Pauwels people

Working as Engineering Consultant: Luc Marivoet

12 Nov 2019
At Pauwels Consulting, we are continually looking for motivated consultants who are in a position to bring our clients’ projects to a successful conclusion. As a result, we interview lots of candidates and regularly take on interesting new colleagues. In our series ‘People of Pauwels Consulting’, our colleagues introduce themselves and talk about how they experience working at Pauwels Consulting and with our clients. Today, we are going to get acquainted with Luc Marivoet, Senior Engineering Consultant at Pauwels Consulting. Luc joined Pauwels Consulting in January 2013.

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

Luc: I completed my studies as a technical engineer at the campus in Boom in 1986. Following my education, I worked at Massive (later Philips Consumer Luminaries) for almost twenty-one years. I started as a Mechanic Engineer, progressed to Quality Test Engineer and rounded off my career as Quality Control Manager and Auditor. In the meantime, I also worked for a while as Quality Manager and Assistant Technical Manager for another lighting company.

“I’m still not tired of travelling.”

Have you ever worked in other countries during your career?

Luc: During my career in the lighting sector I often had to travel to other countries for inspections and quality audits. I met my wife during one of those business trips. I travelled to China in 2008. I went to look for work so I could be closer to her, which is how I came to work at Daqo NKT Cables. I worked there for a year as Operations Manager in the railway industry.

And then you came back to Belgium?

Luc: Indeed. We wanted to start a family. Furthermore, my job as Operations Manager in China had finished. The decision to return to Belgium was therefore made fairly quickly. When I came back to Belgium I was able to start as Quality Manager straight away. I did that job for three years and after that, I was ready for something new again.

Did you get in touch with Pauwels Consulting then?

Luc: That’s right. Pauwels Consulting contacted me because of my CV, which I had put on a jobsite. They were looking for a Quality Officer for the Signalling Projects department within the organisation that manages the Belgian rail network’s infrastructure. This department is responsible for integrating all the signalling equipment projects (for example, signal box concentration, TBL1+, ETCS, etc.) into a cohesive project management structure. The vacancy looked very attractive to me and I started there in January this year.

“I like to work on a project basis and have found my feet at last.”

What does your position entail?

Luc: As ISO Quality Manager in a team of four, I am responsible for setting up, implementing, monitoring and maintaining the ISO 9001 certified quality management system in the Signalling Projects department. I am also responsible for Supplier Quality Assurance (SQA) management.

What do you like so much about the job?

Luc: The variety. On the one hand, I write and define processes, and on the other hand, I perform quality audits internally and at suppliers in other countries: assessing the quality of products and processes. I’m still not tired of travelling.

Do you have any plans for the future?

Luc: I like to work on a project basis and I get the feeling that at Infrabel I have found my feet at last. They need the expertise of consultants and there is enough work for years to come. So I hope to be able to stay here for a while. Should Infrabel decide otherwise however, as a consultant, I would be able to face a new challenge somewhere else quite quickly.

“As a Quality Manager you work best according to a step-by-step plan”
Do you have a golden tip for a future colleague?

Luc: Thanks to my experience as a Quality Manager and Auditor, I have learnt to use an analytical and structured approach, with a good balance of pragmatism, ambition and customer sense. Don’t discard structures and procedures entirely. The best way is to work according to a step-by-step plan. Observe, analyse and improve, taking other people’s expertise into account. You’re never too old to learn and in a team environment you often come up with a better solution.

Thanks for sharing this wisdom with us Luc. And thank you very much for this interview!

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Maxime van Belle Content Marketeer

Pauwels people

Working as a Supply Chain Manager – Ann Claus

08 Nov 2019
In our series ‘Pauwels People’, our colleagues introduce themselves and talk about how they experience working at Pauwels Consulting and with our clients. Today, we are going to get acquainted with Ann Claus, Supply Chain Manager at Pauwels Consulting.

Hello Ann, can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Ann: Sure! I’m Ann Claus, born just before the eighties (laughs) and mother of a nice family with two children. Sepp is eleven years old and Sam is 9 years old.

What do you do in your spare time?

Ann: In my spare time, I exercise a lot: Pilates, BBB and running. Doing some muscle toning exercises and going for a run in the woods… I love it!

What did you study?

Ann: I graduated in 2002 as Master of Business Economics at the Thomas More College in Antwerp.

After that, I also followed some additional trainings – APICS and PMP – to speak the same language and jargon as other supply chain and project management professionals. That’s really useful when I work on projects.

Why did you choose these studies?

Ann: The Master of Business Economics – very similar to The Master of Applied Economic Sciences – offers a broad training. You learn how to read company balance sheets, you get to know the different types of organizations, you get an introduction to legislation, etc. In short: you learn a lot of different perspectives to tackle interdisciplinary problems / issues.

What is your professional background?

Ann: I have about 10 years of work experience in various parts of the supply chain. I have worked in the food and pharmaceutical industry, mainly in international environments. Thanks to my first work experience in procurement and production planning, I got my first project: the construction and equipping of a warehouse.

Then, I took part in an operational excellence program. During this program, the following three questions were very important: (1) What causes the biggest losses within our supply chain? (2) At what cost? and (3) How can we improve the situation through tools such as a value stream map?

These experiences, combined with an executive position within manufacturing, gave me the know-how to tackle major change projects within the pharmaceutical industry. Product portfolios that need to be sold and phased out (divestment), for example, or the opposite: existing processes that need to be modified in order to include new products (integration).

