Could you please explain your job?
Last summer I started working at our new plant in Hasselt, which makes the photovoltaic assemblies (PVA) that generate electrical power on satellite solar arrays. What I do isn’t that straightforward, since it’s a new site and a lot of different things are going on at the same time. We operate through Thales Alenia Space in Belgium, of course, but all procedures and practices have to be adapted to the specific requirements of this brand-new automated factory. We’re a very small team, so everybody has to be really hands-on and assume different tasks. In addition to being the Industrial Supply Chain & Logistics manager at Hasselt. I’m also Health, Safety and Environment (HSE) correspondent and IT Security manager here and in Leuven.
What are you most proud of in your day-to-day activity?
To see everything come together slowly but surely in spite of the challenges. Today, Leuven is running smoothly and Hasselt has won its first PVA contracts, so the future is bright.
What aspects of your career have you enjoyed the most?
I have been involved in the opening and startup of the two Flemish sites right from the outset, which is always much more fun because you can help write a new story. Seeing a brand new facility take shape and start operation is very rewarding.
But what makes me happy are the little things day to day. The chocolate on your desk when you arrive in the morning, the “thank you” post-it on your screen, the cookies someone brings to the office for no particular reason, the jokes and pranks – and even the sad stories – you share with colleagues. Things like this are just as important as meeting major milestones.
What are the qualities required in your profession
Thales Alenia Space teams inaugurating the new 4.O automated production plant in Hasselt, Belgium. Liz Angelz, in the center
One really needs to be hands-on and flexible. Hasselt is a small plant with only a few people, so we cannot afford to rigidly stick to our “own” job. We all have to be multitaskers, so we can tackle the unexpected issues that pop up on a regular basis.
We’re at a new facility that demanded a heavy investment and lots of effort, so we have to prove that we’re worth it. Determination and willingness to go the extra mile are a must. And, last but not least, I think having a positive attitude and being kind to your colleagues make life in the office just that much more agreeable for everyone.
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