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The best planning is a group effort

Johan Hofland , Project Planner

As a true-blue coastal resident, Johan has always had a love affair with water. ‘I always wanted to work in marine contracting. I’m just drawn to the water.’ Johan’s strong affinity with water has only benefited him in his work as a project planner at international marine contractor company Van Oord. ‘I’ve been working nearly two years as a project planner for Van Oord. I wanted to get to know my colleagues as soon as possible, so I joined Young Van Oord, an organisation of young professionals that offers periodic get-togethers and workshops. There’s sure no shortage of activities when it comes to sports; I’ve trained with the Van Oord rowing club and now I’m part of the company’s cycling club.’

Johan works as a project planner in the Project Planning & Risk Department (PPRD). ‘I’m responsible for planning within projects and tender teams. That means I have to make the tender presentable in the way we timely carry out the works. I have to make sure the tender includes a schedule, a proposal for the order in which the work will be done, a method for monitoring progress, and ideas for interventions to keep the project on track and achieve its objectives. Because my position is as at the centre of a tender or project team, I’m always busy looking for the best, fastest, or cheapest solution. The personal contributions made by the people involved are the best part. It helps me identify everyone’s strengths and we challenge one another to come up with the perfect solution. The proposal round often begins with someone asking me, “So, you’ll do the planning?” to which I always respond “We’ll do the planning together!”

‘In addition to planning, my colleagues and I also work to explain risks and make them manageable. Our department is involved in all of the major tenders and projects undertaken by the dredging, offshore, and offshore wind divisions. ‘I started with a land reclamation project in the Maldives and an offshore project that involved stabilising the wreck of a WWII submarine in Norway. I then worked on a major tender in Saudi Arabia and several smaller tenders in Africa. I’m currently working on tenders in Georgia and Romania.

Johan hopes for a new colleague who is enthusiastic and spontaneous. He explains: ‘There is so much knowledge in this company. As a planner, your job is to draw on your colleagues’ knowledge. You have a lot of contact and consultations with colleagues on various teams in the office or on-site abroad, and that goes really well despite the distance. The decisions are taken within Van Oord based on common sense and gut feeling, not just on numbers. That’s how you see right away that Van Oord is a family-owned company. Contributions are appreciated and that appreciation is expressed.’