“If you don’t climb the mountain, you can’t see the view.”

How did you get in touch with Pauwels Consulting?

Ann: I got in touch with Pauwels Consulting in 2015. An interesting job led to a pleasant exploratory conversation, this conversation quickly led to a new project, and voila! (Laughs)

What was your first impression of the company?

Ann: Pauwels Consulting struck me as a correct and transparent company. There’s also a healthy drive to offer something valuable to all parties.

Does the company still live up to those expectations / impressions?

Ann: Absolutely! In the future, I hope to continue my cooperation with Pauwels Consulting in the same way.

Can you tell us a bit more about your current project?

Ann: I currently work at GSK Biologicals in Wavre. GSK recently bought the vaccine component of Novartis. I am part of the project team that will integrate the Novartis vaccines in the GSK processes, without impacting the patient.

What is the goal of the project?

Ann: The goal of the project is to integrate the vaccines from Novartis within GSK, country by country. There is more to it than just the shipping of the product to the GSK warehouse. Before the first shipment leaves the manufacturing plant and the GSK warehouse, many other aspects are examined and documented.

Our team focuses on questions such as: Do we have the necessary authorizations from the local authorities to import and to sell? Can we use the same cold chain management solutions within GSK? Does the product have a financial routing?

Do you want to work on projects just like Ann?

What are your responsibilities during this project?

Ann: I build bridges between central and local teams. I also manage and monitor the necessary activities within the supply chain. This way, all countries can manage the new products on their own within a time span of up to six months, and in accordance with the GSK products and procedures.

What are the timelines of this project?

Ann: By the end of 2016, most of the countries will have incorporated the new products in their portfolio.

What do you find interesting about this project?

Ann: For me, the “fun factor” lies in bringing together very different aspects. You have to fit them together like pieces of a puzzle, as quickly as possible. Such a range of product and / or country-specific requirements offers a wide view. It always exposes a certain complexity that requires a solution.

What would you like to do after this project?

Ann: Many things! (Laughs) I would like to focus on change projects: expand the current activities of an organization, integrate a new product or phase out products. In short: I want to work on projects with a clear “fun factor”!

What are your ambitions for the future?

Ann: I want to convince others of the value I can provide by effectively translating strategy into execution. Projects that temporarily support an organization by reducing the transitional period.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?

Ann: “If you don’t climb the mountain, you can’t see the view.” I love mountain holidays. You face steep rocky and snowy paths, but once you reach the top, the view is extraordinary. Totally worth the effort! I saw this quote in a mountain village. It applies to myself and to the commitment I have to deliver good results. It’s an attitude I want to pass on to my children as well. (Smiles)

Thank you very much for this lovely interview, Ann. I wish you all the best for the future!

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Pauwels people

Working as a IT Program Manager

27 Oct 2019
In our series ‘Pauwels people’, our colleagues introduce themselves and talk about how they experience working at Pauwels Consulting and with our clients. Today, we are going to get acquainted with Rudi Princen, Senior IT Program Manager.

Hi Rudi. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Rudi: Sure! My name is Rudi Princen. I am 51 years old, married and I have four children.

What do you do in your spare time?

Rudi: Since I work part-time, I have more spare time than most people. That doesn’t mean I’m not busy though. (Smiles) I like to spend quality time with my wife and children. We love to travel, for example, and if the weather is nice in Belgium, we occasionally go on scooter tours through Limburg.

Together with my wife, I also run a spiritual association: Oneness. We regularly organize spiritual sessions or events with interesting local and international speakers. My wife is also a horse coach, so I’m regularly working with horses as well.

What did you study, and where?

Rudi: I graduated as a Translator / Interpreter French – Modern Greek. After that, I got a diploma in Economics and Social Sciences from the University of Bergen as well.

Later, I also obtained a Master in Modern Finance at EHSAL Brussels and a Master in Auditing at the ‘Kamer van Rekenplichtigen’ in Antwerp.

Why did you choose these studies?

Rudi: I have always been fascinated by other languages and cultures. I have lived and worked in Greece for a year, for example. That’s why I wanted to become a Translator / Interpreter.

During my language studies, my interest in economic and financial sciences eventually got the upper hand. I wanted to know more about those fields of study and apply that knowledge later on.

How did you get in touch with Pauwels Consulting, and what was your first impression?

Rudi: I got in touch with Pauwels Consulting – quite recently, actually – through GSK. My first impression? Pauwels Consulting is a large professional organization that is deeply engaged with its clients.

What did you do before joining Pauwels Consulting?

Rudi: I have about 24 years of work experience, mainly as an IT project leader and as an IT program manager, of which 14 years at Accenture.

I have been working in the banking sector for about 7 years, in the public sector – mainly at BPost, the Federal Government and various European institutions – for 11 years and in the industrial sector for 6 years, of which 2 years in the pharmaceutical industry.

I like working with teams on big, innovative or ambitious projects, preferably within a digital context: web or multi-channel applications for transactions with customers, partners and employees.

“I love the responsibility to realize a challenging timeline and scope with a great team.”

Which of your previous projects did you like most of all?

Rudi: I have led many interesting IT projects and programs at Accenture, particularly in the public sector. I learned a lot during those projects.

Some of the most prominent programs I’ve ever managed, were the implementation of the ‘Federaal Portaal’ including the web application for the ‘Kruispuntbank Ondernemingen’, Tax-on-web for the Federal Government, and the implementation of the central Biometric Matching System for the European Commission for VISA applications within the Schengen area.

