About founders Patrick, Sander and Marc, and Bruggenbouwers
Patrick Bochem is married and has a daughter, Liv. He started his career with Vitae Inter AT, the very first contract staffing company on the market, after an unexpected interview at the beach. He learned the ropes there and discovered that his strength lies in setting up new markets and locations. The training and management of colleagues and consultants was always key.
When he founded Bruggenbouwers together with his brother Sander and his friend Marc in 2011, Patrick took on the company’s operational management. Sander, who is a passionate sports enthusiast, had already earned his stripes in various positions in the car leasing and mediation world. Marc already had a lot of experience as the director of a leading contract staffing firm and as a commercial manager at Omega Pharma. Together, they are responsible for Bruggenbouwers’ commercial activities.
A quality niche approach
Bruggenbouwers was established based on a strong conviction: it aims to provide quality connections for civil engineering professionals. “The lack of quality at our previous employers bothered us. That’s what brought us together”, Patrick says. When they started back in 2011, the economic market conditions were not particularly favourable. However, Patrick, Sander and Marc managed to build a great organisation. “From the outset, our focus was on quality, and it still is today”, Marc agrees. “We can engage in conversations about professional content. We understand what our talented professionals and our customers need and what drives them.”
“This approach is also what makes us unique and what sets us apart from the competition”, Sander says. “We know the market demands and we often proactively recruit talent”, Patrick adds. “This always keeps us two steps ahead of the competition.” Bruggenbouwers positions itself as a true specialist company rather than a general contract staffing agency.
“We’re always very lean and mean”, Patrick says. “We can act quickly, we create our own opportunities and we focus on results. However, when you’re growing quickly, you need certain processes. That’s something we didn’t have that much experience with ourselves. We were facing a type of glass ceiling, as it were. That’s also the reason why we are joining a larger organisation. We need synergy in order to move to the next stage.”
“We welcome Bruggenbouwers into our organisation with open arms because of its story and approach”, Bert explains. “It has the market experience, the knowledge and the brand recognition. Building a company with a solid reputation takes years. Our companies’ businesses are comparable, although we operate in different geographical areas. We are similar and complementary at the same time.”
For Sander, Patrick and Marc, things soon became clear. “You recognise that same passion in each other. Bert’s positive energy and entrepreneurship appealed to us. The conversation was very open: let’s see how we can help each other. Bert also immediately told us that Bruggenbouwers was a diamond in the rough and that he needed us in order to take Bruggenbouwers to the next level. That left quite an impression.”
Growth in the Netherlands
As an entrepreneur, you can never sit back and relax. There are always opportunities. Bruggenbouwers currently offers its customers and employees flexibility with its contract to permanent formula. Employees are posted for a year and then become permanent customer employees if both parties are satisfied. In the future, we aim to keep our talent in-house and we are looking forward to expanding our services. “We also see a lot of potential in new customer segments such as public procurement”, Bert adds. Bruggenbouwers has ambition: it has its eye on Germany and Belgium. Some of its employees are already working in Antwerp. “We want to create great career opportunities for our employees by expanding”, Marc says.
“You don’t come across people like Marc, Patrick and Sander very often”, Bert continues. “In the coming months, we need to get to know each other very well and strengthen our cooperation. The confidence is there and I look forward to the growth we can achieve together in the Netherlands.” Patrick adds: “We’re now grabbing the bull by the horns for the exciting period that is to come. We’ll have to see what happens after that. We can look back on an exciting time, and we’re very much looking forward to the future.”
Pauwels Consulting is taking over all Bruggenbouwers’ services and employees. Founders Marc, Patrick and Sander will stay on board after the acquisition to facilitate the transition process and achieve further growth. Following this acquisition, Pauwels Consulting will employ 1,100 experts in life sciences, engineering and IT in Belgium, the Netherlands and France. Pauwels Consulting Group is currently achieving more than 100 million euros in sales.