Behind the scenes at EconCore with Wouter Winant, Technical Manager

Published on 29-08-2022

wouter winantWhat is your role at EconCore?
“Guiding” a team of engineers and technicians while managing certain projects and operational activities within EconCore.

What's the best thing about your job?
The atmosphere of a small SME while working on big projects with partners who are world-leaders in their field. Next to that, working with a very enthusiastic and agile team makes it feel less like a “job”.

What would you do during a typical day?
My highest, daily priority goes to the guidance and consulting our technical team. I make sure that our agile planning is up to date and that everyone has the resources and information they need to perform in their role. I’m also participating in and leading certain projects in which we have various tasks like general administration/project management, CAD design, purchasing, testing, … Next to that, I’m overseeing general operational items like facilities, equipment, safety & prevention, ICT, …
The variety of tasks is a benefit in an SME like EconCore.

How did you get into this industry?
By coincidence actually. My background is more situated in electromechanics and automation. When I applied for the function of project engineer at EconCore in 2007 I didn’t know a lot about material science nor plastics or composites. But I fell in love with the topic immediately which helped to gain knowledge and experience in a rapid pace. This in combination with my background seemed to be a good fit with the further development of EconCore’s ThermHex technology.

What about the continuous honeycomb technology that surprises you?
The first thing is the ingenious way to make a relative complicated structure in a fast and full continuous process. Next to that, the versatility of materials that can be used within the same equipment and process setup is amazing.

What has been the biggest impact/challenge on your career from the coronavirus pandemic?
The “Working from home” topic … It was challenging to foresee a safe working environment for a technical team that relies on their equipment and facility to perform their tasks. With some creative planning and openminded colleagues we made it happen.

What are you passionate about professionally or personally?
I believe strongly in technology meets sustainability. Innovation must always be used towards solutions for a more sustainable future. I’m also a big supporter of implementing sustainable technology as a major topic in educational pathways like STEM.

What is the most challenging part of your job?
An SME can be a chaotic environment. Also, the possibility of the technology and the wide range of applications and markets where it can be used can lead to endless new ideas and projects. So, the biggest challenge is to focus on the most interesting ones and keep some form of structure without losing efficiency and agility keeping our strategy in mind.

What is sustainability for you?
Shortly said: “a world in balance”. This can easily end up in the typical overpopulation and overconsumption debate but I like to believe that this debate should be much wider taking the total societal impact into account. A fine balance of efforts between legislation, awareness, sustainable innovation, education and knowledge, … should guide us in the right direction.