Paul Manuels

Working at Ballast Nedam International Projects: one big adventure

A new terminal in Sint Maarten, expansion of the cruise jetty in Sint Lucia or a new port in Suriname. Project manager and business developer Paul Manuels enjoys working on Ballast Nedam's challenging, international projects.

Over 20 years ago, he started in Ballast Nedam's rotational programme, the forerunner of the traineeship. This was followed by one adventure abroad after another at Ballast Nedam International Projects. We asked Paul what it's like to work abroad and what qualities you need for it.

Why did you apply to Ballast Nedam?

"I was studying Civil Engineering in Delft and was looking for a part-time job that tied in with my studies. That's how I came into contact with Ballast Nedam. They didn't have a part-time job for me, but they did have a three-year rotation programme, similar to today's traineeship. It was a great opportunity to gain experience in different places within Ballast Nedam, so I accepted it wholeheartedly."

How did you end up at Ballast Nedam International Projects?

"When I was in the final stage of the rotational programme, a vacancy came up for superintendent in India. Ballast Nedam was building a new jetty there. I always wanted to work abroad, so this seemed like a good fit. A few days later my ticket was booked and two weeks later I was on the other side of the world. Working in India was a very nice and educational experience."

And what came after India?

"After India, I went straight to Suriname, where I started as a work planner and ended up as a project manager. A great, challenging position that I still have today. Suriname was followed by projects in Sint Lucia and Sint Maarten, among others. And since two years I live and work in the Netherlands again, because of my family. I now mainly tender for hydraulic engineering works and only make short trips to ongoing or possible new projects."

So that takes some getting used to again?

"Definitely. After fifteen years abroad, the Netherlands feels quite small, busy and individualistic. And what I also miss a bit: abroad, you learn an awful lot in a short time. You start with nothing in a hotel room and end up with a multicultural project team of 150 people. If everything is then completed well and the client is satisfied, it gives you an extra big kick."

So what kind of person do you have to be to work at Ballast Nedam International Projects?

"You have to be flexible, have the courage to make decisions, work well under time pressure and be a team player. It's very challenging because you take on everything with a small project team. From the technical to the legal and financial aspects. Yes, deep down I would like to go abroad again for a long time. But who knows, maybe we will move abroad again when the children are a bit older."

Are you also interested in working at Ballast Nedam?

At Ballast Nedam, you can develop and become a little better every day. In the Netherlands and abroad. Together with almost 2,000 colleagues, we are committed to a future-proof living environment. Will you join our team to contribute to this?

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