It was 2013 and we were bursting at the seams in Veghel. We needed a new office building with potential for even more growth. My job meant that I was responsible for the campus, so I was asked if I wanted to come up with a plan. Quickly. Because there wasn’t much time. I didn’t need to be asked twice. And the two pages of A4 became 40 pages. My plans looked a little different to what we were used to.

We had mainly opted for low-rise buildings before. But I felt that the time had come to move away from these. The new building needed to be big enough for us to continue to grow and it had to be future-proof too. It also needed to meet the very different expectations of the company’s old guard and its young people, who are Vanderlande’s future. It had to have space for people to work in and to socialise and relax in as well. So, I had to go to the board with my plan, to explain my (crazy) idea for a high-rise building with a sports area and a coffee bar.

I didn’t hear anything for three months and then the plan landed back on my desk with a thud. “Go ahead and get it built,” was the response. The result? Building 50. The company’s prominent head office, just off the motorway and now a distinctive feature of the campus.

This memory is so special to me because it is typical of how things work here at Vanderlande. When I joined the company back in 1994, as a young graduate, I was given the opportunity to make independent decisions about an expensive project after just six weeks. “If you think it’s necessary and you can explain why, it’s fine,” my manager said, matter-of-factly. Taking and being given ownership; it’s the norm here. Everyone gets opportunities at Vanderlande; you’ve just got to grab them.

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