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Mentor for young people

Interview with Koen (42), department manager catenary with the Railway Technology business unit

Koen is very pragmatic. This also includes his everyday business activities in which he concentrates on jobs that have to be done to fulfil the customers’ needs and on mentoring young colleagues. An open mind is key for him, as is focussing on ambitious goals. “If you do that, you won’t have to regret not having done more later on.” Koen represents future solutions, knowledge transfer and sustainable technology.

What is your current job at EQOS?

I work within the Belgian Railway Technology business unit. More precisely, I am with the Catenary Railway Belgium profit center. I work as a department head. Three teams directly report to me: engineering, project managers and construction site workers.

For me it is important to combine my management functions with mentoring young people, since they are the future of our business. I will get back to this point later on.
And, of course, it is key to have a strong relationship with our customers. I visit customers on a regular basis. I don’t travel that much, as my focus is on the Belgian market. During COVID, we had to stick to online meetings and now we are used to them. But customer visits are becoming more and more important again. In-person meeetings are of great value.

Additionally, I would also like to point out that we attach great importance to long-term client relationships. Communication is a key factor here. You need to ask questions. What do and don’t clients need? This is a simple question with a big impact.

What is special about the railway infrastructure business?

Railway infrastructure is a fascinating discipline. Working during the night hours when there is less train traffic can present unique challenges due to the tight timeframe.

This also makes working in this field exciting and fulfilling, which can encourage everyone to further develop their skills.

What’s positive about EQOS as my employer is that this is a reliable organisation that respects mz needs. An employer who listens to its employees creates a positive work environment where you feel appreciated.

At a time when the environment and climate change are becoming increasingly significant topics, it is also important to me to work for a company that is committed to climate-friendly solutions. It gives you the opportunity to make a contribution to a more sustainable future.

And what did you do before?

In 2005, I started at Colas Rail Belgium. I climbed the career ladder step by step. At first, I was an assistant project leader, followed by positions as project leader and senior project leader. In October 2022, the EQOS Group took over Colas Rail Belgium.

After a takeover, there are usually changes, e.g. to the reporting structures or other business processes. This requires some initial adjustments, but it is also encouraging whenever important aspects such as our excellent quality are upheld.

“We are growing, but the team spirit remains intact.”

How would you describe the team spirit?

It’s great. There is an amazing cooperation. We are growing, but the team spirit remains intact. We are like a big family and we know our priorities. When it is time to get things done, we don’t hesitate to do what needs to be done.

You said that you like to mentor younger people. Why is that?

EQOS is a flexible and open-minded employer where there is a good balance between experienced and less experienced employees. This can contribute to a dynamic and diverse working environment.

Keeping an open mind is very important, and it’s great to actively train and motivate people and to encourage them to develop and improve, just like I did.

Maintaining an open corporate culture where questions are always welcome is essential to foster innovation and ensure that knowledge is shared effectively.
Attention to detail and a keen eye for identifying opportunities or areas for improvement are valuable skills. Often it’s the little things that can make a great difference and drive progress.

Attracting qualified candidates for technical positions can also be challenging, but maintaining an open culture and emphasizing opportunities for growth and development can generate interest and attract potential applicants.

Do you have a personal motto?

Always set goals which require ambitious efforts. Then you won’t regret later that you didn’t do more.

What do you do in your free time?

I am a family man. I have a six-year-old daughter and love spending time with her and my wife. As far as sports are concerned, I enjoy skiing and sports cars.