I’ve been working as a freelancer since 2014. And – as a freelancer – I found the digital transformation program for Doosan very interesting. It was a re-platforming of 32 digital applications, mainly to Salesforce and Hybris as target platforms. The migration program I’m leading now at GSK is also very interesting.

Can you tell us a bit more about your current project at GSK?

Rudi: I’d love to! I am responsible for an ambitious integration and migration program at GSK.

GSK has purchased a large proportion of the vaccines of Novartis. That’s why more than 5,000 people will be moving from Novartis to GSK, as well as a dozen terabytes of data and documentation about those vaccines.

The program includes a dozen projects to migrate this data and documentation from Novartis to GSK applications. Our largest project has gone live recently.

It seems like quite the project! What are the timelines of this project?

Rudi: The bulk of the program will run until the end of this year, but there are still a few projects in the pipeline as well. Those will probably run until 2017.

What do you like about this project?

Rudi: I love the responsibility to realize a challenging timeline and scope with a great team. I also think the specific methodology used to achieve these data migrations is really fascinating. Last but not least: the atmosphere at GSK IT is great!

What are your lessons learned so far?

Rudi: During this project, I have learned an interesting new methodology to migrate data, and – now – I am even more aware of the dangers and risks during large data migrations.

What would you like to do after this project?

Rudi: That is a difficult question. There are many interesting kinds of projects.

Still, innovative and transformational digital projects keep fascinating me: companies and organizations that want to interact more effectively with their customers and partners through innovative web or mobile applications.

What are your ambitions for the future?

Rudi: My ambitions are rather contradictory, actually. (Laughs) I want to manage interesting programs as an interim manager or executive. I would also like to grow with Prime Consultants, a network of 34 independent consultants which I’ve formed, if possible in cooperation with Pauwels Consulting.

On a more personal level, I want our spiritual association to reach even more people. I want to make them live more consciously. And I also want to spend more quality time with my wife and family. Do you see the challenge? (Laughs)I do.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers? An inspiring quote perhaps?

Rudi: Certainly: Live from your heart. It’s not about the goal, but about the journey together.

Thank you very much for this lovely interview, Rudi. I wish you all the best for the future!

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Pauwels Blog

Consultant in the pharmaceutical industry: an enriching experience

18 Oct 2019
In our series ‘Pauwels People’, our colleagues introduce themselves and talk about their projects and experiences. Today, we are going to get acquainted with Isabelle Gille, consultant in the pharmaceutical sector at Pauwels Consulting.
Isabelle, can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Isabelle: Of course! My name is Isabelle Gille. Three and a half years ago, after an atypical career path, I joined the Pauwels Consulting team as a pharmaceutical consultant.

I was able to join the team thanks to my expertise in the field of quality. My expertise covers quality control, quality assurance, management of preventive and remedial actions or non-conformities, training, etc.

What studies did you complete and where did you graduate?

Isabelle: In 1998, I obtained my master’s degree in biology with a six-month placement in Laos. I then undertook three years of doctoral research in cellular and molecular biology.

Interesting! Where have you been working?

Isabelle: I’ve always wanted to work in humanitarian aid. I was able to find my first job as project manager for ‘Louvain Développement’ thanks to this vocation. My next experience was international and took place in Bolivia where I was responsible for the financial and practical aspects of the project.

On my return to Belgium and after one year of research in biology, I was then employed by ‘Direct Dialogue Fundraising’ as a representative for UNICEF. Over two years, I progressed in this organisation: representative, coach and then fundraiser manager for six NGOs, for the Walloon Region.

After this extremely enriching experience, both on a humane and professional level, I wanted to do a trainer’s course. I then worked as a team coach in a call centre for two years.

In 2013, I became self-employed, set up my own company and embarked upon the wonderful learning experience of being a freelancer. In 2014, I returned to the classroom and did a training with ‘Cefochim’ in order to become a production technician in cell culture. I completed my training successfully at the end of December 2014 and in March 2015, I crossed paths with Pauwels Consulting.

Pauwels Consulting is a company in full development, where a family atmosphere remains the priority.

And why did you choose Pauwels Consulting?

Isabelle: Pauwels Consulting is a company in full development, where a family atmosphere remains the priority. I’ve always felt appreciated here. I was warmly welcomed by the internal team: the recruiters, account manager and HR.

My profile allowed them to satisfy a customer and me to enrich my knowledge of the biopharmaceutical industry at the same time. In brief, a win-win situation that I appreciated.

Moreover, the company regularly organises in-house training along with afterworks, an end-of-year meal and a family day.

Pauwels Consulting also invests in sporting challenges and contributes to certain charitable causes.

pauwels people isabelle gille


What projects have you already pursued with Pauwels Consulting?

Isabelle: I worked as an environmental quality assurance technician for a year and I then worked as a quality control technician for a year.

From mid-July 2017, I have been taking part in helping to improve the quality system by investigating non-conformities in a team of around twenty consultants in the north of France. Fifteen months later, my international mission is still ongoing.

“An experience abroad is an added value in the development of my career.”

Does cooperation with your foreign colleagues work well?

Isabelle: Perfectly. I work in an international team of around twenty consultants that is also multidisciplinary and composed of juniors and seniors.

