One might think of entrepreneurs as explorers that have to travel to the ends of the earth in their quest for knowledge and invention. In the case of Guido van Loon, Design Engineer at IDE, a career filled with exploration and constant discovery started just down the street from his house.
Guido had joined Opel after finishing his studies in automotive engineering, but he eventually decided that he wanted to find a more challenging role. He saw an ad in his local newspaper that IDE was hiring. The company was not only in his town – it was within walking distance of his home, so he decided to just pass by and say hello. “They were a bit confused at first, but in the end they hired me,” Guido says. “They liked that I just walked in and introduced myself and thought that I would fit in.”
It was 2001 when Guido joined IDE as a mechanical design engineer. In the 20 years since, he has worked in multiple countries; earned a master’s degree in parallel to his work; watched the company evolve from a small, privately owned business to a fast-growing part of Aalberts; and become an expert in topics ranging from vibration isolation to vacuum technology, material handling, and more. “Every day is different,” Guido says. “We constantly have a lot of new things to work on and IDE keeps growing, so I never manage to get bored!”
Over the years, Guido has had many opportunities to challenge himself. For example, he has gotten to work with different cultures, including a two-year stint at IDE’s location near Boston. “That was completely different and sort of a dream come true,” he says. He also recently started a Six Sigma Green Belt program which is helping him look at design in a different way and become an even better problem solver. “Getting pushed to try new things has helped me develop a great deal,” he says. “At this point I feel confident that I can handle whatever project they send my way.”
It certainly helps that Guido feels surrounded by a strong team. “Many of us have worked together for a long time, though we do have newer people bringing in different experiences and ideas,” Guido says. “Regardless, we’re all on the same level and of the same mindset – we all want to be experts. There is a lot of trust between us and I think the company trusts us as well.”
That trust leads to some of Guido’s favorite parts of his job. “It is fun to work here because I have a lot of freedom,” he says. “I can be myself, be creative, and work the way I want. Whenever my team and I successfully figure out the puzzle that is designing a prototype and we hear that the customer is pleased, I get a huge sense of satisfaction.”
Looking ahead, Guido wants to keep following the path he chose 20 years ago. “I like what I do and want to stay close to technology,” he says. “If I can look back in a few years and see that I have even more expertise and confidence and am still stimulated and having fun, then I will be happy.”
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