Personal effectiveness and leadership

Engineers who show guts contribute to a better world for people and the environment

Willem Koenen, engineer, believes that engineers should show more guts when choosing projects. He also believes that more policy is needed from the government and that engineers should certainly take advantage of lifelong learning. Willem Koenen works at ABT (Engineers in construction technology), his enlightening view of his profession made us curious about his story.

Willem studied construction engineering in Arnhem, followed by a master's degree in Building Technology at TU Delft. After his master's degree, he worked for a year in Germany at a small engineering firm and eventually started a traineeship at the Oosterhoff Group, ABT's parent company. This has led to his current job as a building physicist at ABT. In addition, he can proudly call himself the owner of the Building Physics diploma from PAOTM and he was chairman of Jong NL engineers for a while, with which he wanted to make an impact in the industry.

How do you see the role of engineers?
Engineers are currently also often risk managers. According to Willem, we are currently in a transition, in which engineers also have to make decisions that are not always fun for clients, but are better for people and the environment. Engineers must dare to show guts and dare to be sharper when choosing projects to which they want to contribute. It will sometimes be painful if this clashes with the business model of the engineering company. “Of course there are solutions, such as demountable buildings, but it remains a challenge to convince contractors of their added value,” says Willem. says Willem.

How do you see the technical innovations?
“There are two parallels going on, the craft, which we need to appreciate more. And knowledge will accelerate and become automated. The role of the engineer and consultant will therefore also change, whereby they must also take the client along in a customer journey. Include them in the design process and provide insight into the choices,” says Willem. According to him, lifelong learning can contribute to this by training engineers more broadly in other fields such as data-driven automation.

Lifelong learning
The shortage of personnel is also noticeable in the engineering sector. Lifelong learning could reduce this shortfall. “Employers must also make choices in their long-term vision, and communicate this to their employees in good time. For example, certain courses may or may not be proposed in advance, which is in line with the vision. It could also be proposed in anticipation of the future. That is leadership, expressing the plans, and the staff can be better involved in that.” said Willem. It is also important for employees to stay close to themselves, and to look at the areas in which they would like to develop themselves. They can take a leading role in this.

How do you apply lifelong learning?
Willem completed his Building Physics training at PAOTM at the end of 2022, which he believes is a great opportunity to accelerate his career. He was also chairman of Jong NL Engineers for a while, from where he had a good overview of the industry. And it took him to fantastic places through various lecture tours.

Curious how you can fill in a 'lifelong learning'? And which courses and/or training can take you further in your career? Take a look at our course offerings. Are you stuck? Please contact us at 015-2784618 or for appropriate advice. courses.

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