The diversity of the team is enriching on a professional level. The exchange of skills and experience allows us to offer customers a comprehensive service. When professional issues arise, the team can offer the necessary support.

Given that the majority of us live in ‘expatriate’ mode, the group is also a second ‘family’. We share our evenings, our joys. It’s a way of enlarging our network, of making new friends.

So, you find this international experience enriching?

Isabelle: Without a doubt. Firstly, I’ve learned a new profession. Thanks to our customers’ activities, I’ve learned and continue to learn about the production processes for lyophilised therapeutic drugs.

France is a neighbouring country that borders Belgium and working there has allowed me to open up to a new culture, a new region and therefore to grow on a personal level.

Working abroad is an effective means to meet others and to learn from your contact with them.

An experience abroad is an added value in the development of my career and one that has helped me to understand myself better. I better analyse my skills and limits nowadays. I’ve had to step out of my comfort zone.

“Providing the customer with real added value is one of our daily challenges.”

To conclude, what are the qualities that you stress as a consultant?

Isabelle: Having good technical skills is a basic requisite. I must be able to give customers satisfaction and to achieve the expected results. It’s equally important to be flexible and to listen carefully to the need of the customer. As a consultant, I regularly change environment, customer and mission. So, it’s important that I adapt quickly. Thanks to this experience, I’ve learned to be operational within a few days.

In addition, mobility, at least on a regional scale, is often expected even if it is not explicitly requested. When I started off with ‘Pauwels Consulting’, I didn’t imagine that an international opportunity would present itself. For the last fifteen months, I have been offering my skills, expertise and advice to one of our French customers. Providing the customer with real added value is one of our daily challenges. This requires working out his needs in order to offer him the most satisfactory solution.

Moreover, maintaining a good relationship and communication is vital. Integration into the customer’s team is very important. This has to be achieved quickly. Such contact is crucial if we want to continue giving advice and getting certain ideas across, which is not always so easy to achieve for a new, external team member.

Lastly, knowing how to work in a team is essential. We are not there to revolutionise the customer’s ideas. We provide him with specific solutions to the problem he has encountered and we monitor the change.

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

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Maxime van Belle Content Marketeer

Pauwels people

AG Solidarity: a helping hand for children and young adults

11 Oct 2019
Pauwels Consulting realizes that not everybody always has it easy and offers people in need warm-hearted support. We regularly support charitable causes ourselves and can only encourage similar initiatives by our partners and consultants. Recently, colleague Stijn Lenaerts took part in a solidarity initiative for Maison des Enfants Clair Matin SAAE in Ukkel, at the invitation of our partner AG Insurance.

This fantastic initiative deserves some attention! That’s why we spoke briefly with Stijn, who told us more about AG Insurance, its charity projects and the initiative with which he and his colleagues made some underprivileged children in Ukkel very happy.

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

Stijn: Of course. My name is Stijn Lenaerts. I’ve been married for ten years and I have three daughters aged three, six and nine. I studied applied informatics at the REGA Institute in Leuven, a three-year college course. After finishing my studies, I started working at EDS, helping out with projects for KBC, BNP Fortis and Carlson Wagonlit Travel, among others.

HP took over EDS in 2008, but this did not affect my projects. During the takeover, I carried on working at BNP Fortis, which was then ‘simply’ called Fortis. But HP was facing some challenges and in 2016 I decided it was time to look for work elsewhere. That’s how I ended up at Pauwels Consulting.

What exactly does your current project involve?

Stijn: I work for the AG Insurance printing team, which has five members. We’re responsible for managing documents, so my typical working day consists of business meetings, analyses, development, testing, etc.

Recently, you participated in a charity initiative at the request of AG Insurance. Can you tell us a bit more about this?

Stijn: Certainly. AG Insurance is strongly committed to various charities, partners and associations through ‘AG Solidarity’. More than 170, I believe. Once a year, AG also asks each internal department to help with a charity project, where the idea is to offer actual physical assistance on location.

What kind of charities has AG Insurance been supporting lately?

Stijn: Let me think… AG Solidarity participated in the ‘Back to School with a Smile’ initiative organised by our new partner Goods to Give. With the help of AG Insurance, underprivileged children across the country received more than 800 new school items, including school bags and lunch boxes.

AG Solidarity also worked together with Vzw ’t Eilandje. This non-profit association organises basic services and temporary care and the accommodation team looks for housing solutions and supports home counselling for people who have recently moved. AG helped in the renovation of the association’s day centre.

AG Solidarity also helped renovate the kitchen at Vzw Tronkestik, a guidance home that provides care to twelve children and adolescents aged three to eighteen, and supported the construction of new homes for ASBL Comme chez nous, an association that provides integrated care and counselling for homeless people.

There are also fun initiatives, such as the current table football tournament where each team donates four euro to take part. Another initiative involves buying chocolate Christmas balls. The proceeds go to charities of course.

Which charitable initiatives did you take part in?

Stijn: Personally, I helped with an initiative for Maison des Enfants Clair Matin SAAE in Ukkel. This association offers care and counselling to forty-two children aged three to eighteen who cannot go home. Together with approximately fifty colleagues, we carried out various tasks, including giving the rooms and windows a lick of paint, tidying up the kitchen, removing an old fence, making the garden nice, etc.

We also gave the children 150 Lego, Playmobil and Barbie toys (smiles). I try to support other projects as much as I can too, but in fact, this was the first time that AG invited me to go and help out on location. Every time, AG decides which department works where.

How did this initiative make you feel?

