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Stef Bal launches the Green Challenge 2022

24 May 2022

Last year Pauwels Consulting launched the Green Challenge. During the week of World Bicycle Day (June 3rd) we encourage our consultants to leave their cars aside and travel by bike or on foot as much as possible. 

To motivate our colleagues even more, we will donate to Think Pink an amount based on all registered ‘green’ journeys in that week. The more hours our consultants are active, the bigger the amount for Think Pink!

We spoke with Stef Bal, the Pauwels consultant who last year recorded the most green hours. We are curious to see whether he will defend his title this year!

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Stef, can you introduce yourself? 

Stef‘I am Stef Bal, 29 years old and I am a Quality Engineer and Validation Expert.’

Interesting! What exactly do those jobs entail? 

Stef‘I started at Pauwels Consulting as a Validation Expert. In that function, I set up complex analyses and performed risk analyses.

I am currently working as a Quality Engineer on my project. The first months I was lab supervisor. A very varied job in which you deal with many stakeholders and often need to be able to switch quickly.

In the meantime, since February, I have been responsible for Quality Assurance and I handle customer complaints, audits and all other tasks related to quality assurance.’

"Pauwels Consulting is a big player, and that opens the door to big companies and interesting training opportunities."

How did you end up at Pauwels Consulting? 

Stef: ‘In 2020 it was time for the next step in my career. Through my professional network I came across an interesting vacancy at Pauwels Consulting. And look, now I have been working here for 2 years!’

And that makes us very happy! What are the advantages of working for us? 

Stef‘First of all, Pauwels Consulting is a big player, which opens the door to big companies and interesting training opportunities. The internal team is always available and follows up on me, which I would like to thank them for!

Furthermore, I’ve been able to work on a lot of different projects. I could never have gathered that experience as an internal employee, and that is precisely what makes a Pauwels Consultant so valuable.’

Last year you were the winner of our Green Challenge. Are you going to defend your title in 2022? 

Stef‘Of course I am going to defend my title. (laughs) Unfortunately I have less time this year, so it will be more difficult. But in the end, it’s all about the idea behind it. Getting out more, enjoying nature and getting to know your colleagues… Participating is already winning in the Green Challenge.’

Last year you collected 29 green hours in one week. How did you manage that?

Stef‘Wow, I had already forgotten that I had spent 29 hours exercising. Quite crazy actually! 

I mainly walked. I didn’t have a bike at the time and if I had to run all those hours, I would never have made it to the end of the week.’ (laughs)

 

"The Green Challenge is the ideal initiative to bring consultants closer together."

Why did you take part in the Green Challenge? 

Stef: ‘I thought it was a fun challenge and of course I also wanted to do my bit for a good cause. We all know someone who has had to deal with breast cancer, and Think Pink does wonderful things. And of course, sustainability is also important.

Enough reasons to participate! What did you like most about the Green Challenge? 

Stef: ‘The connection with my fellow consultants. We are usually so spread out that we do not always know who our colleagues are. Thanks to the Green Challenge I got to know other Pauwels Consultants via Strava, LinkedIn and other social media. So this is the ideal initiative to bring consultants closer together.

And finally, one more question: what is your ultimate tip for colleagues who also want to participate?

Stef: ‘Everything is about planning. Last year, I worked a full-time job and had a flexi-time on Fridays and Saturdays. So I had to plan in advance on which days I had to perform more in order to move as many hours as possible.

Hence my advice: motivate yourself, make a good plan and go for it. Go crazy!

Stef, thank you for this interview and your tips!

Will you break Stef’s record this year?

Do you, as a Pauwels Consultant, also want to raise money for Think Pink? Quickly check your mailbox, register on Strava and start warming up for the week of 30/5 to 5/6. We wish you the best of luck!

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Koenraad Goddeau: an engineer with more than one passion

10 May 2022

Technical Engineer Koenraad Goddeau has now been a permanent member of the Pauwels Consulting team for nine years. But did you know that he also has a truly fascinating hobby?

We had an interesting conversation with Koenraad about engineering, childhood dreams and zythology, so if you are curious about what zythology is, find out below!

 

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Hi, Koenraad. Perhaps you can introduce yourself to our readers?

Koenraad Goddeau: Of course. My name is Koenraad Goddeau, I’m 50 years old and I live in Gooik with my partner and three children. I’ve worked for Pauwels Consulting since 2013, and at the moment I’m a Project Engineer.

What does a Project Engineer do exactly?

Koenraad Goddeau: I have a wide range of responsibilities in construction projects, both for new-builds and for conversions: method statements, material takeoffs, tenders, site organisation and site follow-up, safety and so on.

It’s all part of my day-to-day job. I’m also setting up a team that offers supporting engineering activities: the Engineering Technical Services Team.

How did you come to work at Pauwels Consulting?

Koenraad Goddeau: After I got my degree in Electromechanics, I took a one-year specialisation course in Control Theory. After a while I had the opportunity to join an international service team in the nuclear industry. That was a really great experience! 

After that, I worked as an international Commissioning Engineer for a company specialising in dust explosion protection. That was also very interesting.

After ten years of travelling, I decided to take on a challenge that was a bit closer to home. And that’s how I entered the exciting world of engineering consulting. I’ve now been a member of the Pauwels Consulting family for nine years.

"At the 2021 World Beer Awards in London, Goyck was awarded best beer in the 'Sour/Wild Ale' category."

You also have another passion besides engineering. What do you do in your spare time?

Koenraad Goddeau:

My hobby is beer brewing. My brewery Toots has marketed three beers already. The first beer is called Toots. It was named after Belgium’s national treasure, jazz musician Toots Thielemans. It’s a beer of high fermentation with a fairly low alcohol content and a subtle citrus aroma, which we achieved through dry hopping with Nelson Sauvin hop from New Zealand.

The second beer, Goyck, is the result of my collaboration with the Lindemans brewery. It’s a 5% blended beer that’s based on both Toots and a smooth Lambic. The last beer, the Belgian AmBassadeur, is a tripel made with green, freshly picked Saaz hop from the Czech Republic, which we brew only once every two years.

How interesting. So how did you become interested in beer brewing?

