Melle Hoekstra

‘Diversity of clients makes work challenging’

When DMT introduced solutions eleven years ago to convert biogas into green gas using membrane technology, the company in Joure saw substantial growth. The company still benefits from being one of the pioneers. “DMT believed this was the future and has always stuck to that,” says Project Manager Melle Hoekstra.

In his 15 years at DMT, Melle Hoekstra has witnessed the growth and development of the Joure-based company up close. Over the years, he has taken on various roles, and for the past four years, Melle has been the Project Manager, leading five project teams.

DMT has experienced significant growth!
“Absolutely! Eleven years ago, we built the first membrane installation. DMT believed in this technology, considering it the future, and has always stuck to that belief. At that time, the market was smaller, but it has since exploded, with enormous growth potential worldwide. I find it rewarding to contribute to greening the world in this way.”

You have the market on your side. What are the challenges then?
“Now that the cards in the international gas market have permanently changed, and Europe also recognizes green gas as a viable alternative, stimulating it as sustainable energy, the demand is rising rapidly. This puts our work and the installations we build, sell, and deliver into high gear. And there is still plenty in the pipeline. According to our calculations, we need additional people: mechanical and electrical engineers, CAD engineers, buyers, sales managers, etc. Attracting the right people can be considered a challenge in these times.”

You lead the project department. What makes the work interesting?
“The diversity of clients internationally. From an agricultural entrepreneur in North Groningen to a Water Board or government company in the Netherlands or abroad, or a waste processor in Switzerland or Norway. Each project involves different stakeholders. A project at a water board is technically and contractually very different from an installation at a farmer’s site. That makes the work quite diverse and challenging. No project is the same.”

How do you see yourself as a leader?
“I think the way I lead applies to everyone. We have a relatively flat organization with short lines. We are not hierarchical at all. I see myself more as a resource and support for the team members, but I am not a boss. I oversee the entire project portfolio; are the projects in line with internal and external processes, and do they align with the schedule, hours, and budget? While I am the one who sometimes gives the final approval, there is always prior consultation.”

You have been there for almost 16 years. What gives you the most job satisfaction?
“Obviously, the contribution we make to the necessary green energy worldwide. Also, a sense of responsibility combined with freedom. For example, when working abroad, there is the opportunity to do something enjoyable. International work demands flexibility in working hours. If you work a few evenings, take the day off. The flexibility to choose to work from home or to exercise with colleagues during lunch. This flexibility applies to both myself and the caliber of people we need. Teamwork, taking initiative, and being responsible are crucial in this job. When you are on the work site, good preparation is essential, and self-reliance is crucial. Also, being able to gauge when it is wise to pick up the phone if you need support from colleagues.”

That way, you develop quickly.
“Definitely. Due to the international nature, you deal with many different clients, each requiring a different approach. An English or German client is somewhat more formal than someone from Scandinavia. Good project and stakeholder management help with that. When sitting with the client, know who is responsible for the technical side, who for the financial side, and who to call if there is a problem. It can be learned, but you also need a bit of intuition.”

Does it sound appealing to help DMT in their growth ambition? There are currently job openings in the engineering team.