Our people - VolkerWessels Telecom
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Our people

More than 1,700 employees can tell you what it is like to work for VolkerWessels Telecom. Read about a few of our people’s experiences on location and discover how varied the work is that we do.

Ernst Weltevreden

The bridge of the master

Name: Ernst Weltevreden 
Job title: Quality, Health & Safety and Environment coordinator
Business Unit: VolkerWessels Telecom | Quality, Health & Safety and Environment Staff Department

 

Safe and clean vehicles
Armed with his mobile weighbridge, our inspector Ernst Weltevreden travels the country to inspect equipment and weigh vans. This equipment represents a first for Services at VolkerWessels Telecom. The ambition: lighter and hence safer and cleaner vans. On a Thursday in the Achterhoek region of the country, Ernst is installing the mobile weighbridge in order to inspect a service van. ‘Fitters work with their vans in a very conscious way. What is my load? How can we configure the vehicle differently? Are any improvements possible? For example, reduced loads mean less wear to tyres, reduced fuel consumption, more economical driving and reduced CO2 emissions, Ernst explains. Safety is naturally also an important element of the ‘exam’. This includes inspecting electrical tools and equipment that runs on gas.

At the age of 61 and with a lifetime at VolkerWessels Telecom behind him, Ernst is working on the final chapter of his career. ‘I have had many different jobs, including management roles. Ambition has never been my motivation. The most important thing for me is that I enjoy my work.’ The team spirit, working together and the humour. Ernst feels most in his element when he is close to the operation and out in the field. ‘Do you know? In all those years I have really never felt the atmosphere in the field to be anything but good. That says an awful lot about the culture on the work floor.’

Storingsmonteur Peter Lagas

The kink in the cable

Name: Peter Lagas
Job title: Service engineer
Business Unit: VolkerWessels Telecom | FttH

The troubleshooting guy
We are in Huizen, where the people from FttH and its subcontractor are connecting homes to the fibre-optic network. Peter Lagas is the troubleshooting guy. He is looking for a fault reported previously, where a serious challenge awaits. ‘Attenuation’, predicts Peter. ‘In 70% of cases there is a kink in the cable. Often where the conduit for the individual property branches off from the network.’ In the meter cabinet, Peter shows us his OTDR, the little box that traces faults. ‘Hey, that’s odd!’ A phone call later, Peter drives to the POP to see what’s happening and talk to the subcontractor. Conclusion: the kink is probably in the green analogue connection and not in the blue digital one. ‘Do I mind having to dig? Not at all. You just want to avoid unnecessary digging.’ When the first recalcitrant stone yields under his spade, Peter expertly whips open the pavement. And that means working up a good sweat, even for a muscleman like him.

When the pavement is nearly closed again, an elderly gentleman approaches him to ask about a connection. It may be outside the scope of his duties but the natural way in which he communicates with the man and directs the subcontractor reveals a foreman in the making. ‘For me, helping someone like that goes without saying’, explains Peter. ‘You are supplying a product, and that product has to be good. You always have to be conscious of the fact that you are the company’s calling card . It’s a fine company and a good one. And that’s what I stand for!’

Antennebouwer Richard Arends

A climber of renown

Name: Richard Arends
Job title: Antenna builder
Business Unit: VolkerWessels Telecom | Netwerk Solutions

 

Unprecedented heights
Richard Arends climbs to unprecedented heights daily with his colleagues from Netwerk Solutions. They are working to install mobile antennas in a football stadium. Using a camera, they accurately check which antenna covers which rows of seats. Because whereas in the past perhaps only text messages sent after goals were scored caused peak loads on the network, now the punters in the stands also want to be able to view those goals at length on their smartphones. The hunger for content and data prompts various clubs to install or upgrade mobile antennas.

These men are made of the right stuff. Ready for any challenge, nothing is beyond them. The antennas they are hoisting and fixing in place are anything but light. Safely secured in his harness, Richard skilfully turns a nut until is it completely tight. ‘That sense of freedom. That view’, Richard waxes lyrical about his job. ‘One time you are building mobile cell sites for an event in the Amsterdamse Bos. Today I am working in a stadium and tomorrow perhaps I’ll be somewhere up a mast.’ Richard is a relatively new face within the sector. ‘I worked in steel construction for years. There are clear overlaps. Steel structures and working at height are not new to me. But I am still learning new things every day here. I don’t like routine work. A project has to be challenging.’

Regina van den IJssel glasvezelmonteur VolkerWessels Telecom

Fibre-optic worker m/f

Name: Regina van den IJssel
Job title: Fibre-optic fitter
Business unit: VolkerWessels Telecom | Infratechniek


100% in order
Today, the backdrop is the Dokhaven wastewater purification plant of the hospitable Hollandse Delta water board. It is a rare underground purification plant that cleans the wastewater of nearly half a million Rotterdammers and pumps it into the river Maas. The snow sweeps remorselessly across the Maas and under our colleagues’ umbrella. They remain apparently unperturbed and good-humoured: the men from Infratechniek, South-West region. Men... and one woman. Because whichever way you look at it, as a woman, Regina van den IJssel is an exception in the welding pit.


