Esther Bijloo started as a trainee, after which she moved on to the position of superintendent. After working on projects for several years, she was ready for a new challenge. Esther is now Area Coordinator of the America & Africa area for the dredging division. She is the link between the technical and commercial sides of the business.
In my current position, I’m the point of contact for all of the countries that are part of our America subarea. I’m the link between the area managers, the regional managers, and in particular the Engineering & Estimating Department (E&E). I’ve gotten to know Van Oord and many colleagues very well by having worked in various departments as I’ve built my career. My large internal network is a resource I profit enormously from in my current position.
The area and regional managers who work abroad from our regional offices follow up potential projects, visit clients, and receive tender documents. The last are crucially important: they describe the scope of the project as well as the programme of requirements that must be met in order to submit a tender. ‘All of the documents come to me first. I familiarise myself with them and then look at them with the specialists, such as engineers and estimators, to see how we can submit a tender that is both technically and financially optimal. My colleagues in E&E issue an opinion on the potential project, what the action plan should be, which vessel should be used to do the work, and how much it will cost. We work together with one object in mind: to complete a successful project based on a successful tender’, says Esther.
‘The E&E Department has specialised technical knowledge in house. I use my experience on projects to act as their sparring partner and make technical contributions during the tender procedure. Another aspect of my job is monitoring the planning. I have an overview hanging on the wall of my office that includes all of the area’s projects: from tenders and budgets to ongoing projects. I can see at a glance which stage a project is in.’ As a superintendent, one of the projects Esther worked on was the Jurong Aracruz dredging project in Brazil, where her knowledge of Portuguese came in handy. Esther explains: ‘Some of the tender documents are in Portuguese or Spanish. Since I speak those languages I could immediately read them instead of having to have them translated first: it was really efficient!’
No two days alike
Esther continues enthusiastically: 'Every day is so different. Every day there’s another project you can contribute your bit to. When we’re dealing with large numbers of tenders, we have to run a very tight organisation. In quieter periods, we have more time to look into in-depth questions. I really enjoy being active with other people and working on such a variety of projects. I feel appreciated both by the organisation and by my colleagues. There is a lot of freedom to develop yourself as a professional. Everyone who works at Van Oord loves being here, which makes them very dedicated. We’re all working to achieve the same goal, and that’s what makes the job so enjoyable.’