Pauwels Blog

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.

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


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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Pauwels people

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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Pauwels people

Working as a Full Stack Developer – Sam Apostel

17 Apr 2020
In our series 'Pauwels people' we talk with our people about life as a consultant, their projects and working for Pauwels Consulting & our clients. Today, we're meeting Sam Apostel, Full Stack Developer at Pauwels Consulting & Cock's Vleeswaren. Sam loves extreme sports en would like to start his own business one day!

Sam Apostel full stack developerHow long have you been working for Pauwels Consulting?

I just joined Pauwels as a Full Stack Developer about two months ago, my first day was on February 5th.

Why did you choose to work for Pauwels Consulting?

I had several job offers I could choose from and I found the Pauwels offer the most attractive. Both the job content and the team at Cock’s Vleeswaren were appealing to me. I had smooth and pleasant contact with Inez and Bram and thanks to their fast action, I was able to sign my contract 4 days after my first phone call with Inez. Since both my parents have experience in consultancy, I was already familiar with the consultancy concept and taking on a consultancy job myself was quite a logical step.

In which IT domain do you work?

Full-stack development.

On what project are you currently working?

I am developing both for front end (React) & back end (PHP). We are building a portal for clients and suppliers of Cock’s Vleeswaren, a meat processing company in Sint-Niklaas. The functionalities we are working on are e.g. showing fact sheets, sending invoices, launching campaigns, registering orders.

What kind of projects would you like to do in the future, where do you see yourself in 5 years from now?

I want to develop myself further in the domain of IT development, preferably within the context of a start-ups or scale-up. I’m also thinking about setting up a small company in brand development, as a secondary occupation.

What are your favourite IT tools/sources/…?

  •, a website for designers of user interfaces
  • Meetups, in particular, those of the Full Stack Antwerp group
  • self-built frameworks

Full-stack developer Sam ApostelWhat are your hobbies & interests?

I’m very fond of all kinds of (extreme) sports: climbing, sailing, skiing, biking. When biking, also to get to work, I usually listen to podcasts. I am a fan of the podcasts from Universiteit Vlaanderen and Nerdland (Lieven Scheire).

What is your favourite quote or dish or film or…?

I am a big fan of Marvel movies!

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Working as a Remediation Consultant: Sophie Clauwers

08 Apr 2020
In our series Pauwels People, our colleagues introduce themselves and talk about their projects and experiences. Today, we are going to get acquainted with Sofie Clauwers, Remediation Consultant at Pauwels Consulting.

Sofie, can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Sofie: Of course! My name is Sofie Clauwers and I am forty years old. It was eleven years ago that I married my darling husband Stephan. Three and a half years ago, we decided to leave the vicinity of Brussels and relocate to the Antwerp Campine, where we enjoy nature and the quietness.

What do you do in your free time?

Sofie: I find cooking and a healthy lifestyle challenging and interesting. This is also one of the reasons why I visit the gym regularly. Stephan and I enjoy walking and cycling if the weather permits this. Every now and then, we also try to discover a small area of our world, to enjoy nature as well as culture.

What studies did you complete and where did you graduate?

Sofie: I studied pharmaceutical and biological techniques at the Erasmus University College Brussels.

Where have you been working?

Sofie: I worked at the KU Leuven for twelve years, as well as at the Vlaams Centrum voor Bewaring van Tuinbouwproducten (VCBT, Flanders Centre of Postharvest Technology). At the KUL, I worked in the laboratory and assisted doctoral students with implementing their practical work. My tasks involved the development of HPLC methods as the implementation of routine laboratory tests. As such, I taught laboratory techniques to many international students. At the VCBT, we mainly researched how to extend the preservation of Belgian fruit and vegetables and how to avoid diseases.

How did you get in touch with Pauwels Consulting?

Sofie: My job at the KUL/VCBT was no longer as challenging as I wanted it to be. I had no career opportunities and there were no other jobs or tasks available for me. That’s why I decided to post my CV online and to look for a new challenging position. Only shortly after I was contacted by a Pauwels Consulting recruiter.

