Greetings from the South

by Noë van Bergen, winner of the Egemin ie-net Award 2013

Days are getting longer and one would expect that spring isn’t far away anymore. At this very Monday morning, the outside temperature of -2°F (-19°C) however gives evidence that no change is coming any soon.

For a new project I got enrolled in, I travelled south to Atlanta, Georgia, to take part in a three day sales meeting. A great opportunity for me to learn about building a relation with the customer. With a better understanding of what the client is looking for and more clarity regarding the technical specifications, we now can do our homework and come up with a suitable and competitive solution to present in the follow-up meeting. I’m eager to see whether the proposal will evolve into a project the customer is willing to invest in.

Given the fact that it’s colder out here than it is in your freezer, it’s needless to say that a second trip to the warm and sunny South won’t harm me. During my weekend in Atlanta, I got to see a school bus sized whale shark, the largest fish species in world’s largest aquarium. Southern people are much known for their friendliness. Even the homeless people are so unusually friendly, that I ended up spending more charity money in those two days than that I handed out before, all added together. A highlight is the southern food which I enjoyed so much that I now will have to survive on salad for a while. Local people I met took me out to have the best barbecue in town. Ribs smoked for ten hours straight, tasty and so tender that the meat would fall off the bone, caused me to get euphoric in the head. Yet another thing I learned: a good day starts with a (Chicken) Wings & Waffles breakfast.

The last four months, I’ve been thinking of an intelligent way to extend the use of Egemin’s chain conveyor solution (E’tow) by adding a modular unit to the system. As I’ve been gathering feedback from different specialists for a while now, the concept keeps evolving towards a simpler and leaner design. Since I realize that the concept will never be realized unless it really has high potential, I always keep this idea in the back of my head in order to improve it whenever I suddenly get inspiration. And honestly, there are worse places to get struck by a bright idea than on the 103rd floor of the Willis Tower in downtown Chicago.

Two third of my stay in the US have gone by already. I start to realize that my period is not endless anymore and that I need to take action in order to get the things done that I want to do. Although I’ll feel sad to leave this place, I also start to get excited for my Chinese adventure coming up.

Take care!