Ted van den Akker - Senior Project Engineer

"Horticulture is constantly changing and we as an automation company get plenty of opportunities to keep up with this."

Before joining Hoogendoorn, I worked for my father in central heating (he did horticulture and housing), then I ran a nursery with my mother (mini carnations). After we sold the company, I worked for a while at a chrysanthemum grower as assistant manager.

At some point, I saw an advertisement from Hoogendoorn asking for a Service Mechanic. The head office was then still in 's-Gravenzande (Franklinstraat) where I was hired in July 1996 by Jos van Calsteren HR and Paul Bentvelzen CS.

At that time, automation within Hoogendoorn (Henk Hoogendoorn) was delivering Vitacos, which had to be installed, commissioned and supported. I sometimes had to go to a Saco customer for extensions or breakdowns. At that time, we had our own installation team within Hoogendoorn, which we worked closely with. Shortly after I joined, the Economic came out and we started to work more on exports within Hoogendoorn.

What I like most about my job is the variety in my work. Large and small projects, from Economic to IIVO. Short lines of communication with Research & Development to improve our products. Thinking of new projects with "specials" and finally seeing them work.

Horticulture is constantly changing and we as an automation company (the heart of the growing environment) get plenty of opportunities to keep up with this. You learn every day. This makes the work challenging and therefore varied.

The organisational culture within Hoogendoorn is not too strictly regulated; you are given quite a lot of freedom to organise your work as you see fit. The 'we have to do it together' feeling is also strongly present.

Contact with colleagues is good.  You regularly sit together at customers' premises, sometimes even abroad. I have sometimes gone golfing with colleagues, I have been to colleagues' parties, as well as funerals.

At the end of 2019, I wasn’t working for a while, due to illness. I felt very supported by several colleagues then.

I am most proud of the IIVO launch. After all, that has been something we have all been working on together for some time, where I had contributed a lot myself as well.