Stijn: It goes without saying that the people who take part in this initiative really have it in their hearts to help others. These colleagues deserve respect. After we’d finished working, we were allowed to meet some of the children who stay at the association. Once you’ve seen all the joy and happiness that a new garden and some Barbie dolls bring, the physical effort of the day is immediately forgotten. You’re also brought down to earth. You realise how luxurious your lifestyle is and how banal your own problems really are.

Are you going to help other charities in the future?

Stijn: Definitely. As I said, this was the first time that AG contacted me, but considering the fantastic initiatives they organise and how much help and joy they bring, I definitely intend to actively support other charities in the future.

That’s great to hear, Stijn, and something we respect immensely. Thank you for this interview and here’s wishing you success with all your projects!

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Pauwels people

Working as a Senior Project Engineer – Kristof Tersago

27 Sep 2019
In our series ‘Pauwels People’, our colleagues introduce themselves and talk about how they experience working at Pauwels Consulting and with our clients. Today, we are going to get acquainted with Kristof Tersago, Senior Project Engineer.

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

Kristof: Sure! My name is Kristof Tersago. I am 42 years old, happily married and I have a daughter and a son. The four of us live in Sint-Truiden.

What do you do in your spare time?

Kristof: I’m a big fan of board games. 7 years ago I founded a local board games club of which I am still the chairman today. I’m an amateur chef as well. After 6 years of evening classes, I can lose myself in the kitchen for hours. And – in stressful times – I like to go for a run.

What did you study?

Kristof: I graduated in Industrial Engineering at the Group T College in Leuven.

Why did you choose these studies?

Kristof: To me, the training struck a perfect balance between theoretical knowledge and practical applicability. I specifically chose for Group T College because of the additional management courses that were offered, not only for the pleasures of student life. (Laughs)

What is your professional background?

Kristof: I have been working on projects for 20 years now. I started working at a consultancy firm. That’s how I got in touch with several industries. As a project controller and project engineer, I have always had a good overview of the projects and the links and coherence between all the tasks and people in my projects.

After 7 years, I started working as a freelance engineer. At the moment, I mainly focus on projects in the pharmaceutical industry.

“Pauwels Consulting struck me as a team of dedicated people who are open to new ideas and who are actively looking for new ideas.”

Why do you prefer working as a freelancer?
Kristof: At my first consultancy firm, I couldn’t really concentrate on the issues our clients considered most important. As a freelance consultant, I am less dependent on organizational structures. As a result, I can respond more quickly to my clients’ needs.

What are your biggest challenges as a freelance engineer?

Kristof: It’s not easy to be an entrepreneur in Belgium these days. The complex regulations and limited long-term vision make it very risky to follow your own path.

As a freelancer, you also have to make sure your business stays viable, no matter how busy you are at work. That said, to me the benefits of being a freelance consultant still outweigh the drawbacks. I really enjoy my freedom, for example.

Which of your previous projects did you like most?

Kristof: Each project and each client has its own challenges. So It’s quite difficult to choose, actually. I really like big multidisciplinary projects though. They allow for conscious development, new ideas and personal growth for all the members of the team.

A project is almost always carried out in teams. Together, you have a common goal, and everyone is trying to achieve that goal on time and within budget.

That’s why it’s very important to me that there’s a personal connection with all my clients. This relationship of trust makes it possible to fully exploit the role of consultant and truly create value.

How did you get in touch with Pauwels Consulting?

Kristof: Pauwels Consulting contacted me with an interesting offer at a turning point in my career. The project they offered was unique. And not only in Belgium! Luckily, my project at the time was almost finished, so there was room for a nice transition: no one felt left in the lurch.

What was your first impression of Pauwels Consulting?

Kristof: Pauwels Consulting struck me as a team of dedicated people who are open to new ideas and who are actively looking for new ideas. It is an organization that is not stuck in a routine and that really cares about its clients and consultants.

Can you tell us a bit more about your current project?

Kristof: That’s rather difficult because of a confidentiality agreement. What I can say, though, is that I’m currently working on a detailed study on the expansion of a completely new pharmaceutical plant in Belgium.

What are your responsibilities during this project?

Kristof: I am responsible for the translation of the customer’s process requirements into the design and for the development of a complete production environment. I follow up the purchase, design and delivery of the equipment. For the building and its utilities, we work closely together with a consultancy firm.

What are the timelines of this project?

Kristof: If all goes well, we will be ready for commercial production by the end of next year.

What do you like about this project?

Kristof: The total package. The project is not about one machine or one production line, but about a complete production plant!

What did you learn during this project?

Kristof: The project is an interesting refresher of knowledge I have gained about 10 years ago, during a similar project. Some things remain the same, of course, but it’s still interesting to study technological evolutions.

What would you like to do after this project?

Kristof: I want to continue working in the pharmaceutical industry. I’m still fascinated by big projects with many technical challenges.

What are your personal ambitions for the future?

Kristof: My personality perfectly suits the requirements of a project environment. (Smiles) That’s why I would like to continue working in such an environment.

In the future, I would also like to focus on ‘the bigger picture’: I want to be a part of the conceptualization of major projects and draw up site master plans.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers? An inspiring wisdom, quote or citation perhaps?

Kristof: Certainly! Personally, I got a huge amount of inspiration from Stephen Covey’s “The 7 habits of highly effective people”. There are many interesting quotes and citations I could mention, but most of them are only effective if they are read and applied as a whole.

