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Marcel van der Vries - Insulation foreman

Bilfinger is a stable employer where things are just fine. That is important. In addition, of course, the colleagues. I work with a good, clear and transparent project manager. And that is also very important to me. In short: for me, the grass is not greener on the other side!"

The story of Marcel

How did you end up at Bilfinger?

"When I was 18 years old, I was looking for a job. I saw an advertisement in the 'Nieuwsblad van het Noorden' and applied for it. I really liked doing technical drawing, so the position of insulation mechanic appealed to me. I started an apprenticeship and started making sheet metal in the workshop. Later I also started assembling and disassembling myself at factories such as NAM, Friesland Campina and Delamine. In the meantime, I have grown to be an assistant foreman. Because the Northeast Netherlands region where I work is so large, that means I actually take on a lot of things; from recording to visiting customers, and of course managing my team."

Why have you been working at Bilfinger for 34 years?

"Bilfinger is a stable employer where things are just well managed. That's important. In addition, of course, the colleagues. I work with a good, clear and transparent project manager. And that is also very important to me. In short: for me, the grass is not greener on the other side!"

What does your job entail?

"I usually work with a small team of four to five colleagues, depending on the projects. But sometimes there are as many as 60, on a large project. Officially, I am a cooperating foreman, but because this region is so large and fairly fragmented in terms of work, I actually take on many different tasks. So I have a lot of variety in my day. Also because here in the north the locations I work for are spread out; I work at factories in Zwolle, Bijlen, Delfzijl, etc. Then it's important to plan things well, but also that you can trust your team, because you can't be everywhere.

To give an example of what I do on a project for a power plant where there is a maintenance stop once a year: I start by recording the work. Based on my drawings, the sheet metal is made in our prefab center in Roosendaal or here in Groningen; that actually always goes well and it always fits. Then I also do the calculations and work preparation. For larger jobs, by the way, this is done by the work planner and calculators. Then, in consultation with the project leader, I make sure that materials are ordered and that there are enough people to do the work. During the work I have to make sure it is finished on time, and of course consult with colleagues from other disciplines such as scaffolding construction and any other maintenance work, so that everything fits together seamlessly. Do I ever isolate myself? Yes, sometimes I am also busy in the workshop or with assembly on the work site, if necessary. But I think it's important to give my team the confidence to take things on themselves."

Why does your job continue to be fun?

"I really enjoy working in engineering anyway. It's so nice to be able to see that when you finish a project, you've created something beautiful together. That from a drawing something so beautiful is created. You have a lot of satisfaction from your work. I also have a lot of variation in my day. And I find it very challenging to manage some processes all by myself; the communication with the customer, the paperwork, the execution of the work and the feedback to the customer. This also gives me a lot of responsibility and again that satisfaction when real professional work is delivered."

How important is teamwork to you?

"I think it's important when you have good colleagues who have competencies, to be able to give them the confidence to work independently. Then I can let go of things myself, to be able to connect the dots again in other work.  But of course my team can always come to me with questions. I also enjoy coaching colleagues, with measuring for example. I think working together is very important, also for training future new colleagues, for example.''

Why should new colleagues choose Bilfinger?

"When you start insulating, you really learn a craft. You can really learn something here and start a career. For example, last year we had a new colleague who came to us on a special pathway. He tried very hard and worked neatly. He enjoyed his work and wanted to learn. Since then he has developed well and has also joined us permanently. That's super nice to see.

So if you want to learn a craft, have opportunities for advancement and training and also want to work at a company where business is good, you should apply at Bilfinger!"

What do you like to do outside of work hours?

"I did a lot of skydiving. I made as many as 600 jumps! I have since stopped but have a new hobby: Cold water and ice swimming. That is very good for your immune system. I then use the 'Wim Hof' method for my breathing."


Do you also want a career with opportunities for advancement at a stable company? Get started as an insulation technician or in one of our other positions! 


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