“My conversation with the Pauwels Consulting recruiter was surprising, to the point and professional.”

What was your first impression?

Sofie: It was my very first contact with a consultancy company. I must admit, I did not know much about consulting at that time, except that consultants were often recruited for short projects in the IT world. My conversation with the Pauwels Consulting recruiter was surprising, to the point and professional.

That telephone conversation was the start of my next career. (Smiles.) I have been working at Pauwels Consulting as a Remediation Consultant since 2011. It goes without saying that a lot has changed since then. Pauwels Consulting was already a fast-growing company, but through the years it has become much larger.

Could you tell us more about your current projects?

Sofie: My first assignment at Pauwels Consulting was at a quality laboratory of a large pharmaceutical company. I participated in checking the quality of the medicines which were to be introduced on the market. My next assignment was in 2013, at a different large pharmaceutical company. It was my task to properly go through the ‘compendial updates’. After all, for the analysis of most raw materials and medicines, ‘pharmacopoeias’, official government manuals with directions, describe how and which quality tests must be implemented.

These tests can be updated if a different method, device or reference material must be used. If such updates had an impact on our international products or techniques, I would inform the relevant persons as well. I also had the opportunity to participate in adjusting or creating internal specifications. After one year, the regulations and company structure were changed somewhat for external employees. This resulted in a new assignment for me: a remediation project. I have been working as a team leader on this project for two years now, together with two other colleagues.

What is the objective of this remediation project?

Sofie: The objective of the remediation project is to ensure that all international sites of the company deliver the exact same quality and that the products are also subjected to the same quality tests. Moreover, each country has its own guidelines and requirements which we must include. We recently completed our mission in a number of large Asian countries and just started a mission in South America.

What are your responsibilities during the remediation project?

Sofie: Each product has a ‘technical owner’. My two colleagues and I assist this owner in the remediation project. We meet and discuss which actions must be taken. At a later time, these actions will be described in a ‘change of control’ document. Each site and each external partner who is only slightly involved must submit an assessment, including the required activities to implement the changes, on a laboratory level as well as on a registration level.

Once the ‘change of control’ document is completed and approved, we follow up on the activities. This could involve having new methods developed, adjusting specifications, transferring methods and ensuring that the other sites qualify for these new methods up to and including ensuring that certain documents are created and registered… We also issue reports regularly. At that time, we discuss possible issues and explore how these could be solved.

What is challenging about this type of projects?

Sofie: I find it challenging and interesting to come into contact with so many different cultures. Making arrangements, specifically with regard to the timelines, could prove to be quite a challenge for example. We were even given training about holding meetings with other cultures and on cultural differences.

In the meantime, new regulations have again been introduced to my current principal. Because of these new regulations, I work on-site only one single day per week, which is applicable since the month of July.

Have you learned interesting things up to now at your current principal?

Sofie: At first instance, I was quite amazed about how large and spectacular my principal is and about the many differences between the various sites. Also, on a registration level, there are a lot of guidelines that differ per country. This makes everything even more complex. But, in itself, this is exactly what makes it a very interesting challenge.

“I find it challenging and interesting to come into contact with so many different cultures. Making arrangements, specifically with regard to the timelines, could prove to be quite a challenge for example.”

What would you like to do once this project is completed? What are your ambitions for the future?

Sofie: I trust I can work on this project for the coming years. What I would like to do after this project? Actually, the thought never even crossed my mind. I am very open-minded and always eager to learn more. However, I would like to continue in an administrative job and would not prefer to return to the laboratory.

In fact, I would just like an interesting job in which I can actually contribute. My husband could also be retiring in five years’ time and we are thinking about spending the winters in a warmer climate.

Is there any other wisdom you wish to share or perhaps an inspiring citation?

Sofie: Since I turned forty last month and lost my mother two years ago, I feel it is even more important to consciously enjoy, together with my husband. Don’t get me wrong, I love my job, but I also love to enjoy life to the fullest after my working hours! My message to others would be: consciously enjoy what you have as much as possible.