Koenraad Goddeau: I actually rolled from one hobby into another. (Laughs) About twenty years ago, I opened my own pub. It was my childhood dream, and I really wanted to expand my knowledge about beer. So I took a course in zythology, which is a different name for beerology, to become a beer expert. We brewed the Belgian AmBassadeur Beer as my graduation project. I loved it so much that I signed up for a brewing course.

And it paid off because you won a major award in 2021.

Koenraad Goddeau: That’s right. Goyck was named the best beer in the Sour/Wild Ale category at the World Beer Awards 2021 in London. It was a unique experience that I’m obviously very proud of. 

What’s also great is that it’s a collaboration with the Lindemans brewery. Geert Lindemans and I are both from Gooik and he’s a close friend of mine.

Do you have any special brewing plans in the near future?

Koenraad Goddeau: We celebrated what would have been Toots Thielemans’ 100th birthday on 29 April 2022, and we’ve launched a special edition of Toots in collaboration with the Toots Thielemans Private Foundation. We added a photo of Toots to our logo on the label and the foundation is selling the beer at a wide range of events. This autumn, we’re also launching a fourth beer: Saison Robert.

Before we say goodbye, could you tell us where our readers can buy the Toots brewery beers?

Koenraad Goddeau: Firstly, we have our own website and webstore: www.toots.be. Goyck is also available in the Lindemans brewery’s webstore. And of course, you can also find our beers at local specialised beer retailers.

I’m looking forward to tasting them! Thank you for this lovely chat, and good luck with the Toots brewery and your work at Pauwels Consulting, of course.

Would you like to drink a nice glass of Toots, Goyck or Ambassador? Quickly order your favorite at www.toots.be.

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Brent Ghijs supports Lopen voor Lyme

18 Mar 2022

Did you know that a tick bite can change your life from one day to the next? Unfortunately, Brent Ghijs’ sister, Tiana, can testify to that.

Tiana’s life has been dominated by Lyme disease for the last three years. Chronic fatigue, ailments and a hefty medical bill make Lyme disease a cruel disease.

That’s why this year, Tiana is organising a walk and run in Steenhuize-Wijnhuize for Lopen voor Lyme, a walking and running event held by the Lymefonds (Dutch Lyme Disease Fund) to help patients pay for their medical bills.

And it goes without saying that our colleague Brent wants to help his sister. So, he’s looking for sponsors or supporters to walk or run with him on 9 April. It’s a very heartwarming story!

Brent, would you briefly introduce yourself?

Brent: “Hello, I’m Brent Ghijs. I’m 26 years old and I’ve recently moved to Munkzwalm with my girlfriend. I work as a Fibre Engineer Consultant for Pauwels Consulting.”

Nice! How did you come to work at Pauwels Consulting?

Brent: “I tried a lot of courses at university, from ICT to health and well-being sciences, and eventually graduated as an industrial electrician.

In May 2021, Daniel from Pauwels Consulting asked me if I’d be interested in becoming a Fibre Engineer Consultant. And I’ve been working at Pauwels Consulting for almost a year now.”

And we’re very happy about that! What does a Fibre Engineer actually do?

Brent: “I take care of troubleshooting errors on the customer’s fibre network. I go on site if there are any network faults or outages, and once I’ve located the problem, I send subcontractors to fix it.

I also measure fibre-optic cables in head-end stations around Antwerp, Limburg and Brussels, and I do rack checks so work on the customer’s network can run smoothly.”

"Since my sister was diagnosed with her illness, she's no longer the cheerful person she used to be."

Interesting. Brent, we recently heard a great story about you. You’re organising a walk and run for the benefit of the Dutch Lyme Disease Fund. Can you tell us more about that?

Brent: “Well, my sister Tiana has had chronic Lyme disease for three years now. In that time, the disease has affected her body in its entirety. Since Tiana became ill, she hasn’t been the same. She lost her joy and enthusiasm for life, and she’s no longer the person she used to be. She lost her job due to the illness, so she also spends much less time out of the house.

At the same time, my sister is very strong-willed and, despite the fatigue and many pains and ailments, she’s still fighting the disease. As her big brother, I can’t let her do that alone. That’s why I’m supporting her ‘Lopen voor Lyme’ campaign.”

Why is Lopen voor Lyme needed?

Brent: “Treatment for chronic Lyme disease is different for each patient, which makes everything rather complex and expensive. The health insurance fund reimburses part of the costs for treatment for many illnesses, but in Belgium chronic Lyme disease is not recognised as a chronic illness.

In the past, Lyme disease was thought to be ‘just’ an acute infection that could be resolved with a four-week course of antibiotics. These treatment guidelines have never been updated, which means that the health insurance fund doesn’t help to cover the costs of treatment.

That’s why the Dutch Lyme Disease Fund created Lopen voor Lyme. Patients can register a team of runners and walkers for this event, and that team then raises money for both the patient and the charity.”

"Tiana often had to deal with 'medical gaslighting'."

Splendid, Brent. Let’s take a step back. You said your sister lost her joy for life. How does chronic Lyme disease affect your sister’s life?

Brent: “The disease has a huge, but also partly invisible impact on her life and on those around her. Tiana has virtually no immune system left, and several of her organs have been damaged. The disease affects her eyes, digestive system, muscles, joints, bladder, lungs, heart and even her brain.

As a result, she now has problems concentrating and can’t sit still or stand up for long, for example. At the same time, there have been days and months when she’s slept 22 hours a day and didn’t have the strength to get out of bed.

Unfortunately, outsiders can barely see how much the disease affects her as she doesn’t look ill. What’s more, Tiana is still trying to hide her symptoms from the outside world. Consequently, she often pushes herself beyond her own limits and has to pay for it afterwards.”

"Tiana is forced to watch her young life pass her by."

That’s really tough. Especially for someone so young!

Brent: “That’s right. The disease has a severe mental and emotional impact on her life. It took three years for my sister to get the correct diagnosis, and that hellish search has left deep scars. Tiana often had to deal with ‘medical gaslighting’, where doctors sweep patients’ complaints under the carpet. Nobody recognised Tiana’s symptoms, so she was often told that there was nothing physically wrong with her. One doctor even suggested it was basically all in her head.

At the moment, Tiana sees her friends and peers moving in together, getting married or having children. She’s forced to watch her young life pass her by. It’s also a grieving process: Tiana mourns for who she was and for the things she can no longer do. I hope that after the treatment, she’ll be back to normal and be able to continue her life as any of us should be able to.”

