Ewout: ‘It’s a ‘people’ job, working in transport’.
It was the French language that, fifteen years ago, led Ewout van Kwawegen to BGT Transport, which was at that time a sister company of Meeus Transport. Before that, he had lived for some years in France, first near Paris and later between Lyon and Grenoble. His good command of French brought him to his new function, where knowledge of the language is required. Ewout has now been based in Bergen op Zoom, in the shadow of the blue flag, for several years, and his knowledge of the language has come in very useful. He likes to tell people about it.
Asterix and Obelix at work
If we ask Ewout about working at Meeus Transport, there is one thing which dominates the conversation: the French language. In his job as Planner at Meeus Transport, Ewout frequently speaks French with both customers and drivers. ‘As soon as French people hear that you speak the language, the ice is broken. I always try to take advantage of that. If you can make them smile, you can achieve a lot more. If it works, that gives me a real kick. And it usually does work: I think that French people are great. In my opinion it’s really unfair that many Dutch people have prejudices about the French’.
Ewout can talk for hours about the fun he has had with Meeus Transport customers in France. ‘I often take my inspiration from the stories of Asterix and Obelix, of whom the French are so proud. But sometimes I just say something funny about someone’s French name, one that we don’t know in the Netherlands. People often think it’s cool that a Dutch guy can do that. That’s why I find this job really fine: it’s a real ‘people’ job, working in transport’.
The calm in the storm
Ewout sees Meeus Transport as a family company, with mutual trust at its heart. Ewout: ‘99% of the time, the Head of Planning lets me do my own thing. Of course, I know myself that I work hard and do the right things, but it is still fine to experience that level of confidence on the part of the company’.
Anyway, it’s not easy to throw Ewout off his stride, whatever happens at work. ‘Sometimes weird things happen, such as diesel being stolen. Then I have to contact not only the driver and our partners in France, there has to be an exchange of information with the local French police. A police report has to be compiled, and so on. Unfortunately, these things sometimes happen. But in those situations, I stay calm, I don’t get upset easily. You need that in a job as a Planner. It can be pretty hectic, but that’s just what I like about it’.
Ewout is happy where he is and doesn’t think much about ambitions for the future. ‘I’m 61 now, and don’t have the drive to become a manager or anything like that. Just let me do my own thing. Just having such a great degree of freedom in my work is enough for me’.