A beautiful conclusion, Sofie. Thank you for the interview and here’s wishing you success with your projects!

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Pauwels people

Dax Lauwers is helping develop an HIV test for the HIV vaccine

30 Mar 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 talk to Dax Lauwers, life sciences consultant and R&D scientist at Johnson & Johnson. Over the past few months, he has been involved in the development of an accurate HIV test which would make the approval of the HIV vaccine easier.

Can you introduce yourself?

Hi, my name is Dax Lauwers, I’m 23 years old and I live together with my girlfriend in Antwerp. I am a Life Sciences consultant at Pauwels Consulting and I’m currently working on my first project as an R&D scientist at J&J.

What do you do in your spare time?

I spend a lot of my free time on the rugby field as a trainer for the 12 to 14-year-olds and as a player. This is the ideal way for me to clear my head again. Some quality time with my girlfriend or a game night with friends or family is also something I can enjoy immensely.

What did you study?

My highest degree is a professional bachelor in biochemistry. I obtained this at AP-Hogeschool in Antwerp. Before that, I followed a Technical Secondary Education in Chemistry because science has always been a passion for me!

Can you tell us more about the HIV vaccine and your HIV test?

The HIV vaccine that J&J is developing is now in phase 3. In this phase, it will be assessed whether the vaccine effectively protects against the virus. This means that a certain ‘risk group’ is vaccinated and we check whether this has an effect on the number of HIV infections in this group. However, there is an issue with the vaccine. People who are vaccinated have to deal with ‘vaccine induced seropositivity’ (VISP). This means that current serological HIV testing is unable to distinguish between an HIV-infected and a vaccinated person. With a PCR test, this is still possible, but it is expensive and not universally available (electricity required, expensive equipment and reagents,…).

The goal of our team is to develop a highly sensitive serological HIV test, as sensitive as the current tests, that is capable of distinguishing the vaccinated individuals from the infected ones. We do this by looking for specific antibodies induced by the virus, but not by the vaccine.

Within the research department, we are a small team of 2 people, but besides us, there are many other people we work with to get this done. This is an important task because without this new test there is a big chance that the vaccine will be used much less, once it is approved by the different authorities.

What does an average workday look like for you?

I spend most of the day in the lab producing new data. What does that mean concretely? I prepare the experiments, oversee the execution and process and analyse the data. Later on, the data is then visualised in graphs and I discuss the results with the project leader.

If I still have time left, I document the experiments meticulously.

What exactly does such an experiment entail? 

lifesciences consultancy biotech

We test the reactions to serum, which is a part of the blood that contains the antibodies. We use healthy samples, vaccinated samples as well as HIV-infected samples. We then put our samples, approximately one microliter (0.000,001 L), in several test tubes on a 96-well plate. Next, we add antigens. When the antigens recognize the antibodies, they bind together.

Then we perform a detection step using an enzyme. If the sample reacts to the antigen, this enzyme will cause a blue color reaction when a reagent is added. This way, we can see which antigen triggers a reaction. The aim is to find antigens to which HIV patients react, but vaccinated patients do not. At the moment, we have already found 4 promising antigens. It is sometimes the case, for example, that antigen A shows a reaction on the first 7 samples, but not on the last three and antigen B the other way around. These antigens can then possibly be combined.

“I get a lot of motivation and energy from the feeling that I’m doing something meaningful for the world, and that’s the feeling I have with this project.”

Where do you find enough samples to test?

Initially, we only test about 30 to 40 samples, a number of healthy, infected and vaccinated. If there are really promising signs, we will test a larger sample set e.g. 200 healthy and vaccinated persons and 150 HIV-patients. We will purchase these samples from HIV patients in large ‘biobanks’, while the samples from the vaccinated persons will come from the clinical trials already carried out with the vaccine. The set must, of course, be sufficiently representative, so the more, the better.

Did you run into any issues so far, and if so, how did you deal with them?

We had some difficulties at the beginning of the year. The data was not as desired and there was something that caused a lot of variation during testing. It took some time before we found the cause of the variation and the data was again as desired.

