Criss-cross. This summarises the career path of Michiel de Jongh in one word. And look where it got him. To the position of branch manager at VIRO in Vlaardingen. How did that happen?
"After my Mechanical Engineering studies at the HTS in Den Bosch, I went to study Aerospace Engineering at the TU in Delft. This way I could broaden my knowledge and combine my interest in aeroplanes with my studies. Nevertheless, I graduated in the Automotive industry. I could get a graduation project at Ferrari and I did not want to miss that opportunity.”
At the time of Michiel's graduation the Automotive industry was in a crisis: "I could forget about getting a job in that field. I had uploaded my CV on LinkedIn and was called by someone from VIRO. If I wanted to come and work for them.” Michiel could choose: Aerospace in Hengelo or setting up the Engineering Analysis department in the recently opened Schiedam branch. At that time, 5 people were working there. "Pioneering and building appealed to me. I was hired as constructor 2 for the Mechanical Engineering department, but i did all the calculations for the Engineering Analysis department."
By then it was July 2010. Michiel was occasionally taking on people for the Engineering Analysis department and imperceptibly growing into the role of manager. "That appealed to me: hiring people, doing business, approaching customers. At the stage that I was developing from group leader to department head, I said to Martin Dibbets, director of VIRO Netherlands: I am going to try to grow to being a branch manager. Together we put that dot on the horizon."
"At VIRO, you are free to develop yourself. I experience that constantly. I never had the need to learn technical things, much of it you learn on the job. But Leadership, management, dealing with customers, maintaining commercial contacts... those are things that I have trained for and followed courses for. You don't learn those things in your education. And that is exactly what makes the work attractive to me. The great thing is that I have been a branch manager since 2019, but I am still learning. In my opinion, you can always continue to develop as a manager and as a person."
"I am very enthusiastic about the opportunities I have had and still have. I try to make that clear to others as well. If you see something, bring it, because so much is possible. Maybe it's a stupid thing to say, but I feel like I'm an example to others in that respect."
When asked what he thinks is typical of VIRO, Michiel has the answer immediately: "The low threshold, the openness, and the atmosphere. We do it together, we are building something together. And certainly the breadth and variety. We are also working on new sustainable techniques for clients. In this way, we also come into contact with smaller, interesting companies with challenging projects in the area of sustainability".