And that’s why you’re helping to organise the walk. How did you come up with that particular idea, Brent?

Brent: “My sister follows the Dutch Lyme Disease Association (Lymevereniging) and the Dutch Lyme Disease Fund closely to stay up to date on the latest breakthroughs and to get to know fellow sufferers. The Dutch Lyme Disease Fund organises an edition of Lopen voor Lyme every two years, and Belgians can also take part for the first time this year.

That’s convenient, because Tiana’s treatment is due to start in April. My sister signed up as soon as she heard about it. And I’d love to help her.”

Brent: “Lopen voor Lyme will take place on 9 April 2022. We’ll start at the ‘t Berghof café (Bergestraat 1) in Steenhuize-Wijnhuize between 12pm and 2pm. You can sign up at https://www.lopenvoorlyme.nl/brent-ghijs-team-tiana.

It only costs €5 to sign up, but you can choose to donate more if you wish. And if you can’t make it on 9 April, you can simply make a donation.”

Tiana

"The treatment takes about a year and will quickly reach €12,000."

And the money raised goes entirely to your sister?

Brent: “75% of the money raised goes directly to Tiana. The money will be used to pay for her treatment, which takes about a year and will quickly reach €12,000. That’s a huge sum, especially for someone who can’t work due to their illness.

The other 25% goes to the Dutch Lyme Disease Fund to fund research and prevention campaigns for the disease. Hopefully, we can make sure that future patients won’t have to suffer in the same way as Tiana.”

Can you tell us a bit more about the event itself?

Brent: “The walk or run is definitely worth it. Tiana and I have set a course in the cosy town of Steenhuize, where we grew up. It’s a farming village with lots of fields, so it will be a nice walk and run through nature and the neighbouring villages.

We walk or run together. You can walk or run quickly if you wish, but what’s important is that we want to send a message to the government that Lyme disease is a serious illness that wreaks havoc on your life.

We’ll also try to separate those taking part out a bit, however, to make sure the event is Covid-secure. That’s why we’ve chosen a free start between 12pm and 2pm.

Afterwards, there will also be some live music and a tombola, where people can enjoy a drink and some entertainment in ‘t Berghof, near the start and finish line.”

Sounds good. Who can take part?

Brent: “Everyone! Young or old, it doesn’t matter! The walk or run is 10 kilometres, but you can adjust your route if that’s too far or not far enough. It’s the taking part that counts, and the message we’re sending is even more important!”

"Every contribution is one step closer to my sister's healing process."

Brent, thank you for sharing your story with us. Do you have a final message for everyone?

Brent: “First and foremost, I’d like to thank Pauwels Consulting for their contribution and support in this project! Pauwels Consulting promised a family atmosphere and working environment when I started, and now they’re really putting their money where their mouth is. I’d like to say a big thank you to all of you who helped make this happen!

I’d also like to thank everyone who supports me and my sister, both with sponsorship and by coming along to walk or run. Each contribution is one step closer to my sister’s healing process, and is another step forwards in treatment.

And finally, I’d also ask everyone to enjoy life each and every day! For most of us, getting up in the morning to go to work, playing sport or doing other things is a given, but that’s not the case for everyone.”

Thank you, Brent. We wish you and Tiana every success with the event and the treatment!

You'd also like to support Tiana and Brent?

Visit https://www.lopenvoorlyme.nl/brent-ghijs-team-tiana to register for the running and walking event or make a donation. Pauwels Consulting is a warm-hearted family. We're grateful for everyone's efforts!

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From colleagues to running buddies: an extra challenge for Lize and Lisa

04 Mar 2022

Besides being colleagues at Pauwels Consulting, Lize and Lisa are fast friends and running buddies. Together, they run 5 km a few times each week in Ghent, while at the weekend they both train for the 11K event that is part of the Ghent Marathon. We asked them about their motivation, experiences and aspirations.

Hi there, Lize and Lisa. Can you briefly introduce yourselves?

Lize: I’m Lize. I’m 27 years old and I live with my partner and 2 cats in Ghent, just 3 minutes from our office by foot. I’ve been the Recruitment Lead of the Life Sciences team in Flanders since the start of this year, making me responsible for all our recruitment activities.

Lisa: And I’m Lisa. I’m 25 years old and I work as a Recruitment Consultant at Pauwels Consulting. I also have 2 cats, and I also live in Ghent (laughs).

Nice to meet you, Lize and Lisa! How did you end up at Pauwels Consulting?

Lize: After doing my Master’s in Social Economics and teacher training, I started looking for my first ‘real’ job in the summer of 2019. I wanted something fast-paced and ambitious, which is why I ended up setting my sights on recruitment. Pauwels Consulting jumped out from the pack. The young, enthusiastic energy here really won me over.

Lisa: For me, it was the company culture at Pauwels Consulting that appealed to me immediately. After my Master’s degree in History and Communication Sciences, I was not exclusively looking for a job as a recruiter. But then I took a kind of fun test on the Pauwels Consulting website,  after which I was contacted to submit my application. So I did, and now I’m here (laughs).

That’s great. Have you been running together for long?

Lisa: No. Neither of us is very sporty. We both started feeling pretty down in summer 2021, and thought it would be a good idea to exercise. Unfortunately, we don’t exactly have the time or energy to work out before or after work. That’s why we now go running in the Zuidpark during our lunch break. Through the ‘Start to Run’ programme, we’ve slowly improved our conditioning, and we now run 5 to 10 km in one session.

Lize: I sometimes jokingly say that I like to eat, so I go running in order to keep eating. On a serious note, though, we work high-stress jobs where we sit all day long. We both felt that we needed more movement in our lives.

Thanks to running, I now have more energy and I feel better about myself. ‘A healthy mind in a healthy body’ is a saying that rings true for me. After all, it’s not just about exercising. Running for an hour is also a way to relieve stress during a busy work day.

Lisa: That’s exactly right! Evy from Start to Run also always says that you know you’re setting a good pace when you can talk while running (“the talk test”). Getting some air while having a positive effect on your body and your conditioning are all good things that come from running!

What’s more, getting started is easier than most sports. All you need are some good running shoes. Once you walk out that door, you’re on your way.

You’ve now both registered for the 11K section of the Ghent Marathon. How did you come around to doing this?

Lisa: They always say: “If you can run 5 km, you can run further.” We signed up to take on an extra challenge. It’s something to look forward to and train toward.