In these times, I always try to stay positive and not let myself be influenced by any stress or frustrations. It’s not because the data is not like we want it to be, that the atmosphere has to suffer ?!

Is there a certain time pressure? 

We are a high priority project and we hope to have a ‘concept’ ready by the end of this year but we do not have a deadline. Preferably, we would like to have a new test on the market before the vaccine is approved.

Once the test is complete, can the vaccine be approved by the FDA?

When our ‘concept’ is ready, it will be passed on to a biotech company that will then decide in which ‘form’ or casing the test will be packaged. E.g. as a pregnancy test or as a lab test.

Once the ‘packaging’ has been determined and the test has been found to be reliable, the FDA and other government agencies can approve it and the new diagnostic product can be produced and rolled out.

How did you come into contact with Pauwels Consulting and what was your first impression?

Dax Lauwers R&D Scientist bij J&JI was actively looking for a new challenge and I had applied for an open position at Pauwels Consulting. Unfortunately, this didn’t work out, but a while later, I was contacted again by the same recruiter to inform me that he had found a vacancy that suited me perfectly. And he was right: R&D Scientist at Johnson & Johnson.

They thoroughly informed me about the project, life as a consultant and contract related issues. This gave me the feeling that Pauwels Consulting is a very professional company.

What do you like about these kinds of R&D projects?

I get a lot of motivation and energy from the feeling that I’m doing something meaningful for the world, and that’s the feeling I have with this project.

How do you like the consultancy experience so far?

This is only my first project, but I have a very positive experience as a consultant. The clients welcome you with open arms and I really have the feeling that I play an important role in the team.

What are your ambitions for the future?

After this, I would like to work again on a biochemical or immunological R&D project, so that I can gain more experience.

Do you have good advice for R&D starters?

Yes, you can always learn from your data regardless of whether it is good or bad!

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Pauwels people

Working in a MSA Technical Compliance team

29 Feb 2020
In our series ‘Pauwels People’, our colleagues introduce themselves and talk about their projects and experiences. Today, we are going to get acquainted with Tom Van Hees, Senior Consultant Engineering Services at Pauwels Consulting.

Hello, Tom. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Of course. I’m Tom Van Hees, I’m thirty-six years old and I live in Zonhoven with my wife and my two daughters Nine and Lore.

What was your education?

I graduated from the Katholieke Hogeschool Limburg (Limburg Catholic University College) as an industrial chemical engineer, with an option for biochemistry.

Why exactly did you choose that course?

I chose industrial engineering because of my interest in technology on the one hand and my interest in medicine and biochemistry on the other. These interests are combined in this course. I also considered it important that an industrial engineering degree would provide a variety of opportunities in the employment market.

What did you do after you graduated?

I have been working in the pharmaceutical industry since 2003. First I worked as a validation engineer at Schering-Plough (now MSD) for nearly five years, then joined Pauwels Consulting in 2008.

How exactly did you get in touch with Pauwels Consulting?

One of their recruiters contacted me with a number of interesting challenges. One thing led to another and I’ve now been a member of the team for eight years.

What projects have you already implemented on behalf of Pauwels Consulting?

Let me think. First of all, I validated laboratory equipment in Pfizer’s chemical lab. After that, I supported the validation of the logic phase (the control of the software) at Genzyme. I was also project leader for a CIP+ project for the Genzyme site. This was an optimisation project for the clean-in-place processes. I have also been a technical compliance engineer at Janssen Pharmaceutica in Geel and have been the leader and single point of contact (SPOC) of the MSA technical compliance team at that company since last year.

What exactly does the MSA technical compliance team at Janssen Pharmaceutica involve?

Pauwels Consulting introduced an initial ‘managed service agreement (MSA)’ at Janssen Pharmaceutica on 1 July 2015, in the context of the law on the employment of third parties. The aim of the MSA is to centralise the recruitment, administration, training, coaching, evaluation and optimisation of external employees and, thus, to limit the number of contractor companies.

“A good team of enthusiastic and flexible people is the most important factor for a successful MSA.”

