Each year, the financial-economic weekly Trends nominates the 200 fastest-growing and financially sound companies in each Belgian province based on their turnover, workforce and cash flow over the past five years. For the eighth consecutive year, Pauwels Consulting was honored as a Trends Gazelle for the province of Flemish Brabant. We had a brief conversation with Bert Pauwels, founder and Managing Director of Pauwels Consulting.
Bert, congratulations on this Trends Gazelle Award. The eighth in a row. How did you celebrate this award?
Bert: : Thank you for the congratulations. We have celebrated the award in silence (laughs). Of course, we already shared the news with our colleagues during our annual New Year’s Eve party and thanked them many times for their share in obtaining this award and all previous Trends Gazelle awards. After all, they all deserve and receive this award. Furthermore, I myself also silently enjoyed the fantastic result that we all have achieved.
What’s so great about the Trends Gazelle Awards is the fact that they are based on objective figures over a longer period. At the end of 2012, Pauwels Consulting had 187 employees and we achieved an annual turnover of just under 14 million euros. At the end of 2017, our group had 520 employees and we achieved a turnover of 52.2 million euros. A wonderful growth achieved with and by a great team. I am very proud of the team and very grateful for this result.
What would be the biggest mistake you could make at this point, Bert?
Bert: To lean back and assume that we will remain successful no matter what. That is nonsense and the biggest pitfall of any successful organization.
At Pauwels Consulting, we continually strive to earn the business of our customers, time and again. We manage to do this by keeping our feet on the ground and by finding the right people for the right projects.
While doing this, we are not only focusing on the near future, but we are also keeping in mind the ambitions our customers and consultants want to achieve in the long run. Furthermore, we continue to invest in new services and markets.
How do Pauwels’ recent acquisitions fit into this vision?
Bert: At the end of 2016, we acquired PIT-Advisor, an IT project sourcing company from Antwerp. That acquisition brought us new customers and new business: PIT-Advisor has traditionally also been a supplier of Power-i software, for example. Previously, we did not have any experience with Power-i. Now, we do.
The acquisition of Vandycke & Partners and Mediconsult provided a boost in 2 areas. Thanks to the acquisition of Vandycke & Partners, an established name in the field of executive search & selection, we are now also able to provide our clients with difficult top profiles for permanent positions within life sciences.
Through the acquisition of Mediconsult, a top name in the field of project sourcing within the life sciences industry, we have gained a fantastic team of recruiters and consultants. The integration of Mediconsult and Pauwels Consulting has now been completed, by the way. This means that our recruitment teams now cooperate integrally. This offers fresh perspectives and a lot of energy on the work floor and allows for an even faster service for our customers.
To conclude, the acquisition of Akros Solutions strengthened our position as IT project sourcing party in Brussels. The team at Akros Solutions is doing a really fantastic job. Our close cooperation truly provides added value for our services in Brussels.
If I am not mistaken, Pauwels Consulting is actively and explicitly looking beyond Belgium as well?
Bert: Absolutely! We have been active in Switzerland and France for years. In the past few months, we’ve followed up on our international ambitions with a new dedicated website for the French market and a dedicated French team to strengthen our position on the French market.
Furthermore, we have also attracted a business manager for Switzerland. In 2018 and in the following years, we will fully focus on the continued internationalization of our services.
Finally, Bert, can we expect new acquisitions in 2018?
Bert: Since our collaboration with 3D-Investments in January 2016, we have focused on organic growth and growth through strategic acquisitions. We will continue to do so in 2018, both in Belgium and abroad!
If we see interesting organizations with the potential to strengthen our position during our search, we will certainly spark up a conversation about a possible acquisition. It is not a ‘must’, but we do keep our ears and eyes open (laughs).
Thank you for this conversation, Bert. Again, congratulations on this Trends Gazelle award and the results achieved by your team. Good luck with the further development of Pauwels Consulting.