Lize: It’s the first time I’ll be participating in a running competition, so my expectations aren’t especially high. I would just love to reach the finish line, preferably more alive than dead. (laughs)

Are you specifically preparing for the Ghent Marathon?

Lize: Not really. I bought a good sports watch a few months ago, and I mainly use it to monitor my heartbeat. In the meantime, I know my own pace and if I can keep up I’ll be really happy.

Lisa: We’re training just the same as we did before. For us, the pace doesn’t matter much. Monitoring our heartbeats is the most important thing. Sometimes we do interval training or train at a higher heart rate. Above all, we believe it’s important to maintain our conditioning so that we stay in good shape.

Have you gotten to know Ghent better during your training?

Lize: I’d say I’m finally getting to know Ghent. I’ve lived here for two years, and during our countless coronavirus walks, I’ve been down virtually every street in the city. I find genuine enjoyment running here, especially when the sun is shining. I never thought I’d say it, but it gives me energy.

Could you do without running anymore?

Lisa: It depends. I get a runner’s high if I run more than 5 km. The first 5 km are always the hardest, but after that, I just keep going. I also feel the itch to run. If I can only run once in a week, I find myself really looking forward to running more the following week. It gives me a tremendous sense of satisfaction.

Lize: It’s the same for me! Sadly, I don’t get a runners high, and the first few kilometres are always a battle for me. That’s something I still need to get over. Still, I’ve never regretted running after a run.

How do you motivate yourself to go running?

Lize: Our recipe for success is to run together in the afternoon when we’re both in the office. That allows us to spur each other on. Or, if I’m being honest, it’s mainly Lisa dragging me along with her (laughs).

I also like to listen to upbeat music. That gives me energy. When I’m having a longer running session, though, I prefer to listen to a podcast. It makes me forget that I’m running.

Lisa: I can’t run while listening to a podcast. I just chat with Lize or listen to music. I need something with a beat to give me energy.

Do you have any final tips for other consultants who would like to start running?

Lisa: If you’re not used to it yet, it’s best to build up your fitness through a programme like Start to Run. And be sure to buy a good pair of running shoes!

Lize: It’s not hard to get started. You just have to get out there and do it. Then it’s just a matter of sticking with it. My biggest tip: if you find it difficult to motivate yourself, find someone with whom you can run at the same pace together. That helps me enormously. Good luck!

Thank you for the interview, Lize and Lisa! We wish you every success and enjoyment in your training. I’ll see you on 27 March at the Topsporthal in Ghent for the 11K. Looking forward to it!

Ghent Marathon 2022

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From overweight teen to sportaholic: a wonderful story

25 Feb 2022

If you had told Stephanie at 15 that she would be running, horse-riding and boxing at the age of 25, that she would be sweating her way through HIIT sessions and that she would participate in the Ghent Half Marathon, she probably wouldn’t have believed you.

We had a wonderfully honest conversation with Stephanie about her difficulties with obesity in her youth, and the passion for sports and dietetics that came from it. If you need some inspiration for your next sporting challenge, keep reading.

Stephanie, would you briefly introduce yourself?

Stephanie: I’m Stephanie De Sterck. I’m 25 years old and I live in the countryside in Lierde. My partner lives in Lede, and I work as a complaints analyst in Puurs. Each day, I investigate and follow up on complaints for a major pharmaceutical company.

Interesting! How did you find your way into this job?

 Stephanie: After completing my studies in Nutrition and Dietetics, I started working as a quality manager at Solina in the food industry. It was a nice job, but I wanted to take on a new challenge. Last year, Maxime from Pauwels Consulting contacted me for an interesting project and voilà – now I’m here. I investigate complaints on a daily basis, I check whether they are justified, I look at samples, and I investigate where potential errors have occurred.

What do you do to clear your head in the evening?

 Stephanie: Exercise! It can really calm me down. I used to want to challenge myself by seeing if I could run faster within a specific time. I was very focused on figures and results at the time, and I was meticulous with my diet. I weighed everything. Now I exercise more for fun and to find a sense of inner peace.

My brother renewed my motivation to eat and exercise a lot.

Weighing up your diet… it calls for discipline! Have you always been so conscious about sport and health?

 Stephanie: No, and this is perhaps my greatest intrinsic motivation. Up until my 15th birthday, I was always obese. As a result, I developed an eating disorder when I turned 15. My brother gave me the motivation to start eating again and exercising a lot at 16.  Strength training, high-intensity interval training, boxing, running… I did it all – and I still do. I’ve also taken up horse-riding in the last year. Most days I don’t sit still.

On 27 March, you’ll be running the Ghent Half Marathon with Pauwels Consulting.

 Stephanie: That’s right! I’m looking forward to it. I like to challenge myself to try new things and I like to set goals. After a few viking runs, it’s now the perfect opportunity to take on a longer distance and also meet my colleagues at Pauwels Consulting. I expect that I’ll have a hard time because I’ve just been out with a fracture for two months, but a good mindset can do wonders.

You’re right! Do you do any specific preparation for a half marathon like this one?

 Stephanie: Yes, I do. While injured, I’ve been walking around inside or outside four or five times a week. Now I have to build up my strength. Luckily, I recover quickly, so I think I’ll be ready in time.

In any case, I try to run at least three times a week in preparation for any run. I alternate this with HIIT routines, and I took up horse-riding last year. In the last two weeks before a run, I also increase my carbohydrate intake to make sure I have sufficient carbohydrate reserves at the start. The day before a run I usually rest, eat some spaghetti and go to bed early.

Close the laptop, throw on some clothes and get out there.

How do you combine this with your work schedule?

 Stephanie: I still work a lot from home. That’s perfect for getting plenty of exercise in. I prefer to run in the morning, but if I start at 7am then I’m not too keen to get up to go for a run at 5am. In that case, I’ll just go running after work. Close the laptop, throw on some clothes and get out there. And if it’s too cold, I just jump on the treadmill. With the right music, I can always motivate myself.

Do you have any tips for other consultants who want to start running?

 Stephanie: Above all, try to enjoy it. Sport doesn’t have to be a competition. It’s the perfect way for me to relieve stress. That’s why I don’t have Strava or any other app. I’d like to see my distances, but my times aren’t as important to me as they used to be. Pay attention to that kind of thing for too long and you’ll have a sports burnout, and then the fun’s gone.

