I have an extremely varied job with many challenges that provide new insights. Simply great!

Gerrit Nolf, Project Engineer

 

I have been working at Alpro for some time. 2 May 1984 was my first day of work at the still unknown Alpro soya. Together with Annick Martens, who began at the same time, we were led through the factory at the south quay in Izegem in a wink.

I started in a production job and, in view of the recession at the time, having a job was very important. After having operated the SMF for several months, I moved on to filling with sterilizer. I was very curious about how it all worked and after a year I became a technician for Alpro. We already had training at Tetra Pak Brussels, for two weeks, which was not very evident at the time. In the meantime, several colleagues joined us. This is also how Paul Vanhauwere ended up at the “technical department” (two people!).

Alpro grew, machines were added, innovated and automated and this always resulted in interesting novelties. Meanwhile, PLC and later the PC were introduced and we had something new to learn again.

The new factory in Wevelgem was a major and difficult step. The first years weren’t that evident, but we managed to achieve our presupposed objective. Alpro kept on growing.

In 2008 I was given the opportunity to change jobs and move to engineering. An extremely varied job with many challenges that provides new insights. Simply great. In the meantime, I have been working as a Project Engineer for seven years and it continues to fascinate me. It’s still a joy to come to work every day.

What was the biggest change for you in the company over the past few years?

We went from a small pilot project of 15 employees to a large company. Unfortunately, we no longer know everyone and everything has to be done much more officially to steer things in the right direction. We have learned a great deal since Alpro was just a small company. The biggest change: we have become a large company and I’m quite proud to have contributed my share.

How do you feel about your new colleagues? Do you have any tips for them?

I have a great group of colleagues and everyone helps each other where possible. A healthy discussion and a dose of humour ensure good cooperation. Tip: stay critical and view everything with a smile.