What is the benefit of an MSA for Janssen?

Tom: The MSA formula has enabled Janssen Pharmaceutica to outsource a number of tasks. An MSA is a flexible formula in which part of the responsibility with respect to external employees is moved from Janssen Pharmaceutica to Pauwels Consulting. A managed service agreement also gives Janssen Pharmaceutica a better overview of the contractor companies it has. Furthermore, the external employees are now centralised, which reduces costs and provides room to renegotiate contracts.

What is your responsibility within the MSA?

I am responsible for receiving applications, the day-to-day management of the compliance team, planning resources, training and allocating the projects we carry out for Janssen Pharmaceutica. As the single point of contact (SPOC) I, together with Mélodie, am the contact person between Pauwels Consulting and Janssen Pharmaceutica for the MSA. I am the point of contact for the team as well as for the client, which makes communication easier.

Which projects are we involved in?

The content of the projects varies enormously, from very small changes in the area of process equipment to large migration projects (Delta V), renovation projects (Plant 3) and constructing a new data centre store.

Together with my colleagues at Pauwels Consulting, I take care of compliance support during these projects. In addition we also support other processes in the MSA, such as:

  • PSQR: the periodic review of the qualified status of equipment;
  • HAZOP: risk analyses;
  • EHS by design;
  • handling of calibration deviations.

Finally, there is also a group in the MSA that supports the process validation of technical writing and one person who looks after the qualification of laboratory equipment.

What has gone well in the MSA up to now and why was that?

The results of the MSA have mostly been regarded as very good, so it’s generally working well.

And what has gone less well?

Continuity is important in having the MSA run smoothly, but that isn’t evident. Many compliance engineers have left and/or been transferred to another project, which has meant extra loads on the existing team in the areas of efficiency, new training, etc. The shutdown was very busy and hectic as a result.

How will the approach to those aspects that went less well be different in the future?

There will definitely be sufficient manpower available during the next shutdown. As far as continuity is concerned, I shall be taking engagement and motivation into account even more during interviews. I shall also provide more facilities for discussion.

Do you have any tips for successful MSAs, based on your experience?

A good team of enthusiastic and flexible people is the most important factor for a successful MSA. The client and the single point of contact have to come to suitable agreements about the scope of the MSA, the responsibilities, etc. They also have to have clear agreements concerning roles, they must consult sufficiently and monitor good contact with all their clients.

Thank you for the good advice, Tom, and here’s wishing you success with all your projects!

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Pauwels people

From Site Inspector to Project Manager – Danny Germanus

27 Feb 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 talk to Danny Germanus, Project Manager at Omexom Hochspannung GmbH in Germany. Danny is a passionate engineer with a lot of experience at home and abroad!

Danny, can you tell us a bit about yourself?

Hi, I’m Danny Germanus, Project Manager at Pauwels Consulting. After my education in electricity & mathematics, I worked as a site manager for an installer of electrical installations for six years. This installer was specialized in placing lighting for large lighting projects. Later on, I worked as a project site manager for the same installer. At the time, I mainly worked on the biggest lighting projects where we installed medium voltage cabins to provide SME’s with a power supply and a general low voltage board.

Have you always worked for the same company?

No, in between these functions, I worked for another company for about 5 years as a technical service manager, responsible for the technical department. I was in charge of the preventive maintenance of all machines to avoid any production halts. Just before I joined Pauwels Consulting, I also took on a job as project manager for an installation company.

When and where did you come into contact with Pauwels Consulting?

I have been working for Pauwels Consulting since January 2011. A recruitment consultant contacted me about a vacancy as site manager at TUC Rail for the railway project 25N, also known as the ‘Diabolo project’. They wanted to build a direct train connection between Mechelen and Brussels Airport.

When I started the project, I had no experience in the railway industry. So, I insisted on starting as a site supervisor, rather than as a site manager. This allowed me to gain experience with the way of working and the procedures within the railway industry. My experience as a project manager truly helped me a lot.

Can you tell us a bit more about the Diabolo project?

