“The world behind Schiphol's doors is much bigger than I ever imagined.”

Publication date: 20 April 2023 I Reading time: Minute

It was pure coincidence that Erwin Siemensma (1985) came to work for Schiphol. But he has not regretted it for one moment. He began as Supervisor in 2012 and has since advanced to Senior Project Manager. "I've gained experience in all aspects of project management, from implementation to supervision."

"After graduating in 2008 I did a bit of everything, from tour guide to ski instructor. I came back to the Netherlands in 2010, in the middle of the crisis. There weren't exactly lots of jobs up for grabs, but I did need to find work of course. Eventually I found a job at a company commissioned by Schiphol. I started off doing administrative work but after a few months I was able to collaborate on a nice project: the diversion of the N201. That's how I came into contact with Schiphol employees. We got on so well that they asked me to be Supervisor at Schiphol after the completion of the project. This is how I initially entered Schiphol as an external employee and took my first steps within project management."

Huge organisation

"The world behind Schiphol's doors is much bigger than I ever imagined. There is so much happening and so many people working there. Look at my own department, Schiphol Projects, for example. There, Project Managers, Planners, Risk Managers and Project Support staff work together on all kinds of projects - from baggage basement to terminal building. And not just that. In this position, I work together with colleagues from all over the organisation. That makes the work varied and challenging."

“It makes me proud to see how people from many different disciplines work together on projects.”

Dual taxiway

"My work consists of everything it takes to execute a project. From monitoring the budget and planning to design and stakeholder management. What I love about my job is that we actually make things. For example, I recently delivered the first phase of a very large project. This involved making a dual taxiway around Schiphol. So now planes can pass each other without having to stop. To make this possible, a completely new viaduct was built, buildings were demolished, and cables and pipes were rerouted. A huge project of several hundred million. It makes me proud to see how people from many different disciplines work together on such a project to achieve the best result."

Sustainable projects

"As Project Manager, I have a lot of personal responsibility and freedom to use my own initiative. Sustainability, for instance, is very important to me. I work hard for that in the projects I work on, by giving materials a second life for example. We are also investigating whether we can use electric alternatives for large equipment, such as excavators. In this way, we are making projects and maintenance ever more sustainable."

“The work remains interesting, even if you have been Project Manager for years.”

Plenty of action

"As a Project Manager, you have an active job with lots of challenges. That is precisely what appeals to me about this work. It is not only planning, but also executing. During execution, it's possible that a whole new piece of infrastructure has to be built in three weeks' time. Those kinds of peak times keep the work challenging. On top of that, we have many opportunities to keep developing ourselves at Schiphol. If you are open to it, a lot is possible. This keeps the work interesting, even if you have been a Project Manager for years."