency. I have since progressed at Bilfinger to superintendent."

What do you like about your job?

"I am doing what I actually always wanted to do. Building scaffolding is just a beautiful profession. Now I no longer build them myself, but I supervise the projects on site during maintenance or turnarounds and supervise the foremen. ''

What does your day usually look like?

"I get up at 05.00. That's early but we start at 06.15 so we're also home nice and early, haha! I start with a chat with the team and then I go into the factory with them. Then I check if everything is running and if there are any unforeseen issues. I briefly walk with the foremen and supervise construction. Then I go in, do the administration and prepare the work packages for the stops. I look at where the scaffolding should be built and what it should look like. Then, of course, I have to discuss that with the foremen and see what materials and how many men are needed, and what is needed in terms of transportation. I am outside three or four times a day to see how things are going there and to direct work. And of course to make sure everything is done safely. The day goes by very quickly, because there is always plenty to do at this location. The work is very varied.

What does the team look like?

"We try as much as possible to make teams of two with the scaffolders - consisting of a second mechanic and an auxiliary scaffolder. On larger jobs, these are slightly larger teams. A foreman then has 10 to 12 technicians under him. As foreman, I supervise three foremen. There are three scaffold erectors on this site. So this is quite a large location."

How important is teamwork to you?

"That's very important. You have to be able to communicate well and work together. Alone you can't do anything! We are one team and we have to do it together. It also helps that I speak Polish of course. We also work with subcontractor colleagues who have Polish roots. So in my case it is an advantage to also speak Polish as a contractor."

What does the future look like for you?

"I have been a superintendent for almost 3 years now, and for the first time I am running a major turnaround myself. I would like to complete those successfully; on time, within budget, and of course without incidents.  That is my goal for now. After that I would like to grow further, to project leader, for example. That is also possible at Bilfinger, I think. The opportunity is certainly there, if you do your best then that is seen here."

How would you describe the culture at Bilfinger?

"It's very important that you respect each other. We work with people of many different nationalities. Besides Dutchmen and Poles, also people from Romania or Lithuania, for example. I think it's important that everyone is treated the same; whether it's a mechanic or a project manager, we treat everyone with respect."

Why are you proud to work at Bilfinger?

"I'm proud to have come this far already. From first mechanic to foreman, that's quite a step for which I also did a lot. Learning Dutch, for example. At Bilfinger I also asked if I could take lessons in that and fortunately that was possible."

Why should new colleagues come to work at Bilfinger?

"Every day is different, it's always a surprise. And you work together a lot, of course. Besides that, I just enjoy building things."


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