What are your most important tasks?
Product Development and product design of future products. Also drawing out all available options, maintenance of current machines and product optimisation are part of my job. As an example: when a mechanic needs to drill the same hole repeatedly, I change the design, thus saving time and money. We’re here to streamline processes by adjusting designs. Our ultimate goal is to make the route from drawing board to finished product as effective as possible. We’re with 4 colleagues on our department and are happy with a constant workflow. How did you end up at Rioned? I started working for Rioned in February of 2012. I had several meetings prior (in 2011), but that didn’t result in a job offer at that time. Later Rioned asked for another interview and that resulted in my current job. I love what I’m doing and am ready to grow from here. What education did you follow? In 2003 I graduated from MTS Mechanical engineering. After that I studied Human Kinetic Technologies , a medical/technical college. I’ve worked at Ligtvoet, a company in medical aids/devices - but also in R&D at ‘Van Geel Legrand’ in Boxtel. After that I worked on firetrucks at Gemco and at ASML.And now I’m happy at Rioned!
How would you describe Rioned?
At Rioned lots is still possible. There’s freedom to explore. Our management wants us to constantly develop, innovate and grow. That contributes to a flexible work environment, something I highly value.
Do you like your job?
I do! I’ve earned the trust to handle many cases at my own discretion.
Is there a specific situation you’ll always remember?
I haven’t worked at Rioned for a really long time. Nothing comes to mind at this moment.
What are you working on right now?
Unfortunately I can’t disclose too much yet but it has to do with certain parts of our machines. By consistently improving our machines parts we are able to compete at the highest possible level. There’s a lot of administrative work involved as well. Usually our clients don’t see the difference, but they might notice it in our machines durability and reduced maintenance.
What project is your favorite?
We worked hard on the ‘little brother’ of the HWS, the CityJet WWS. Our challenge was to be able to clean with a water temperature of 55 degrees C. This temperature is necessary to melt congealed fat; a major problem in the sewer cleaning industry. It was a tough problem to crack, but eventually it worked out. The clients that use the WWS are very pleased with their units.
What the part you don’t like about your job?
The administrative part of it. If it were up to me I would be around in the workshop the entire day. Love that!
Rioned ‘walking breaks’
A special trait of Michiel and his direct colleagues is that they spend all breaks walking, which sums up to an hour a day. Which blithely brings them through their workday.
Four adjectives that describe Rioned?
Informal, flexible, hectic and audacious.
Which colleague would you like to ‘tag’?
How funny that Lennard thought I was still into cars, that was a while back. But if there’s anyone within Rioned with a fascination for cars it’s Frank van Uden. He always has these unique cars wit him, or he comes to work on a hand make bike. We’re already curious to learn more about Frank, how about you?
May we ask about your relatives?
Sure! I’m married and have a 2,5 year old son. What makes you tick, besides your family? I love whitewater kayaking. At least once a year I am travelling to the Alps or to Slovenia for some serious kayaking. Slovenia really has the most beautiful nature that I have ever seen.
How long have you been kayaking?
For 25 years already! Since I had a cycling accident I stopped competitive kayak racing and am now only canoeing recreationally. When I was still kayaking competitively, we used to practice in the wild water track in the Efteling! Our kayaks are small and have a spray deck, it prevents water coming in when we’re kayaking in rough rivers.
Do you kayak alone or with your family?
Recently, we bought a family canoe so we can explore the rivers with the entire family and to take it easy. With my kayak we often go out with a group of friends to practice ‘freestyle’ or ‘creeking, both are extreme sports varieties. ’
What is the coolest trip you ever did?
One of the kayaking trips that I’ll always remember was riding the 'Hawai-sur-Rhone'; an artificial wave in central Lyon. Really as big as in Hawaii! See it to believe it! This video gives an impression. Disclosure; this is not Michiel ;-)
When was the last time you went kayaking?
We just returned from a trip to the French Alps (Bourg Saint Maurice). We definitely got a lot of fresh air this year, as it was still snowing. And pssst, don’t tell anyone, but in February 2015 we made an illegal night trip on the Binnendieze in ‘s-Hertogenbosch the Netherlands. The Binnendieze is off limits for boats and kayaks. We nearly had to go for an involuntary swim too, as we were in a 3 person kayak with the 4 of us. It was quite fun though, the Binnendieze is stunning! If you ever visit Den Bosch, put the Binnendieze boating trip on your to-do list. During the first weekend of February I also joined the "Freeze your butt off" weekend in the Biesbosch where we also went camping with our tent. All events were perfectly fine although in the Alps in May it was a bit chilly.
Are you active in a kayak club?
Yes, I am a member of Kanovereniging Oisterwijk. A small but strong club of 35 people.
Is there something you’d like to add?
Our son Timo of almost 3 years old loves to go out canoeing. As soon as the canoe is on the roof of our car, he takes his paddle and wants to join us. He caught the canoe virus early, I guess it’s highly contagious. He’s the primary reason we bought the bigger Canadian canoe. I hope he doesn’t try all the dangerous stunts his father did. Oh well, what can I say; “boys will be boys!”
Which trip are you planning with the Canadian canoe?
With the Canadian canoe we usually say close to home: we canoe the Biesbosch, a breathtaking National Park - an oasis of tranquility. The river doesn’t flow much, but it’s lovely out there: you can spot beavers, kingfishers and sea eagles! You don’t always have to travel far to enjoy nature.
Is canoeing a dangerous sport?
If you don’t know what you are doing, it is! We exercise on flatwater weekly and practice the Eskimo roll in a swimming pool in wintertime (to come back up when you've gone under). We also learn rescue techniques, first aid treatment and first aid for hypothermia. We always canoe with life jacket and helmets: Safety always comes first!
Advice of Michiel!
When you go canoeing or kayaking during your vacation, keep all circumstances into account: the amount of water in the river, weather and gear conditions. Only go out with a local instructor if you’re still learning. Pay attention to signs and stay together. Kayaking can be dangerous if you don’t know what you're doing.