That’s why I’ll end with this short wisdom: “Be the change you want to see”. Be in control of your own life and be open to changes.

Thank you very much for this interview, Kristof. I wish you all the best for the future!

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Maxime van Belle Content Marketeer

Pauwels people

Working as a Senior PMO – Siphiwe Ngobeni

10 Sep 2019
In our series ‘Pauwels people’, our colleagues introduce themselves and talk about how they experience working at Pauwels Consulting and with our clients. Today, we are going to get acquainted with Siphiwe Ngobeni, Senior PMO at GSK.

Can you introduce yourself?

Hi, I’m Siphiwe, I was born and raised between Phalaborwa and Johannesburg, South Africa where I studied Information Technology at the University of Johannesburg. I have always been passionate about travelling and exploring different cultures, that’s how I ended up in Belgium.

How did you start your career?

My career started in a Small Mining town in the north of South Africa. I worked for an international mining company in the IT department as a support Specialist. I gradually made my way up the corporate ladder and more by ambition and drive to learn more, I had the opportunity to work with the project management department, and that’s where I found my passion. Over the past ten years, I managed several IT implementations of global infrastructure & application projects. I then later joined another mining company as a PMO Lead and my responsibilities were to establish an IT PMO and roll-out globally. This role gave me exposure to the most critical skills and knowledge about the Project Management industry.

senior pmo siphiwe ngobeniI loved my job, but it felt time to expand my horizons and learn more about the business value chain, and because I had always dreamed of studying abroad, I decided to start an MBA at IéSEG in France. It was an amazing experience, with 26 Nationalities in the program, a wealth of culture and a very fulfilling learning experience for me. I also attempted to learn some French too, which is a never-ending journey for me.

In order to validate my MBA qualification, I had to do an internship, which brought me to Belgium, working at GSK for 6 months. After I graduated in 2018, I decided to stay in Belgium and I sent my resume to several big companies, including Pauwels Consulting. Later in the year, I received a call from Pauwels Consulting with an ideal project at GSK! So, I, of course, jumped at the opportunity.

What kind of project will you be working on?

I will be working as a PMO for the global Quality organization at GSK project and I can’t wait to start my challenge. My responsibilities will include but not be limited to, establishing a Global PMO by implementing standardized processes and governance, Implementation of the Portfolio reporting tool, and overall portfolio continuous improvement

Never lose the desire to learn something new, it adds spice to your life!

What challenges you in this type of job?

Well, in a nutshell, flexibility should become second nature when you work in the project environment.

While you’re preparing to start, I heard you did some volunteer work, could you tell us a bit more about that?

Yes, whilst waiting to start at GSK, I had the opportunity to follow online training of the programs aligned with my personal and career development, as well as volunteer at a charity organization of choice. Volunteering is a unique experience and the fact that I got the opportunity to do so at Pauwels Consulting, makes me feel like I’m really in the right place. The charity I chose is called ‘We serve the city’ and I already volunteered there a couple of times. It’s an organization in Brussels with a team of international volunteers who amongst other projects serve breakfast to refugees in Brussels – Maximiliaan park from 6:30 am to 8 am.

Is voluntary work something you do often?

Yes, it’s something I was brought up with and comes naturally to me. My mother founded a shelter for orphans, and she was also involved in several charity projects. For instance, collecting food from the supermarkets and delivering to the needy. Growing up in this kind of environment stimulated me to volunteer and help when and where I can. In fact, for me, it’s not volunteering, it’s a way of life.

Having been all over the world, do you have some advice for colleagues wanting to travel & work as you?

Travelling through Africa, Europe and North America certainly broadened my outlook and attitude to life. Travelling awarded me the opportunity to learn about different cultures, meet new people and most importantly, it expanded my pallet when it comes to food. When you do travel, take the time to really be in the moment, appreciate and be interested in everything different. You are never too young or old to learn!

Being a proudly South African, I, of course, will end this talk with a fantastic quote by Nelson Mandela: “A good head and good heart are always a formidable combination. But when you add to that a literate tongue or pen, then you have something very special.” – indeed, never lose the desire to learn something new – it adds spice to your life!

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Maxime van Belle Content Marketeer

Pauwels people

Luc Mesmans: a career filled with innovation

09 Aug 2019
In our series 'Pauwels People', we let our employees talk about their projects and achievements. Meet Luc Mesmans, our recently retired colleague that was specialized in electrics & telecom. He completed a solid technical course and saw his line of work change a whole lot. Luc will definitely never become a couch potato because he's still very active as a voluntary nature guide.

Can you introduce yourself?

Sure, I’m Luc Mesmans, 63 years old, happy dad and grandfather :). I’m fascinated by nature and photography and I feel very lucky because I get to combine my two passions as a voluntary nature guide for adults and kids who go on school trips. Besides that, I like to travel with my camper.

How did your career start?

I’ve completed a solid technical course: I actually started as a telephony technician, but I quickly got promoted to sales in telecom & low voltage installations. In addition, I was also responsible for after-sales & spare parts. I’ve done a couple of interim jobs in automatization, facility, and aviation, but also management jobs in automotive and telecom. I ended my career as a consultant project manager in mobile networks, railway, and high voltage.

How did you get in touch with Pauwels Consulting?

