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Jan-Wim Verhoeff

Age: 34, planning engineer, Franki Grondtechnieken, the Netherlands

This article is also available in: Dutch

Looking for a job in contracting
Ten years ago, 34-year old Jan-Wim left his HTS (institute of technology). He always wanted to 'do something in contracting'. His first job was with Nederhorst Grondtechniek, a subsidiary of HBG. Later he became involved in road building. He says: "In the meantime I met Peter de Kort, the current managing director of Franki Grondtechnieken. This is a relatively small branch of Franki Geotechnics Belgium, the largest foundation company in the Benelux. Franki Grondtechnieken specialises in special foundation engineering. That really appealed to me. Don't be surprised if I am still in ground engineering in thirty years time. I have worked in other branches of civil engineering, but this is what I want to do."

For the fun of it
"A lot about this job is fun, particularly the combination of organisation and technology. There are so many different ways of approaching a job and the challenge is - within the directions in the specification - to carry out the work both faster and cheaper. At the moment, we are preparing for the construction of the North-South line in Amsterdam, specifically, the excavation of the deep walls for the construction of the various stations. Then you encounter issues such as: how can I get everything I need where I need it at the right time, not too early, but certainly not too late. What sort of things can I come across in the ground under such an old city, things like that. Logistics, engineering, risk management with respect to the people and the neighbourhood are characteristic for this project."

On machinists and machines
"It is not just civil engineering; we also have to deal with machines. Within Franki we build and adapt machines to handle the specific requirements of a job. We are talking here about very expensive equipment and I find that people sometimes take a disparaging view of the people that work with them. A carpenter is a professional with a hammer, a machinist or pile driver is just as much a professional, but then one with a very expensive machine and with the responsibility associated with it."