I came to this huge project towards the end of the sales phase and remember just how big a challenge it was, not least because it was the first undertaking for our new Airports platform.

You couldn’t ask for a more pressurised situation as we worked towards the completion date. It was also an extremely high-profile project in Turkey, and a matter of national pride that everything went well and was delivered on time. The airport even had its own TV channel to record progress.

Across all disciplines, our teams worked flat-out for months to ensure success. I remember the day the airport went live. We stood on the tarmac watching the first official flight leave on time, with passengers and all their bags safely onboard. Some of the team had tears in their eyes – though of course they said it was just dust from the site!

These were battle-hardened people, some with 25 years’ experience, who had seen and done it all. However, the emotion of that day got the better of them, and no wonder. Working with colleagues who were under such pressure, and showed such commitment, will stay with me forever.

While it was often a difficult experience, our focus and teamwork revealed Vanderlande at its best. We stripped out everything that was superfluous and concentrated on achieving our objectives. Five years later that project inspires the message I offer as CEO: let’s go back to basics and concentrate on what we excel at, which is going the extra mile for the customer and finding ways to get things done.

More memories

Once you have trust, you can do anything

Henk van Helmond, Netherlands

A penchant for adventure certainly comes in handy at Vanderlande, because once you have the trust of your colleagues and…

Vanderlande can make your dreams come true

Suraj Mishra, India

During his 12 years at Vanderlande, VP IT Suraj Mishra has enjoyed a series of “firsts”: as a manager; going…

Our Shanghai office created a commemorative coin

Izzy Tan, China

Izzy Tan’s nine-year journey at Vanderlande began in an unlikely way, deciding to join a company she had said she…

That plane crash turned out to be my salvation

Remko de Lange, Netherlands

With 32-plus years of experience at Vanderlande, you’d be right to think that Remko de Lange is one of the…

My first time out of China

Rachel Lu, China

Rachel Lu has been with Vanderlande since 2008 and is based in Shanghai, where she works in the Parcel business….

“I hear what you say”

Huub Peeters, Netherlands

For many people in Vanderlande one person comes to mind if they hear the words: “Ik hoor wat je zegt”…

After 35 years, I still enjoy walking into Vanderlande every morning

Thea van den Berg – van den Heuvel, Netherlands

On September 16, 1988, when I was a timid girl, I walked into Rapistan Lande for the first time. It…

Nice to see that Vanderlande contributes so much to fit employees

Paul Strik, Netherlands

We had to produce two designs really, really fast

Nick Porter, United States

After Vanderlande quickly produced two designs for the JFK Terminal 1 project, we received a special letter from the general…

We went to work and live in Hong Kong as one of the first expats of Vanderlande

Jos Frijns, Netherlands

In 1994, just graduated from the University of Twente, I started at Vanderlande as a mechanical engineer within the project…