Michel de Jong has been with Wagenborg since 1994. In addition to being an enthusiastic and highly motivated professional, he is also actively involved in making sure he leaves the world a better place. Michel is very much concerned about environmental problems, and he’s attempting to contribute to the energy transition, both in his work and his private life.
What brought you to Wagenborg?
“When I was a little boy, I wanted to be a crane driver just like my father, who worked for what was then the firm of Lommerts in Delfzijl. You might say that I learned about the job from a very young age. In 1994, after finishing technical secondary school, I started working as a trainee crane driver at Wagenborg.
You’re now the senior project coordinator…
“That’s right. As a trainee, I first took a two-year course to become a qualified crane driver, after which I was a stand-in for two years, driving various types of cranes. I then trained as a foreman and was immediately given the opportunity to start as foreman on the Ameland project, in which Wagenborg was responsible for the complete logistical transport of the drilling rig on the island of Ameland. In 2000, I then started a training course on hoisting work, after which I started working as an aspiring project manager. I’ve now advanced to senior project manager.”
Has leaving the world a better place always been an ideal for you?
“It’s more than just an ideal or an enthusiasm. I feel more or less obliged to make my contribution to reducing environmental problems. If everyone were to do their bit, we’d make a lot more progress.
Starting in 2013, I took a four-year part-time Engineering course at Hanze University of Applied Sciences in Groningen to broaden my knowledge of the field and to educate myself further. Anticipating clients’ needs and offering them unique engineering solutions is the most enjoyable part of my job. My training has certainly made a major contribution to my knowledge and skills. During my training I also learned more about the energy transition and became aware of the damage that we humans are causing to the environment. I also learned how that problem could perhaps be solved. I think that, with the knowledge I’ve acquired, I’m obliged to make every effort to pursue a better world."
“If everyone were to do their bit, we’d make a lot more progress.”
How are you working towards a sustainable world, in both your work and in your private life?
“There are various ways. For example, we intend adding an extension to our house. We’ve decided to do that with ‘circular building materials’ so as to limit our personal footprint as much as possible. The costs involved in this way of building are higher, but it means that our house is being built responsibly. We’re also trying in all kinds of other ways to keep our personal CO2 footprint as small as possible, for example by adjusting our meat consumption, separating waste properly, and so on. The most important thing is to share the knowledge that you gain – to make people realise that you have to steer a different course, to put it in seafaring terms. You can do that quite simply by talking to people about it. I hope I can also inspire them so that there’s a kind of chain reaction with the aim of restoring the equilibrium between what the earth can offer us and the needs of present and future generations.
And from a business perspective, too, I do my utmost to keep our organisation’s CO2 footprint as small as possible, for example by planning efficiently. That’s a simple example, but it does directly reduce our CO2 emissions. Internally, our organisation is also working hard to reduce CO2 emissions, such as by using energy-efficient lighting, which is also another small but specific example. But I’m also thinking bigger. I’m currently investigating how I can contribute further to the energy transition from my position at Wagenborg Nedlift by optimising coordination between the elements of ‘People, Planet, and Profit’. I try to think in terms of possibilities and opportunities and not in terms of threats.”
“I hope that reading this has made people think. Every one of us can influence their own CO2 footprint. That way, we can leave the world a better place!”