Dieter Hoornaert, is a sales engineer at dZine in Kortrijk, Belgium, where he is responsible for pre-sales and project management.
- Describe your personal workspace.
My personal workspace is an office area, shared with three sales colleagues and one designer. We have a very good team and it’s nice to be able to work closely together, as well as to rapidly share thoughts and information on things.
We each have an own desk with the necessary equipment to fulfill the required jobs. My equipment consists mostly of demonstration items such as displays and DISplayers, as well as technical things to test for specific projects. My laptop and phone are my most important work tools.
- How do you get to work?
I get to work by car. It’s only a half an hour drive from my home in the quiet town of Lichtervelde to Kortrijk so it’s very convenient.
I also spend a lot of time in the field, so the car comes in very handy. In the morning there is always a lot of traffic so I take my coffee in the car. My drive to the office mainly consists of dropping off my girlfriend, who is Mexican, at school where she is learning Dutch. We met in London when I was there for ScreenMediaExpo.
I like the idea of always being on holiday as soon as you get home. Lichtervelde is right in the middle between Bruges and Kortrijk. I try to get some sports in each week. My girlfriend and I try to go for a run at least three times a week, although in wintertime, this is not always possible. In summertime, one of my hobbies is sailing. I have a small sports sailboat, and together with my best friend, we try to get some friendly competition in when the weather allows it. I also have a big garden, and on Sundays when necessary, I enjoy working outdoors and keeping everything maintained.
- What is an average day like?
My job has a lot of variation so days can be very different, but I guess I could give you an example of a day in the office. In the morning my main focus would be e-mails and calls that are on my ‘to do’ list.
We also have a very good social work environment. I communicate a lot with different departments within the company: test department and support for ongoing issues or customer support issues; production for helping colleagues and clients with demonstration equipment; sales department for future projects. On an average day, I try to help everyone on a first in/first out basis and, if necessary, I plan the events in my calendar.
After work, I often visit small companies and private individuals that I have met in the past to help them out with certain problems they might encounter. I don’t advertise this in an active way.
Friday nights are a fixed night for my best friends to meet up at my place where we have some drinks, talk about the week and watch a movie or some episodes of a show.
Every Saturday I play in a band where I’m the lead singer, but sometimes also play drums and bass guitar. There are six people in the band but we don’t have our own music. It’s really a cover band with a very wide variety of styles. I love music with a passion.
- What is essential to you being able to work happily?
In my perspective, there are several things very important in enjoying both the work and enjoying the company you work for: good social and work interaction with colleagues; a hands-on mentality; and a two-way flexibility.
- How flexible are your working conditions?
The working conditions are very flexible. This is not just a given, but this is also a responsibility.
What do you think your employer looks for in its staff?
I think that, first and most important, it’s the competence of the staff. We are a relatively small group of persons dealing with a high-end product in a specialized market. dZine has highly educated people with different specializations focusing on exactly that. We always focus on being ahead of the market and need smart, innovative people supporting, and working on that cause.
Flexibility is also very important. This flexibility, of course, goes both ways.
What suggestions do you have for your company?
The general manager of our company is always very open to suggestions, so at any point, if we have ideas, questions or remarks, we are welcome in his office. This assures that there are no issues, suggestions or problems left open. This way, you can realize certain things – and there is also room to learn.
At this point I don’t think we have any ongoing suggestions.
- Do you have any frustrations you would like to share with us?
I don’t have any frustrations at this point but, of course, like in any job, you can have its good and its bad days. If you have a bad day on a certain project – for example, if something technical gives problems and there are certain deadlines, this can be frustrating. But luckily, frustrations have always been temporary, and at such times, it is very good to have a good relationship with your colleagues, because they can be there to help you out.
- What do you like best about your job?
I like the variation in my job. It allows me to be occupied partially technical, partially commercial. In my heart I am a bit of a technical person, always thinking of solutions and on how to improve things, so I really enjoy this part of my job, but I also enjoy and need to be in touch with people. The commercial part of my job allows this.
- How open is your company to new ideas and suggestions?
As we are an innovative company, dZine isvery open to any idea coming from any person in the company. No matter how small the idea can be, it is always possible to discuss it and to evaluate it. As of last week, there has even been a new kind of game introduced, called ‘red ventures’. This stimulates people into coming up with ideas and even makes it a kind of healthy competition.
How much responsibility have you been given?
When I perform tasks in supporting projects and customers, I feel it to be my own responsibility to help the customers in the best way that I can.
For some projects the company entrusts me with a high responsibility, and I also enjoy this as a stimulus to perform my job as well as possible. Also, the faith that is invested in someone can make one feel successful. This is a good feeling to go home with every night.
How green are you and your company?
The company is very green. The main product focus at this time is to be energy efficient. We have a policy in dZine to turn off every piece of equipment every night, unless it needs to run for reasons of testing. In that case you are required to leave a note on the equipment. Otherwise, the last person to leave the company will power it off.
The company cars of dZine also are bound to very strict guidelines regarding CO2 pollution and gas consumption.
Personally I have just invested in solar panels as an investment to reduce costs in the future, but also to be environmental friendly in producing energy for my family and me.