I would also say: be patient in building up your stamina and take regular breaks. Don’t just go out and run 20 kilometres if you haven’t trained for it. Start by jogging for 10 minutes, then walk for 2 minutes and build it up from there. Even if you have a strong intrinsic motivation, you should also look for external factors that make running (even) more fun. A pleasant environment, a fun playlist or a fun dog that can join you: it can make a world of difference.

Thank you for the tips, Stephanie, and for your great story and openness. I wish you every success and enjoyment in preparing for the half marathon. See you at the Flanders Sports Arena in Ghent on 27 March! Train hard!

Ghent Marathon 2022

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No child should be left out

03 Feb 2022

“No child should be left out.” That’s why IT consultant Filip Devry supports the non-profit organisation Alain Moloto vzw in Liedekerke. With his IT knowledge, social commitment, proactive attitude and a few old laptops, docking stations and computer monitors from Pauwels Consulting, he once again put a smile on a number of children’s faces last year. Filip doesn’t flaunt it himself, but we thought that he – and Alain Moloto vzw – deserved some attention.

Filip, you’re beaming. I have before me a happy man.

Filip: That’s right. All the publicity we can get for the non-profit organisation Alain Moloto vzw is welcome! We’re always looking for people and professionals who want to help us. That’s why I’m happy to talk about it.

Before we get to Alain Moloto vzw, can you briefly introduce yourself?

Filip: Certainly. I’m Filip Devry, IT consultant at Pauwels Consulting, and I live with my wife, son and parents-in-law in Liedekerke. My daughter has already left the proverbial nest and now has a daughter herself. I’m a happy grandfather of 53.

In the early 1990s, I entered the ICT field. It was really a booming business back then. In the 2000s I was part of a group of ICT specialists who provided support to people at home who had ordered ADSL, but couldn’t get it to work. After that, I had an IT support company as a sideline, but I stopped in 2016 because the stress and the (sometimes lost) energy outweighed the pleasure of working.

That said, I’ve always enjoyed ICT and helping people. Since I started working in ICT, I’ve continuously taught myself and been able to work through self-study. Between 1993 and 2016, I spent as much as 15 hours a day working with ICT. It was – and still is – a passion.

And then you joined Pauwels Consulting?

Filip: Yes. I’ve been working at Pauwels Consulting since 2018. I mainly focus on second- and third-line end-user support and the roll-out of new systems. If possible, I do this with a team around me. I enjoy working with colleagues and motivating them so we can achieve good results together.

Filip Devry

Since I started working at Pauwels Consulting, I’ve rolled out Windows 10 to a number of wonderful clients such as NN, Partena and De Lijn. For 17 months now, I’ve been working for YPTO, an IT department that carries out the IT activities for SNCB.

So I’ve been with Pauwels Consulting for almost four years. How fast time flies! But if you’re happy with your employer, you don’t have to change, no matter how hard companies on LinkedIn try and convince you to change employer.

I always politely hold them off. I know what I have right now, and if you change, you can never really be sure. I hope to be able to work here until I retire.

That’s music to our ears, Filip! Can you tell us a bit more about Alain Moloto vzw in Liedekerke?

Filip: Alain Moloto vzw fights against child poverty. The non-profit organisation supports both disadvantaged children in Liedekerke and in the Congo. Within the non-profit organisation, I mainly focus on helping children in Liedekerke. We help them with homework in Dutch, in school and after class hours. This assistance is provided by retired and active teachers entirely on a voluntary basis. How nice is that?

How did you end up with Alain Moloto vzw?

Filip: That came quite naturally. The managers are French-speaking, and communication with Liedekerke’s city council and CPAS was difficult. Eventually, they ended up with me in 2019. I’ve lived in Liedekerke since 1971 and know many people here, including its politics. I also speak three languages fluently, including Dutch and French. Furthermore, I was consciously looking for ways to fight poverty. When Alain Moloto vzw also allowed me to narrow the digital gap between wealthy and less wealthy children, everything came together nicely.

I’m now a kind of liaison officer between the non-profit organisation and the local government. I also take care of their website and social media channels, and help organise dinners and other activities to boost their funds. The latter, of course, has been somewhat sidelined by Covid. We therefore had to be creative.

So I thought: many foreign-speaking and less well-off children in Liedekerke don’t have a computer. At Pauwels Consulting, we have lots of computers. Hand-me-downs that still work. Why not give those laptops a second life? This way, we kill two birds with one stone: fewer laptops go to the tip, and ‘our’ children can make good use of those laptops, especially in these Covid times where remote learning is increasingly becoming the norm. Without a computer, less well-off children will be left out and fall behind, and we can’t let that happen. They have it hard enough as it is.

 How did you raise this with Pauwels Consulting?

Filip: Gee, at first I didn’t dare bother our CEO Bert about this. That’s why I contacted Melina, our new Talent Manager. I quickly found my way to Bert through her. He was immediately won over by the idea of donating ICT equipment to Alain Moloto vzw. It turns out that he supports many charities, but deliberately does so under the radar. Bert is very modest. In any case, he immediately had a number of laptops, docking stations and monitors delivered to Alain Moloto vzw, and I made sure that Windows 10 was installed. The laptops are now managed by the CPAS in Liedekerke, and the docking stations and monitors are deployed by Alain Moloto vzw in computer classes at various schools in the neighbourhood.

I think we can be a little less selfish and think more about others.

Filip Devry

What a wonderful story, Filip! I can imagine that all help is welcome. How can other people and entrepreneurs still support Alain Moloto vzw in the future?

Filip: They can always use material help. We’re mainly looking for laptops, desktops, mice, backpacks and laptop bags that are no longer needed and may be slightly damaged, but still work well. So I’d say humbly to all CEOs and IT managers: instead of throwing all this equipment away, feel free to contact me on +32 (0)475 29 97 52. I’ll make sure that the equipment is collected and reaches the children. It’s great for the children and good for the environment.

Of course, we can also always use financial help to buy things ourselves. Donations can be made to Alain Moloto vzw using the details at the bottom of this article.

Thank you, Filip. Is there anything else you’d like to share with the readers?

Filip: Well, I’ve always paid attention to people who have a harder time in our society, but it hasn’t always been easy to find the way to the right agencies to offer help. When I came into contact with Alain Moloto vzw, it immediately felt right. I think we can be a little less selfish and think more about others.

