Berry Veltman

Global Process Engineer, the Netherlands

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About

Berry has been with Sibelco in Maastricht in the Netherlands for almost six years. Find out what inspires him on his career path in this interview.

What attracted you to Sibelco? 

 

I like the type of industry Sibelco is in, with heavy equipment, (big) machines, minerals and mining. As a youngster, I loved to watch the ‘Gold Rush Alaska’ series while dreaming about discovering gold streaks and glory holes made by ancient waterfalls. This is where my interest for this type of industry started. On top of that, Sibelco’s product line has many applications and is used in many sectors, so Sibelco is not dependent on a single market.  

How do you apply the new Sibelco 2025 values – Integrity, Respect, Ownership, Excellence, Teamwork - in your daily job? 

My parents did a good job teaching me similar values. It is nice to work with a group of motivated people that work autonomously with team spirit that leads to creativity and good ideas. It gives me satisfaction when some of these ideas are eventually materialized. And when things do not go according to plan, it’s best to take ownership of the problem, and set things right. 

What does your career path look like?  

After my chemical engineering degree, I started my career as a Process Engineer at a floor tile processing plant at the age of 21, where I learned a lot about processes and getting things done. With a heavy heart, I left this company for a new adventure at Sibelco. When I joined sibelco, I had the honor to work with Alois who had tons of experience in process engineering at Sibelco and was about to retire. Because of my mentor, my development was accelerated and his help has had a positive influence on my capabilities and process knowledge. 

What does a typical day at Sibelco look like for you? 

 

Luckily my job has a lot of variety. My work is where the projects are: From discussions with (technical) sales to pilot tests and industrial tests, up to conceptual design of new processes. When the business plan is approved, we start the so called ’basic engineering’ which is a team effort. The technical project manager and process/electrical/mechanical/automation engineers work together to design the new line or plant. As a process engineer, you try to give plants the necessary upgrades and transfer best practices from one plant to the other. Sometimes operational problems land on my desk, for example when lines are underperforming, or quality specs cannot be reached.  

What’s the biggest challenge you had to deal with in your career?  

When my mentor eventually retired, I went working on my own and finding my own ways of doing things. Sometimes I can still hear his voice in my mind. 

What is the best career advice you ever received? 

  • Listen to the people around you, get their input and combine it to complete the picture.
  • When you master basic mathematics and use common sense, you will come a long way.
  • When things get difficult, don’t give up without a proper fight. 

What dreams – personal or professional – do you have for the future? 

 

I had many dreams in my life, for example when I watched the movie “Topgun” at a very young age I wanted to become a fighter pilot. Looking back from now, I have no regret on my life’s decisions and I’m proud of what I have achieved by today. And of course, I wouldn’t say no to a spaceship trip together with Elon Musk or Richard Branson. I guess, my life is still about pushing boundaries…. 

 

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