Combined Shape

turning differences into superpowers

At Aalberts advanced mechatronics, we believe that finding ways to share, learn, and collaborate across our group will help us tap into our full potential. While we already do this in some more conventional ways, such as through traineeships and expert groups, one of our recent hires is approaching the concept in a whole new way.

Guillermo Dominguez hails from Spain but had been working at a technical company in the Netherlands for a few years when he came across a new product introduction job at Lamers. His background as a physics PhD wasn’t the most obvious fit, but he called up the recruiter anyway. “I told them that if they wanted to develop new products then maybe they needed someone like me,” says Guillermo. “They agreed, but not in the way I was expecting.”

As it turns out, Mogema is where Guillermo would end up long-term, but Pneutec had an urgent project that needed support, so his first role at advanced mechatronics was actually a secondment. “They thought the Pneutec project would be an interesting way for me to get to know the group,” Guillermo explains. “One of the main reasons I applied was the possibility to grow, so I was happy to start wherever they thought I would be useful.”

The project is focused on developing a new pneumatic technology for an important customer and has proved to be interesting thus far. Guillermo says, “I’m not an expert in hoses and fittings, but I am using my experience in material science. Our goal is to develop a solution that’s better than anything else on the market. On the one hand we are zoomed in on the technical challenge, and on the other hand we are thinking about the big picture.”

Guillermo has found that that big picture thinking extends to the way the group looks at collaboration. “Each company has a different way of working and a different style, but everyone agrees that we should start thinking as a group,” he says. “I am trying to do something new, and while my colleagues sometimes don’t know how to solve a particular problem I bring to them, they are always confident that we can figure it out together.”

That enthusiasm for trying new things even led Guillermo to learn Dutch. He explains, “I did my Erasmus in Nijmegen and had the opportunity to go early to follow a Dutch course. I thought, why not? I took the course and failed the exam and took another course and failed that exam too, but when I went back to Madrid I kept studying Dutch as a personal challenge. Not that many people speak Dutch so it’s like having a secret superpower.”

He finds that Dutch isn’t his only superpower. “Sometimes people say to me, what is a PhD doing here? You only focus on little details,” Guillermo says. “But our customers always want us to become more accurate and there is a limit to how much we can optimize existing technology. We will reach a point where we need to change technologies and then we will need people like me with strange backgrounds to raise the bar and keep improving.”

As Guillermo’s “secondment” draws to a close, he feels uniquely prepared to start at Mogema and hopes that his “fish out of water” experience serves as a prototype for others. “I’d like to see even more of these projects where you need people with different skills and nobody cares which company they are from – they are from Aalberts – and you just collaborate,” he says. “I know that each company is different, but once we find a way to understand each other it will be really powerful.”

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