Poverty, especially among children, affects me deeply. So did the floods in Wallonia last year. Because of my work at YPTO, I travel to train stations around Belgium. If there are homeless people begging at the station, I’m always happy to put a few coins in their cup. The smiles on their faces and their gratitude are indescribable. No one chooses to become homeless, but everyone can choose to help others.

These are great words to end on, Filip. Thank you for your commitment and inspiring message!

Do you also want to support?
If you'd also like to support Alain Moloto vzw, contact Filip on +32 (0)475 29 97 52 or get in touch with Alain Moloto vzw directly
vzw Alain Moloto

Marie-Jeanne Moloto
0485 – 87 47 05

Manager
contact@alazin-moloto.com
https://www.alain-moloto.com/
https://www.liedekerke.be/verenigingengids/Alain%20Moloto%20vzw

BE48 0018 1308 7927 – GEBABEBB

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Pauwels Blog

Giving blood together

06 Jan 2022

In recent years, various colleagues at Pauwels Consulting have regularly donated blood in Ghent. Björn Nachtegaele, Senior Account Manager Engineering, is one of the driving forces behind this relatively new tradition. It’s time for a heart-to-heart chat.

Björn, you give blood regularly, and you are persuading more and more of your colleagues to do it with you. That’s great!

Björn: Thank you. I’ve been giving blood for a long time. It doesn’t take much effort, but it can save lives. That’s why I’ve been sending out a general message to my colleagues every few months in the last few years. It’s not an official invitation, but a message that I’m going to give blood again.

This gives people the chance to say whether they are interested in joining me, without any peer pressure. I then contact each colleague who has expressed an interest separately to set a date. You quickly notice that the threshold for giving blood is lower when you can do it together with others.

How did this initiative come about?

Björn: I’ve only been giving blood consistently for two or three years, but Pauwels Consulting has had loyal blood donors in its ranks for some time. When the topic came up, I decided to check with everyone in our back office to see if they wanted to take part, too.

To our great joy, there was a high level of engagement and since then giving blood has become a tradition. Colleagues, including new donors, now spontaneously swing by my office to ask when I’ll be organising the next one. We now have a core group of around 12 to 15 colleagues.

You notice that colleagues are more inclined to join in when we make it a kind of ‘team event’. It makes doubters more likely to say yes and new donors enthusiastic. A lot of people get cold feet at the thought of it, which can be remedied if you feel supported by colleagues and friends.

Are colleagues afraid to donate? How do you help them in that case?

Björn: Some are a little more nervous than others, of course. But you get can used to anything, including giving blood. A needle in your arm will never be pleasant, of course, but there’s little point making it a bigger deal than it is.

That said, I would never push my colleagues to come with me. Everyone decides for themselves. Someone may also have a private reason why they can’t give blood. It’s only if I see that someone wants to take part, but still has some doubts, that I know what I need to say to get that colleague on board. Even so, there should already be some clear interest or initiative on their part.

Are you still afraid of the needle?

Björn: Let’s just say that you get used to it (laughs). I’d be lying if I said it doesn’t bother me one bit anymore, but all in all I can handle it quite well by now.

Why is donating blood so important to you?

Björn: I don’t think this needs much explanation. Blood saves lives – it’s that simple. And it really doesn’t require much effort to give something you’re going to create again shortly afterwards anyway. The Red Cross is facing an immediate shortage of donors, so every little helps.

Do you have any tips for colleagues or others who want to donate for the first time?

Björn: Above all, make sure that you have eaten and drunk enough fluids beforehand. If there’s one time you can sneak in some extra sugar, this would be it. Drinking lots of water is just as useful. Other than that, don’t think about it too much. Just let it happen. We’ll distract you (laughs).

Björn Nachtegaele is an Account Manager at Pauwels Consulting. He has 10 years of experience in recruitment and account management in consultancy. He advises accounts such as Elia, Tuc Rail, etc. with expertise in large-scale infrastructure works.
Do you have a question for Björn? Contact him here.

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Working as an IT Support Officer: Pascal Verbaere

06 Jul 2020
In our series 'Pauwels people' we talk with our consultants about life as a consultant, working for Pauwels Consulting and our clients. Today, we give the word to Pascal Verbaere, IT Support & Helpdesk Officer.

In which IT domain do you work?
I work as an IT support & helpdesk Officer and I handle multilingual incoming IT request about issues.

How long have you been working for Pauwels Consulting?
I started working for Pauwels Consulting in 2012. I liked the Pauwels vibe and I applied for a vacancy at  Wincor/Nixdorf in Zaventem which is close to where I live (Brussels). In the first period at Wincor/Nixdorf, I did remote support for banks with regard to ATM money machines.

Tell us a bit more about your projects
I’m just in between projects right now. My last project was at Delhaize, for Diebold/Nixdorf. We offered remote support for all Delhaize shops in Belgium, mostly related to the cashier systems but also pc and server issues. In a few days, I will start working for Capgemini as a user support officer for software, hardware and other computer systems.

How do you look back on your IT career? Which project did you find most interesting, which company did you like most?
Before I started at Pauwels Consulting, I worked a while for Sibelga in Brussels, as a 1st & 2nd line support agent and I liked it a lot, because it was a job with lots of variation and movement, I did not only offer remote support but I also went on location every now and then. During my last project at Delhaize, I very much appreciated the pleasant team atmosphere and the good team leader.

What are your favourite IT tools/sources/…?

There is no specific tool that I am particularly fond of, my greatest satisfaction is to be able to solve any IT issue right away and thus help people in need.

Do you have some good advice for young IT professionals?
I would advise young people who are at the start of their career to be patient and not to give up too easily. I have worked with many young people and I’ve noticed that they tend to switch jobs/companies very easily because they strive for a perfect picture. However, nothing is perfect, and job satisfaction depends on a variety of factors, so it is important to view the complete picture.

What are your hobbies & interests?

I like doing sports in my spare time, preferably outdoor sports like running, biking and hiking. I love being outside and getting a breath of fresh air after work. I have participated in several sports events organised by Pauwels Consulting, such as the Zermatt Marathon in Switzerland in 2014 and the biking tour in Temse a couple of years ago.

