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”
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!