26-10-07

H. Essers - enterprize of the year


I was walking down the
Sunset Boulevard in LosAngeles when a friend of mine sent me a message that H. Essers Groep was elected Belgian company of the year! H. Essers is an innovative transportation company that has (partnered) activities all over Europe, realizes approximately 250mEUR with 2000 employees.

You might wonder why the hell I talk about a transportation group?

Yes, the company is founded and run out of Limburg, my beloved state in Belgium where I was born and raised. And it is true (for me) that your historical home tends to become more precious the more time you spend abroad.


But the main reason I am happy about this links back to the CEO of the H. Essers group, Ivo Marechal – my first ever boss. After university, I decided to follow an MBA in the French speaking part of Belgium. To finance part of it, I took a summer job at a steel construction company named Altro Steel, led by Ivo and his partner. What started out as a four weeks summer job, turned out to be become a full year 2 days per week job, that allowed my to finance my 4 days/week MBA studies. Combining work and studies was pretty tough, but I was glad both turned out well. In that year, I graduated with honours, had my first work experience and on top of that did freelance jobs in communication and technology. It was an amazing period..


But the most important lesson of that period was inspired by Ivo Marechal. I started as an administrative help, but actually became a flexible help for the entire company: from making an operational planning to welding and assembling in the factory, from analyzing international expansion to driving to the local shop to buy office material or get sandwiches for everyone, from driving to a construction area to check progress to helping out to draft a sales plan. After some time I knew everyone in the company.

It was great to see a company grow from a few to over a hundred in a year –but the lesson I got out of it, and will always try to honour is: it is not important what position one has in an organisation, but the way one embodies it.


Bravo Group H. Essers, Bravo shareholders, Bravo and thank you Ivo Marechal.


bart.

11-10-07

3 months in Munich

Hey all,

Since the beginning of July, from the moment that ProSiebenSat1 acquired SBS to form the new ProSiebenSat1 Media group, I have been living between Munich, Amsterdam and Brussels.  

I had never even thought of making a city trip to Munich, but over the last few weeks I discovered the city intensely. Although it is not the most vibrant city in the world and it’s a definite benefit that I followed German as a third language at University, I can honestly tell that my top6 of the moment looks like:
  • the Oktoberfesten, mostly know of it Beerfesten with Lederhosen. This year a total of 6 million people attended and drank over 6 million liters of beer. Fun to watch and do, and see how a seemingly folkloric event is actually an intense social highlight
  • the rock band Nine Inch Nails came to the Circus Krone, one of the concert halls in Munich. Next I will go to is Interpol mid November in Tonhalle.
  • kind of the opposite: we watched the Flying Dutchman opera from Wagner in the magnificent Munich Staatsoper (kind of symbolically, because my friends named me like that since I lived in Amsterdam and I am flying a lot around Europe this year)
  • shopped in the Maximillian strasse and had a prosecco in one of the Italian bars
  • walked in the Englischer Garten, and see the weird surf experience
  • discussed in the numerous biergarten and other places the controversial history, and understand that there is an active conscience and discussion, and this debate left a deep and very self reflecting impression on me
Again, Brussels, Milan and New York feel more like ‘home’ to me, but I recommend everyone to come over here for a couple of days in a Gemutliche atmosphere, and drive on to the Garmin Partenkirchen or Kitzbuhel - both approximately 1 hour away – to get your head in the clouds. That's probably where it should be more often!

Gutenabend.
bart