Diabolo projectFor me, the Diabolo project was my first experience with catenary for train traffic of the NMBS/SNCB. At the time, several important civil works were already completed, such as the tunnels that were situated below the airport, the bed on the central reservation of the E19 motorway between Mechelen and Brussels and the railway bridge of the central reservation towards the train station of Mechelen. This was an important connection in which the station below the airport wasn’t necessarily a stopover station anymore, but where traffic could pass continuously.


After 8 months you got promoted from site supervisor to site manager and construction manager. That is quite a progression!

Indeed, after 8 months as a site supervisor, I was appointed as a replacement site manager. Later on, due to unforeseen circumstances during the Diabolo project, the construction manager couldn’t carry out his function anymore. So, I took on his responsibilities as well. I must say, I learned a lot during this project! For example, as a site supervisor I not only had to supervise the yard, but I was also in charge of all the work carried out by our contractors.

I also learned some valuable lessons as a construction manager. When I had just started, the Diabolo project was in the homologation phase. Additional tests and measurements on the catenaries were needed to finish the railway connection and put it into operation. I also got the opportunity to work on this, which was fantastic!

What do you like about these kinds of projects?

The client mostly takes an organization approach. A project is started, executed and finished. Most assignments lead to new projects and this offers growth opportunities.

So, there is plenty of perspective for the future. Collaboration with colleagues is mostly very good, you can always ask anyone for information.

Where did you start working after the Diabolo project?

In May 2012, I started as a site manager on the project that provides the new connection between the left and right banks in the port of Antwerp. This connection is now known as the ‘Liefkenshoek railway link’. Normally, this assignment would’ve lasted until 2016.

However, my employer was very urgently looking for an overhead line construction manager for the new line 50E, Brussels – Ghent. So, I took on the challenge of working as a High Voltage consultant on the GEN project between Anderlecht & Ternat. After this, a new world opened its doors for me, not high voltage as I had always known it, but the ‘real deal’: high voltage lines of 70, 150 and 380 kV.

I applied for a job at Omexom Belgium and was soon able to start as a site manager. As a result of my good language skills, I was seconded by Omexom Belgium to Omexom Hochspannung GmbH, Germany. They were assigned an important project in Belgium and I was given the opportunity to work as a site manager on the construction of a new compact 380 kV line. This was primarily for mast construction with French & Italian speaking colleagues. Later on, for the installation of conductors, I collaborated with German colleagues.

What convinced you to take the plunge into Germany?

DanAfter another follow-up project and interim experience with German teams in support of the execution of a project for Omexom France, I got a taste of projects abroad. After completing a renovation project in Belgium, it was clear that I did not shy away from foreign projects.

Because secondment via Omexom Belgium to Germany proved itself quite difficult at the time, I chose to contact Jan Fyens, Business Unit Director Engineering at Pauwels Consulting. We had kept in touch all those years, so I checked if it could be a possibility via Pauwels Consulting. With the help of Jan & Bernd, Talent Manager, I could soon start my German adventure!

Are you -to date- satisfied with your German experience?

Definitely, I’ve been a Project Manager for a little over a year now and although it’s not always easy as an outsider to integrate yourself into the world of the ‘Lignards’ (high voltage cable works), I have a very positive feeling. I am looking forward to the period to come!

If you could sum up your Pauwels Consulting career in 3 words, which would it be?

I could summarize my total career at Pauwels Consulting with the words team spirit, dynamic and competence. At the moment, I can express my  current feeling as ‘back home’.

Do you have any tips for future colleagues?

At every step in my career, I could count on a good collaboration with colleagues. Mutual respect and open, clear & transparent communication are important assets or skills. Not everyone is equally accessible to new colleagues.

I find it important that as a starting consultant, you show sufficient respect for the team you work for. This way, you can obtain a clear exchange of information. It works smoother, more constructive and above all, more pleasant!

What ambitions do you hold for the future?

Initially, I still wanted to do something within the offshore industry, for example working on a drilling platform or with wind energy but I think I’ll stay put for the time being. I have familiarized myself very well with this Lignard world and I quite like it ?!

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