When Maarten van Boxtel started his career at Lamers in 2010, he joined a small measurement unit which outsourced most of the testing and validation of sub-modules to external parties. Since then, the unit has evolved into an extensive department which qualifies and validates complex end modules developed and built in-house and co-develops the tools used to test them.
Maarten’s role has also evolved – he started out as a structural engineer, but after a few years he was promoted to team leader and now works as a testing & qualification production leader. This evolution took place not only as a result of the highly dynamic environment within the company, but also because Maarten saw opportunities to grow and seized them.
The work carried out in Maarten’s department is highly technical and varied. When the management team needed someone to lead this growing team, they turned to him. “In a technical team like ours, people rely on a leader who knows what they are doing,” he says. “I have a lot of experience and am also very proactive. The management told me that they thought we had an impossible task, but that I was the right person to take on the challenge of bringing the department to a higher level.”
Maarten explains further: “The markets in which we operate are placing ever-increasing demands on testing: the quality has to improve and the work has to be done faster and at a lower cost. To meet these demands we have invested heavily in a larger clean room, new test technology, and people in recent years. When I came here, the unit consisted of a few people; now I’m in charge of 33 full-time employees.”
Transitioning from being an engineer to a leadership role was not always easy. “I’m very technically driven. At first it was difficult for me to not solve the technical problems that my people came up with myself, to let go of them,” Maarten says. Fortunately Lamers offered support along the way. “For example, I was given the opportunity to follow management training courses and I will soon embark on an additional training programme.”
In building his team, Maarten sought out people who share his passion for solving tough problems. He says, “When I recruit, I mainly look for assertive, open people who like to take on technical challenges together. Most of our team members have a technical background at applied science university (HBO) or a secondary vocational (MBO) level, and through the Lamers Academy they have additional opportunities to grow and increase their technical knowledge.”
A couple of years into the process, there’s still plenty of work to be done. “I’m never satisfied. There’s a lot of space for improvement and every day is a new challenge,” Maarten says. “One of the best things about working at Lamers is that the company is growing and there are still many things to do and figure out. If you want to make an impact, there are a lot of possibilities here.”