Martijn is realising his ambitions

Martijn is realising his ambitions at Cargill

Production manager Martijn Steine: ‘Cargill has given me all the scope I need to develop in an international setting’

After finishing his secondary education, Martijn went on to graduate in chemical engineering and now manages a team of almost 70. Martijn is fulfilling his ambitions. Over two and a half years ago, he moved from the centre of Rotterdam with his fiancée to a dream job at Cargill in Zeeland-Flanders.

Some people need a little longer to arrive at their destination, but brimming with confidence and determination, after his school days, Martijn went on to complete a master’s degree in chemical engineering and started work as a maintenance engineer in Rotterdam.

Later, he joined Akzo Nobel as reliability engineer and took part in a development programme to help him plan a future career path. He soon discovered his strengths were as an all-rounder, providing management and gaining experience abroad.

When he was approached by Cargill, he instantly knew it was a good match. ‘I wanted to work for an international concern where I could get the most out of my staff, with a company that invested in its work environment, even when the returns were not immediate.’

Circular production

Cargill, in Sas van Gent, processes maize and wheat into (modified) starch, glucose and ethanol. These raw materials then undergo further processing for use in products for the food industry, such as sweets, dairy products, biscuits, soups and drinks. The same raw materials are also used in animal feed, cosmetics, pharmaceutical products and in paper and cardboard. ‘We aspire to waste-free production. One example of how we do this is to convert our final waste flows into biomass. This biomass, in turn, is used to generate heat which we go on to use in our factory’.

Scope for self-development

‘Cargill has given me all the scope I need to grow and develop. For example, I started out here as maintenance supervisor, was then promoted to the position of ethanol production manager, and I am now in charge of wheat production. I now manage a large multi-talented team of 67 colleagues.’

Delivering the highest quality and the best production

‘The biggest challenge is working with a diversity of people. We aim not only to bring about consensus, but also allow everyone to be themselves. We work with explosive atmospheres, so we have to apply the most stringent of safety regulations. That means we all have to be pulling in the same direction, adopting a common stance towards safety and achieving the best production figures and highest levels of quality. I believe these are the goals we must work towards on a daily basis.’

Martijn: ‘We don’t miss the congestion, noise and pollution of the Randstad one bit’

‘Life in Zeeland suits down to the ground. Of course, moving from downtown Rotterdam to a town in Zeeland-Flanders was a huge change. Sometimes we miss our favourite coffee hangout and Indian restaurant in Rotterdam, but the beach is just a 20-minute drive away, you’re in Ghent within half an hour, and we have more hours of sunshine here than anywhere else in the Netherlands. Life here couldn’t be much better.

It’s an ideal situation living here in peace and quiet and then being able to take off somewhere more lively whenever we want. We often have friends and family over in the summer, along with their kids. We can barbecue in the garden or chill out with a drink on the beach.

The future of engineering in Zeeland

‘My hope is that the powers that be at a local, national and European level continue to value the importance of this sector and back this up with actions that preserve these industries. These include anything from controlling nitrates, to energy prices and carbon emissions. Let’s engage in dialogue and face the challenges together.

As Europeans, we’re known for delivering the best quality with the minimum of effort. It’s something to take pride in. Let’s make sure that this know-how and expertise doesn’t go away.’ 

Martijn’s advice

‘Cargill gives you plenty of opportunities to further yourself and build something positive. Here your uniqueness is valued. In the Randstad, you’re just one of the herd, even in the larger companies. Here you can really make a difference, certainly in the field of sustainability, innovation and technology.

Opportunities in Zeeland

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