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Mother Rita & daughter Zenzi choose Pauwels Consulting

02 Jun 2020
In our series 'Pauwels People' we talk with our consultants about life as a consultant, working for Pauwels Consulting and our clients. Today we speak to mother Rita & daughter Zenzi who both work as Life Sciences consultants, a family unique for Pauwels Consulting! Zenzi works at J&J as Microbiology Expert Support and Rita works in Switzerland as Senior Project Manager.

Hi Rita & Zenzi, can you introduce yourselves?

Rita: Sure, together with my husband Patrick, I’m a proud parent of Zenzi, Egon & Reina. I got my Master’s degree in Electromechanical Engineering in 1989. I have a knack for languages (French, English, German, Spanish,…) and love to travel and work in Asia and Europe. I have been lucky in the sense that since my first job as a Project Engineer at Air products, I had the opportunity to regularly go on business trips to e.g. England, Scotland, Italy, France & the Netherlands.

Zenzi Renard & Rita CrapsI became acquainted with Pauwels Consulting during my projects at various pharmaceutical companies. I knew that it was a partner for strengthening a project team with people who have specific knowledge within validation, quality control and quality assurance. By now, these areas of expertise have grown. At the moment, I have been working in the pharmaceutical & biotechnological sector for about 15 years and I have already gained a lot of technical knowledge.

I have a real passion for “beauty, perfection, quality, uniqueness, authenticity & learning”. I highly value these concepts and always work in a result-oriented way in order to achieve one or more, at and off work.

Zenzi: Hi, I am Rita’s daughter 🙂 and obtained my Master’s degree in Biomedical Sciences at KU Leuven in 2017. Shortly after, I started my career as a Project Coordinator at Medpace Reference Laboratories, where they conduct clinical research. This job taught me a lot about planning, deadlines and clear communication. Since my start at Pauwels Consulting in 2019, I also work as a Life Sciences consultant.

Which projects do you currently work on?

Rita: Since August 2018, I work in Switzerland at a big pharmaceutical company as Project Manager Engineering for the Greenfield Project: “Next Generation Manufacturing Facility”. We’re building a new bio-manufacturing Cell according to a modular design with an optimized output. Very exciting. I’m having a great time here and recently, my team grew with a new Pauwels colleague, so that’s nice :).

Zenzi: I started my first project at J&J as Microbiology Expert Support in the DPDS Microbiology department. Here, I mainly work on the testing methods of microbial purity of medication in production and the transfer of these methods to all sites.

Was a foreign project always on your ‘career to-do list’, Rita?

Rita: Due to my previous experiences abroad, I was not specifically looking for a new foreign project, but the combination of the assignment and the Swiss challenge was the deciding factor for me to leap once again :).

Zenzi, you’ve heard a lot of stories from your mum, did you think you would apply here?

Zenzi: Not right away, we both knew we were in contact with Pauwels Consulting, but each in our own way. My mum chose Pauwels Consulting because the Swiss project seemed like a great challenge for her to carry out. I chose Pauwels Consulting because of the variety of assignments at different clients I could do and the atmosphere.

Actually, when I applied, I didn’t say anything about the fact that my mum already worked here. It’s only later on, that I mentioned it to my account manager Jelle Vandemenschbrugge, who of course, was very surprised but quickly reacted positively and spread the good news :).

“Don’t think, but reflect on it”

Would a foreign experience also appeal to you, Zenzi?

Zenzi: I’m definitely open to the possibility! My career is still in its infancy and I still have a lot to learn. If there were a professional opportunity, geographical borders would certainly not stop me!

 

What makes a project interesting?

Rita: A fascinating project is one in which I can make choices and take responsibility, but still keep the balance between applying my current experience and acquiring new knowledge. I can certainly find that balance in this project and that makes working at Pauwels Consulting great.

Zenzi: A job is interesting to me if I can learn a lot professionally. I like a challenge! That means that I like to face a problem that I can sink my teeth into, understand how the problem arose and come to a solution. This is, of course, best when you are surrounded by experienced and intelligent colleagues :). And there is no shortage of that at Pauwels Consulting and J&J!

That is certainly true! By the way, how is the collaboration with Sofie, your fellow Pauwels Consulting colleague?

Zenzi: We have a pleasant and smooth collaboration. Hopefully, she feels the same way 😉 (laughs). Sofie is a friendly and intelligent woman, she has a lot of experience and explains everything very clearly to me. I’m learning a lot at the moment! We can also chat about all sorts of things, which makes for fun relaxation during lunch breaks.

What do you like about working for Pauwels Consulting and its clients?

Rita: Working as a consultant at Pauwels Consulting gives me the opportunity to choose the assignments where I can apply my experience, but still offer me enough challenge and where I keep learning!

“You yourself are at the proverbial wheel of your career”

Zenzi: For me, the atmosphere at Pauwels Consulting was decisive. Of course, I had heard many stories from my mum but as a scientist, I always think: “first seeing, then believing”. My first contact was with Valentijn Velghe, a recruitment consultant, who welcomed me very warmly. He conveys the open, honest and supportive culture of Pauwels Consulting very well.

In addition, later on, I was well received by Sofie and Junior, who also works at J&J. Every month, we have lunch with all J&J – Pauwels Consulting colleagues to keep in touch, because we work across different departments. I think it’s a great initiative!

At J&J, I really enjoy working with all my colleagues, including the employees of J&J, which is not unimportant to me! I can easily get in touch with anyone with my questions, so I can learn a lot quickly.

Would you like to work together once and would that go well, you think? 🙂

Zenzi: Sure! I think I can also learn a lot from my mum. I’m curious about our interaction on a professional level… Would our bond change anything or not? We know each other through and through, much better than average colleagues, the small gestures and unique traits, the things to which we attach importance,… Actually, I suspect that just like at home, we would make a good team professionally and complement each other very well.

Rita: I would certainly like to collaborate with Zenzi provided that her way of working is a good fit with mine. We are both result-oriented, focused on what needs to be done with respect for the agreements made and this in the most efficient way. Moreover, we could perhaps challenge each other about certain methodologies or the plan of approach. That would certainly make the collaboration interesting!

Zenzi, do you think your mom could learn something from you?

Zenzi: Hah, the question we should probably ask is: What can’t I learn from my mom? (laughs). Sorry for the cliché, but my mom truly is my heroine! A woman of great ability, knowledge and experience. I wouldn’t know where to start to teach her :). I’m very proud to say that Rita is my mom!

