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A day in the life of Frederik Petiels

Age: 38

Biography: Frederik joined TOMRA Sorting Food in August 2015 and operates as a Field Service Engineer, working with many types of TOMRA machinery. He travels extensively as part of his job, carrying out work for clients across the world.

08 March 2017

1. What is your role at TOMRA Sorting Food?

I am a Field Service Engineer. I work with several machines, including the Genius and Helius models, for clients across the world. My tasks can range from installations to maintenance to audits, and much more.

2. Why did you decide to work for TOMRA?

Before TOMRA, I had several management functions: I was a project manager with another company, and worked in the field as chief of installations, but when the opportunity with TOMRA came I did not hesitate. When you work in the field as I do, the freedom is rife within TOMRA. You need to develop your own discipline within your role, and this appealed to me, as well as the chance to work with a range of different people with different skills. I am very thankful for the freedom in this role.

3. What does your average work day look like?

I get up at 5:30, sort out the pets and discuss the day with my wife, then leave for TOMRA HQ in Leuven, Belgium. I am often away from home as much of my time is spent travelling. However, I generally spend two days in the office, which adds a degree of structure. A product installation will normally take one week, which includes a travel day, and, although I am often alone, we very much live in a community at TOMRA. On a social basis, modern communications make it easy to communicate with each other, whether it’s discussing a job and sharing ideas or telling funny jokes. We are not just colleagues, we are friends, which adds to the community feel. I have a big amount of respect for my colleagues and everyone at TOMRA, but especially in that environment. Every person’s job is different and the tasks they do on a daily basis can change, which means there is no average work day as such, but this is a good thing!

4. What's the best thing about your job?

The ability to see lots of different places - this was one of the most important reasons why I chose the job and I am glad I do it. Not everyone can or will do it, as it can be difficult to travel so much if you have a family, but at TOMRA the company and your colleagues motivate you and make it a good place to work. Meeting different kinds of people is the most interesting thing about travelling, and you can visit parts of the world that you would never normally see. I spent two weeks in St Petersburg in Russia, where it was minus 30 degrees, which was certainly memorable! I’ve also been as far as South Korea and Saudi Arabia on maintenance trips, which can involve meeting three or four clients and carrying out a range of tasks from calibrations to audits to issuing certificates, so it is always interesting.

5. What's the skill you'd most like to have?

I have always wanted to be an expert in my job and can be impatient to do it in the smallest amount of time possible, so my ideal skill would be to reduce the time needed to do anything. I started with graduates and I see what kind of capability they have and it becomes more difficult as you get older.

6.What are you passionate about - professionally or personally?

When I am working - regardless of the task - I am passionate about ensuring everything is clear when I leave. I find it is a nightmare when tasks are not finished when you’re done, whether it’s maintenance or training. Personally, as well as professionally, my perspective is always to do things as well as I possibly can, and then to hope that it translates to other aspects of my life, from family to health.

7. What's your favorite holiday destination?

When I take leave from work I rarely leave the country. Instead, the time is dedicated to farm work. My wife is a farmer’s girl and we enjoy maintaining the farm we live on, which is almost a job in itself, but we love it.

8. What would be your perfect day away from work?

I enjoy a calm life away from work so it would definitely involve that. It’s hard to envisage a perfect day as I prefer to take life as it comes, including the negatives. You never know what is around the corner and so it is important to value your health and happiness. Many people cope with challenges on a daily basis so my perfect day would likely involve that and continuing to support my loved ones. I am not just a day to day person - I have future views and plans, including having children with my wife, who is an accountant, and when we settle one day our perfect day may look very different!

9. What's your greatest business achievement?

I would like to think that my greatest business achievement is yet to come! I take great pride in everything I do professionally and never have regrets, either at work or in private.

10. What's your greatest personal achievement?

I have been involved in the construction of several houses, along with my wife and brother in law. It was not easy, but over the course of four years we have built six houses, including the one I currently live in. My brother in law is a builder so he took care of those aspects of the project, whereas I used my engineering skills to do the electrics and sanitation work. It was tough but rewarding knowing that you are building someone’s house, so they need to be happy with it - including myself!

11. What did you eat for lunch?

Homemade cheese sandwiches. I’m very lucky as my wife normally makes my lunch, and I have only ever left the house once without it. I enjoy the simple things in life and believe that home is where the heart is.