I was passively looking for a new opportunity and was contacted by one of your recruiters. He was very friendly and knew what he was talking about, which gave me a good feeling from the start. I applied and had an interview that went very smoothly and professionally. I decided to start the new job as project manager for Pauwels Consulting because consultancy offers many advantages: a variety of projects, a clear duration of projects and a whole lot of new opportunities.

Doing the same job for a long time in the same place with the same routine just isn’t my thing. I tried but I thought, no thanks.

Which projects are you most proud of?

I still remember my very first project like it was yesterday. I was responsible for the roll-out of a new cell phone network for a big telecom company in several provinces in Flanders, which meant that I had to find out where I could place 600 cell phone towers in the course of 5 years. Maintaining good contact with municipalities and the spacial planning department is essential to obtaining your building permits. Negotiations, construction quotes and the follow-up, delivery, and commissioning of these towers. Meanwhile, you need to find a sufficient amount of owners who are willing to rent or sell their land and that want to sign a 15- to 20-year contract. A huge challenge, but I’m very grateful that I was able to participate in this pioneering project and that everybody, also thanks to me, can call and send text messages ;).

At TUC Rail I worked as a railroad signaling project manager in Brussels. I was responsible for lights, barriers, track changes, computerized signal boxes and cabling for our signaling computers. On top of that, I led a team of approximately 12 people, which I loved doing. Such a team is easy to manage, you can easily communicate, pass on information, make the right decisions and get to the core of what’s going wrong. I once was a team leader for 70 to 80 people, which was much more difficult.

After TUC Rail, I returned to my very first passion, telecom. It took me some time to catch up again on what I had missed during those 10 to 15 years of absence, innovation does not stop. For Elia, I had to renovate telecom installations and high voltage stations. Visit all locations, make an inventory of all materials and suggest improvements to modernize. What started as a regional project quickly became much bigger… A beautiful ending to my career.

Also looking for these kinds of challenges?

What challenged you in this type of job?

Variety is fun but it also means you regularly switch functions, work environments or industries… As I said before, innovation never stops. The evolution in electronics, communication, and computers has changed all industries at a rapid pace. This means, you are constantly being pulled out of your comfort zone, which I love but it certainly requires some time to catch up. In the meantime, your employers expect you to perform and achieve good results, but all beginnings are difficult. At such times, you just need to be able to sit down with your client or employer and talk about it.

During my projects, I also came across some ‘rotten apples’. Provided there is a bit of goodwill from both parties, the conflict gets resolved. Still, it’s nice to know that you won’t have to drag the rotten apple along for a long time. Next month, there could be a new adventure waiting for you…

Do you wish to pass on some advice to your colleagues?

Yes of course! Always be yourself and be honest, focus on your objectives and goals but stay humane in your decisions and communication. Everybody goes through a difficult phase in their project, so if you are not doing so great, just talk about it, preferably sooner than later. And always keep in mind, that with a bit of experience and improvisation, all beginnings become easier ;).

Do you have any pointers for Pauwels Consulting?

Just keep going, keep investing in my colleagues and their knowledge and be there for them during the difficult phases.

Do you have plans for your first month of retirement?

For sure, I will continue my voluntary work as a nature guide and I will definitely be mapping out some routes to explore with my camper. And maybe, I’ll reserve some time to chill ;).

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Maxime van Belle Content Marketeer

Pauwels people

Project management: Always look on the bright side

23 Jul 2019
At Pauwels Consulting we have a lot of driven consultants and sometimes, unfortunately, we have to say goodbye to a colleague. André Thys will enjoy his well-deserved retirement after a career of almost 40 years. An ideal reason for André to tell us about his fascinating career in our series 'Pauwels People'.

Can you introduce yourself?
Hi, I am André Thys, married and I have three kids. In my time off, I like to do gardening and walking or biking together with my wife. We, of course, enjoy spontaneous trips and good cuisine as well. I have always enjoyed working and built an excellent career for myself, so now I’m definitely going to enjoy my well-deserved retirement.

How did your career start?
I have an A1 degree in computer science, which is called a bachelor nowadays. I chose computer science because the other options seemed less interesting and it was a very up and coming topic at the time. During classes, we had to learn how to work with punch cards. With the punching machine, you punched holes in these cards. After that, you inserted these cards into a processing computer to transfer information. Computer science was mostly programming and 0’s or 1’s, so I saw it change a whole lot.

My first job was at AVON Cosmetics. After that, I worked at several software companies and then decided to start at a consultancy company. I chose consultancy because of the variety of projects, industries, and clients. A good consultancy firm opens doors for you at interesting clients and helps you grow your knowledge. You tackle different kinds of problems and you get to know various business processes. The bottom line, you learn to do your job better. This way, I quickly climbed up the corporate ladder to become a Project Manager.

How did you come into contact with Pauwels Consulting?
Through the acquisition of PIT Advisors, I started working for Pauwels Consulting. I had already experienced a few acquisitions as an employee, but this transition went smoothly. PIT Advisors organized a dinner for all consultants and Bert Pauwels, where we were introduced to the company and we talked about our future. I immediately had a good feeling about it, and that never changed.

You worked a long time as a Project Manager IT, in what way did the job appeal to you?
I initially ‘stumbled’ into the position of Project Manager IT but it seemed like a great challenge, so I gave it 100%! You need to obtain a helicopter view of the company by talking to key persons within the organization. From that information, you filter the needs and challenges. After that, you translate the needs into a strategy and later on, a well-defined project. Always keep the focus on where change or improvement is needed the most.