Some wise words from my childhood that I learned from, guess who, my mom, might be applicable here… “Don’t think, but reflect on it.” Always look at the situation from multiple perspectives, don’t jump to a certain conclusion without having all the information.

Rita, do you have any advice for Zenzi and starters like her?

Rita: Advice for starters hmmm… Don’t forget, you’re at the proverbial helm of your career. Your vision and insights determine your own growth, not only professionally but also personally. Moreover, you are not alone on this journey!

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Working as a Commissioning E&I Engineer

20 May 2020
In our Pauwels People series, we talk to our consultants about their experience as a consultant, working for Pauwels Consulting and their projects. Today, we're talking to Paul Vander Schelden, who worked as a Project Engineer at several companies and was a Commissioning E&I Engineer for Fluxys to help build a tank in the LNG Terminal. Now, Paul is retired and is making the most of his free time!

Can you introduce yourself briefly?

Hi, I’m Paul Vander Schelden, I graduated in 1979 as an industrial engineer electricity option control technology. Married and proud father of two beautiful sons. Throughout my career, I have always been interested in technical installations in terms of maintenance and supervising projects.

paul vander schelden commissioning engineer

What do you like to do in your spare time?

In addition to being a master in repairing (patching up) most things, I like walking, cycling, gardening, skiing, traveling, dancing, filming snorkeling, diving and recently, I’ve picked up reading as well!

Can you tell us a bit more about your studies & professional background?

Sure, the interest in electricity and electromechanics was ‘taught’ to me by my brother-in-law who took the time to explain to me how things work, accurately but simple. Add to that the fact that during high school my two favourite subjects were mathematics & physics and that I was fascinated by the ‘invisible’. So, the choice for Industrial Engineer Electromechanics was easy!

After my military service (yes, that still existed then! :)), I started working as an automation engineer at Honeywell in the Process Automation Center Europe in Evere. After this first experience, I began my job at Shell as Maintenance Manager Electricity. This meant that I was responsible for the instrumentation & automation of the entire site with a refinery, chemical & oil plants, power production, high-voltage cabins, fuel storage,… In addition, they also counted on me for the start-up of new installations. At Shell, I gained a lot of knowledge and was able to follow many training courses: Atex, AREI, preventive maintenance, steam techniques, flow measurements and mass flow meters, flame detection, ISO 9001,… This made me into the Engineer that I am now.

At Shell, I climbed the corporate ladder and was promoted to Project, Maintenance & Purchase manager under the joint venture Shell / Exxon; Here, I was project owner of stand-alone realisations such as the maintenance warehouse, steam generators, compressed air compressors, altering the tank park in accordance with Vlarem regulations, engineering and building a crums mill, etc. Unfortunately, the site was closed after three years due to overcapacity within the group. After that, I worked at EOC, Sicpa and Veurne Snack Foods (part of PepsiCo). At the latter, I had to switch assignments, and I had to go abroad a lot. This was too hard for me and not in line with what I really wanted to do.

How did you come into contact with Pauwels Consulting?

After my adventures at Sicpa, EOC and PepsiCo, I wanted to return to the world of engineering and construction in the (petro)chemical & energy sector where my roots lay. I was then contacted for the construction of a Fluxys natural gas compression station. They were urgently looking for a Supervisor Electricity, Instrumentation & Automation to oversee the construction of the compressor station.

Fluxys teamThe application went very smoothly. I had an instant connection with Jan Fyens, Business Unit Director Engineering and the Fluxys Project Manager. Spontaneous, open and with mutual respect. I knew right away that it wouldn’t be an easy assignment, as the project was already well advanced, but the team spirit was vibrant so I took the plunge!

Can you tell us more about your projects at Pauwels Consulting?

I would like to tell you a bit more about my favourite and most difficult project that I carried out, and the lessons I learned from them. My favourite project is the first project I carried out, mentioned above, Supervisor for the natural gas compression station. From greenfield to startup. The nice thing was that I was able to go through all facets of the project: evaluation of the engineering documents, reviewing the scope, mechanical completion, commissioning, the punch list, checking the manufacturing record book, drawing up and following up the readiness for start-up issues, completing the Vlarem declaration, and so on.

I got to know the full functionality of the station and helped solve issues that went wrong. There was an excellent team spirit between the client and the contractors that was clearly perceptible. I felt that my presence truly had added value and I received a lot of appreciation for my work. That gave me an enormous boost!

The most difficult project I ever did, was engineering a 400kV DC connection between England and Zeebrugge. There was a tangled project structure that made it difficult to communicate in general and to inform the stakeholders. As a logical consequence, the team spirit was less good and it was more difficult to get things done.

Both projects who stand opposite to one another, have as a common thread the communication that played a decisive role. From this I learned that transparent communication and collaboration are crucial for the proper execution of the project: who is responsible for what, how can I contribute, where can I find the right documents, who can I address about certain topics… It brings unnecessary stress which sometimes leads to mistakes and it influences the will to finish a project.

What did an average day look like for you?

Oh, let’s see. I always started the day by greeting my nearest colleagues. After that, I reviewed my priorities for the day by looking at what needed to be addressed urgently and if there were any questions from my supervisors. I then opened my mailbox to answer the emails that I could be answered directly. A quick clean-up.

This was followed by a check for scheduled meetings: what is my to-do list and do I still need to prepare for tasks/questions? After the meetings, I would finish what I started that morning. If there was any time left, I performed other routine tasks. A busy day as you can see but I did take the time to socialize, shortly before work, during a coffee break or lunch. It is very important to do this, sometimes you can detect issues early on or resolve disagreements but above all, you can quickly integrate yourself as a consultant into an existing team!

What good advice can you give to starters?

Do what you promise, don’t be afraid to say if you can’t do something and ask for an explanation or help when you’re stuck! There is no shame in that! Everyone experiences it and learning is a continuous process. In addition, it is important to understand the project structure as soon as possible and to establish contacts with your team. Don’t be the solo player! Clear communication with your manager is important, give as correct and honest answers as possible to his/her questions.

Solid advice Paul! We wish you a super and well-deserved retirement! Do you already know how you are going to fill your time?

Thanks! Actually, I don’t (laughs), it will be a bit of a slow start because of the coronavirus but I hope I can fill my time usefully!

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