'Achieving Schiphol's ambitions. Going the extra mile is what my team and I strive for every day.'

Publication date: 24 April 2024 I Reading time: Minute
During his studies in cognitive psychology, Ben learned a lot about people, their behaviour and how they react to their environment. After obtaining his diploma, he ended up in the security sector and worked, among other things, as a consultant. This allowed him to gain a wide range of experience. Yet 7 years ago he was ready for a job with more ownership over processes, in a large and complex organisation with many stakeholders and where different processes come together. That's where Ben feels at home. He made the move and started at Royal Schiphol Group as Compliance & Permits Manager. As a results-driven people person, the position as manager suits him perfectly. 'It all happens here at Schiphol; you can really make a difference.' 

A safe Schiphol 
'At the HSE (Health, Safety and Environment) Risk & Compliance department, we take steps every day to make Schiphol a safe, healthy and environmentally friendly place. It is important to find a good balance between safety, efficient operations and compliance with laws and regulations. In our department, we arrange the permits required to carry out work. Because this involves dozens of different permits, we are working on an integrated process in which this all comes together. I chose Schiphol 7 years ago because there is so much happening in the field of safety. That includes fire safety, aviation safety, air quality and occupational safety. This makes the workplace very versatile for everyone in the department. Moreover, at HSE Risk & Compliance we never carry out our work alone, but always in collaboration with another department. For example, we work closely with the Airport Operations & Aviation Partnerships, Asset Management, Projects and Schiphol Commercial departments. This is sometimes complicated when it comes to stakeholder management and different interests. But it makes my work much more interesting, because you can achieve goals together.' 

'My position is dynamic, because my team always collaborates with other departments. This brings you into contact with the entire organisation.'

Continuous improvement 
'Schiphol Group is an organisation that always wants to develop and improve, including in the areas of safety, health and the environment. You never stand still, and things are always changing. That gives me a lot of energy. As a department we have, as we call it, a 'red flag function'. If we notice that things are not going well somewhere, we take action. We offer support and advice to other departments. Consider, for example, the substance PFAS that is in our soil. The fire brigade used to use fire-fighting foam that contained PFAS, and this ended up in the ground. When it became clear that this substance is harmful to the environment and health, Schiphol took measures immediately. This fire-fighting foam is now no longer used. When we carry out work in the ground, we ensure that we follow the laws and regulations closely. In addition to complying with legislation and regulations, we now want to clean the soil ourselves instead of transporting it to a recognised processor.' 

'In addition, pilot projects are underway in various safety areas. For example, there are posts on certain moving walkways. Many people don't know what these are for, but they do have an important function. These posts contain an AI learning system that analyses and recognises trips and falls. It feeds itself new information every day. As a result, escalators or moving walkways can be stopped in order to prevent someone from falling. These types of projects all have an impact on safety at Schiphol.' 

Work with impact 
'When I started at Schiphol Group, the focus was on safety, including runway incursion and bird strikes. In recent years, the emphasis has increasingly shifted to health and the environment, which is a good development. In addition to taking good care of employees and travellers, Schiphol has big ambitions to take better care of the living environment, step by step. Together with the team, we are aware of the impact our work has. If things go wrong, we are talking about human lives and the consequences can be serious. The best helmsmen are not on shore, but in the company. Everyone who works in our department has a real passion for our field. We also really enjoy each other as a team. We take our work very seriously, but there is also room for personal stories and humour.'

'Every day we make Schiphol a bit safer, more environmentally friendly and healthier together.' 

A future-proof living environment 
'Achieving Schiphol's ambitions. That's what I strive for with my team. In addition to complying with laws and regulations, Schiphol Group goes the extra mile. Technological developments have meant that more and more is possible, especially in recent years. In this field there is never just one answer to a question. By talking to various stakeholders, you can reach a well-considered decision together. I am a results-driven person myself. Enabling the team to achieve results is why I enjoy going to work every day.'