For instance, sometimes I started a project and the company had already decided on what needed to be done. However, from my conversations, I understood that such a project would not solve the underlying problem. At that moment, you need to have a sit-down with all parties involved and find common ground.

What are the challenges you face as a Project Manager?
Sometimes, you realize at the start of a project that neither the company nor the employees are ready for change, or management is not sufficiently committed to the project. When departments are directly opposite each other and reproaches are hurled back and forth. At other times, you realize you’re not truly welcome because an employee wanted your job and now that person is thwarting you… Those are tough moments.

You need to find a way to deal with such conflicts and always enter into dialogue with all parties. I find the human aspect of my job fascinating, you learn how to ‘read’ people and you certainly learn how to be a good listener. It felt very satisfying when I could reconcile all visions.

Are you looking for a new challenging job?

What are your best memories?
Late eighties, I worked on my best project at Janssen Pharmaceutica. It only lasted 6 to 7 months, but we accomplished so much in a limited amount of time. We wrote new software for order entry, from scratch. An all-in-one package, fully customized with modules for logistics and invoicing. Everything was communicated in real-time, unlike most programs at the time. Our software optimized the flows between departments and made everything more efficient. I’m very proud of that.

My time at Inbev was also a lot of fun, I worked on projects there for about 20 to 25 years, from exploratory to coordination and implementation, I’ve done it all. Now I think about it, I’m actually quite specialized in IT Project Management at breweries, I also worked on projects at Alken Maes and Skol :).

Do you have any good advice for starters or students that aspire a career in project management?
After many years of experience, I still give this piece of advice: “Always look on the bright side, the glass is always half full”. Bring people together and stimulate interaction, the dynamic will lead to new insights and eventually to acceptance. That’s how you create solutions that make everyone happy.

What is your first week of retirement going to look like?
I haven’t planned anything actually, I’m keeping my schedule open so I can go on nature walks with my wife 🙂

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Pauwels people

Working as a Records Management Analyst: Tinne Mans

08 Jun 2019
In our series ‘Pauwels People’, new colleagues introduce themselves and talk about their first few months of working at Pauwels Consulting and our clients. Today, we are going to get acquainted with Tinne Mans. Tinne has been working as a Records Management Analyst at Pauwels Consulting for the past 10 months.

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

Tinne: Of course! My name is Tinne Mans and I have lived in the Campine for thirty years. My great love is horse riding. All that I need to get the weekend off to a flying start is a cowboy hat and a cosy campfire! However, when the summer arrives and the mercury rises, all I need is a beach, some palm trees and a refreshing dip in the water (laughs).

What is your professional background?

Tinne: After graduating as a primary school teacher, I taught for a year in a school. Unfortunately, as a new teacher, I couldn’t find a permanent post immediately. So after a year, I decided to pursue a different career. I got a job as a Packaging Development Reviewer at a pharmaceutical company, where I assessed packaging design.

tinne mans documentation analyst pauwels consultingHow did you end up at Pauwels Consulting?

Tinne: The company I was working for carried out corporate restructuring. So, I found myself looking for a new challenge. While searching online, I came across an interesting vacancy at Pauwels Consulting.

What was your first impression of Pauwels Consulting?

Tinne: I used to think consulting firms only took on people with very specific skills or a certain degree. Even so, I wanted to keep all my options open while I was looking for new work. So I applied to Pauwels Consulting. I was invited to an interview and was pleasantly surprised at the number of opportunities that the recruiter and account manager thought were suitable for me. My first potential assignment didn’t go ahead in the end, but Pauwels Consulting carried on actively searching for another opening for me. That led to my current project.

Where do you work now?

Tinne: I currently work as Records Management Analyst at Janssen Pharmaceutica, where I give advice on all the issues related to archiving. My team trains the company’s employees on saving both hardcopy and electronic documentation in line with applicable retention schedules, laws and company regulations. In addition, my team gives advice on the commissioning and decommissioning of applications used worldwide in J&J.

“My colleagues and manager have been giving me fantastic guidance.”

tinne mans documentation analyst pauwels consultingCan you sum up your experiences over the first few months?

Tinne: I found the first few months very instructive. The work is very varied and there are many subactivities. So it’s impossible to learn everything in one go. My colleagues and manager have been giving me fantastic guidance. Although I don’t see my colleagues at Pauwels Consulting every day, the contact we have runs very smoothly too.

Pauwels Consulting is a major player and growing rapidly, yet they have managed to preserve the personal touch. For example, my account manager pays me regular visits, during which any issues can be discussed immediately. HR matters are also followed closely, which is important for me because the office in Ghent is quite a long way away. Furthermore, Pauwels Consulting really does its best to get everyone together regularly. There are lots of parties, family days, after-work activities, bike rides and other events for colleagues and family alike.

What have you learned in the past months?

Tinne: Lots. As I said, my work includes plenty of subactivities. I already had some experience with the basics of a pharmaceutical company, but I’ve learned all my core tasks on the job. These range from helping prepare retention schedules to protecting business-critical files and from managing archiving processes to conducting internal audits. And every day I learn something new. Pauwels Consulting has even already given me the opportunity to get some extra training.

Is there anything in particular you’d like to share with our readers?

“The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know it when you find it.”

That is what Steve Jobs once said and the message is clear: find a job you love doing, that will be reflected in the way you do it.

Well said, Tinne. Thank you very much for this interview and all the best of luck with your projects!

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Maxime van Belle Content Marketeer