What qualities mark out a good fibre-optic fitter? ‘Refined motor skills, meticulousness and not being afraid to get your hands dirty or do an extra hour’s work. Regina points to the miniscule fibres: ‘Can you tell the colours apart? You can’t be colour-blind in this job. Certainly not if you are dealing with eight tubes, each with twelve fibres of different colours. And of course a good understanding of the subject matter is important too.’ Regina switched from copper to fibre early this year. ‘Paul is my teacher. He works very meticulously. He is a professional who is proud of his work and I am learning a lot from him. Yes, I share his mentality. When you close the door behind you, everything has to be 100%. It took me a while to get used to the ‘fibres’. All those abbreviations and English terms. But you soon get the hang of it. The locations differ, but the work is comparable.’

Gerrit de Lange

Men of steel...and copper

Name: Gerrit de Lange
Job title: Copper welder
Business Unit: VolkerWessels Telecom | Infratechniek

 

Skill and experience
Copper welder Gerrit de Lange and his assistant Henk Boerman are on the outskirts of Emmen to perform some work on the existing copper network of a company. Their biceps bulge. Almost effortlessly, they lift one brick after another out of the pavement, in search of the existing copper network. This heavy work is for experienced men with muscles of steel. Gerard and Henk have been a duo for 25 years. ‘Some people don’t manage that long in a marriage’, laughs Gerrit. ‘Being together every day. It means you know you can count on each other.’ Henk nods: ‘We are totally on the same wavelength. Often, a glance is enough.’


According to Gerrit, a glance at the statistics is enough to recognise a good welder: ‘A good welder doesn’t make many ‘mistakes’. You only learn the craft properly in practice. Soldering work back in the day: it took craftsmanship. Experience is important. Though there are good young welders too. They can weld those big cables much faster. Everyone has their own speciality.’ He is the go-to guy for connections for private individuals and companies. The ‘more subtle copper work’. That is his craft. Rubble and groundwater are what the duo from Infratechniek hate the most: ‘Especially in Friesland, the groundwater level is high. But we’re not complaining. We get to go all over. Different soil types, different people – it’s the variety that makes this such a good job.’

John van Beek

Phoning and running

Name: John van Beek

Job title: Service Foreman
Business Unit: VolkerWessels Telecom | Services 


The customer comes first
At Services, they resolve faults 24/7. Everything else takes a back seat. John van Beek’s phone is constantly ringing. ‘In the Services department, you never know where you’ll end up. You can be in Maastricht and Heerenveen on the same day. But that unpredictability has its charm, too. Variety: that is the beauty about this job.’ John is a craftsman and enthusiast who likes to get his sleeves rolled up. With his 21 years of knowledge and experience, he also regularly acts as a helpline for colleagues. ‘In my job it’s all about phoning, phoning, running around, running around. But initially you achieve the most by phoning.’

John also has to keep everything under control at the ‘epicentre’ in Uden, his base. He has an impressive digital database, with maps showing all the cables and conduits down to the level of the apartment. Logs; files of faults and incidents, complete with photos and accurate records. For John, the customer comes first. ‘When there is a fault in the network, people need to be able to watch TV again that same night. You always need to tell people what is going on, quickly. If they don’t have a signal for five minutes, they get restless. But if you tell them honestly that it will take a little while, they are far more likely to understand.’

Mario Fonteijn

The final link in the chain

Name: Mario Fonteijn
Job title: Tester of small cells, masts, antennas
Business unit: VolkerWessels Telecom | Netwerk Solutions 


‘When I am done, people can start using their phones’ 
Mario Fonteijn ‘grew up’ among telecom sites, masts and antennas, as it were, and is now an experienced and dedicated tester at VolkerWessels Telecom. Being a tester means you perform tests on small cells, masts and antennas for mobile providers, but also on the C2000 network, for example. ‘It is an interesting and varied job’, says Mario. ‘Over the years, I have learned what the construction of masts and antennas involves. That experience comes in very useful now in my work as a tester.’

Mario roams throughout the Netherlands for his job and sometimes even works in Belgium and Germany. It takes him to the oddest places, from high up in the air to deep underground. When the construction at a location is ready, Mario comes into action. A test procedure takes between half a day and a whole day. As a tester, you are responsible for everything, from correctly aligning the antennas to programming the telecommunication equipment. The test and measurement data are then supplied to the customer. After that, the site can go operational. ‘The nice thing about my job is that I am the final link in the chain. When I am done testing, people can start using their phones.’

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