JEFFRY’S CHALLENGE: Finding the perfect work-life balance

The work involved with data standardisation at Waternet is a daunting task, presenting quite a challenge for Jeffry Withagen and his family life. ICT Group understands the importance of ensuring the optimum performance of employees and is always happy to provide personalised advice to each employee to help them find the perfect balance between their work and personal life.

“ICT Group came up with this solution together with their client. Thanks to their full cooperation, I can perform well both when working from home and at the office.”

Jeffry has currently been contracted by ICT Group to Amsterdam’s water company Waternet as a Senior Control Designer, where he is jointly responsible for programming, advising and organising new standards. “We develop technical standards for four different water treatment plants and pumping stations with associated field installations. While working on this project, I became the project leader’s right hand. In this position it is my duty to provide substantial motivation as to whether a certain task, idea or standard should be implemented.”

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Twan’s Challenge: I’m aiming to become a software architect and work with even more complex matter

It’s a piece of cake to order a new pair of shoes or a book online. Nobody is surprised when the package is delivered next day. What it took to get that done is a fine piece of clever engineering and process automation. Twan works on a project for an international manufacturer of logistical solutions in warehousing and for luggage handling.

“I find a challenge in any new project, the more complex the better.”

Process automation

“The project I am working on right now is an advanced shuttle system for warehouses. Shuttles, elevators and robots are managed from a User Interface to pick up the pair of shoes you just ordered from the webshop. Keep in mind a warehouse the size of several football fields in which these shuttles with little baskets on top are moving around on sort of a light rail track. No need for anyone to climb in the storage racks anymore and no forklifts riding around, resulting in significant time gain and virtually no errors. Subsequently, the pair of shoes you’ve ordered is packed, labelled and ready for distribution.”

HASSAN’S CHALLENGE: If everybody says it can’t be done, I’ll keep looking to prove the opposite

Hassan has a passion for cars. At ICT Group, he combines this passion with another one: embedded software design.

The automotive industry uses embedded software on a large scale to make cars smarter. “The challenge for embedded software designers,” says Hassan “is to create the best possible output with very little space, memory and processing power at your disposal. Everything needs to function in the best possible way and there are hundreds of plausible solutions. Only one is the best, and I really enjoy these kind of puzzles.”

“It makes me proud to contribute to the daily lives of people.”

“When I started my job at ICT Group in 2017, it meant I had to move from my native country Egypt to the Netherlands. It took me some time to feel at home but I’ve really come to appreciate most of the Dutch peculiarities. One example is the directness for which the Dutch are famous. At the beginning, I didn’t get it, it felt so utterly rude. But after some time, I started to notice the positive effects of being straightforward. No misinterpretations, people know where they stand and what is expected, it makes everything much more efficient. I’m a hard worker and quite ambitious, the Dutch directness actually fits me like a glove. Now my family in Egypt has to get used to my bluntness,” Hassan says with a big smile.

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Diederik’s Challenge: Put my passion for technology to good use for as many clients as possible

Two years ago, Diederik came to ICT Deventer for his internship followed by a research thesis. He studied electrical engineering which was mostly geared towards knowledge of hardware systems. At ICT, however, the conversations he had with colleagues and his OM (operational manager) challenged him to take up embedded software design, something he also developed an interest for during his education. “I was mostly interested in LabVIEW, a programming language that enables engineers to write code. ICT offered me the opportunity to become involved in a related project. I enrolled in a few courses and earned some certificates, I think it is safe to say I’m a LabVIEW expert now.”

“My challenge is to make reliable software applications for our clients.”


“In school, I learned a lot but I hardly knew anything. I learned very little about software programming, everything I know I learned at ICT. At the beginning, the learning curve is steep, not only professionally. The first thing I had to work on were my networking skills within ICT Group. The more people you know, the more you’ll hear about interesting projects that are about to start and could use an extra pair of hands. With this information, I would see my OM and she would get me in. In my experience, ICT offered me plenty of space to explore what I enjoy doing professionally and to become involved with interesting projects.”

Danny’s Challenge: Exceed clients’ expectations with our self-managing team

Six years ago, Danny joined ICT Group after graduation and is still happy with that decision. For some time now, he and a couple of colleagues are being assigned as a permanent formation to big industrial projects.

“Our team is interdisciplinary and self-managing which makes us agile and flexible. We usually manage a complete project, from the initial conversation with the client to the design and implementation of the software applications, and finally the test phase and commissioning. Clients are often a bit sceptical when we arrive without a project manager. But soon enough we’ll exceed their expectations and they’re convinced. Our team runs like clockwork.”

“I will take on any challenge, stagnation simply is not an option.”


Tissue technology

The team is currently working for an international manufacturer of industrial solutions for pharmaceutical and nuclear medicine. The assignment at hand is a software application for an incubator that makes bone and skin tissue. “It’s not hard to imagine how precisely the production of tissue must be executed, a minor deviation in temperature or humidity can influence the quality of the product. We have designed an application that collects, saves and interprets all relevant data for the production process. As a result, the manufacturer of these machines can secure and guarantee the quality of the production process in which tissue is made to cure patients.”

Eric’s challenge: learning by doing with startups

As a Business Development Manager Energy at ICT Group, Eric van der Laan is no stranger to the corporate world: energy companies, grid operators, and major industrial companies alike are considering our energyNXT platform in order to monitor – and where possible optimise – their energy consumption. “I deal with all kinds of complex technical and organisational issues that often take quite some time to resolve.”

““Working with startups gives me energy. That’s because iwell sees the potential and shares our enthusiasm.”


Adding intelligence to batteries

Eric continues: “That makes it all the more fun when you run into startups willing to work with us. One of these startups is iwell, a company that supplies batteries to housing associations and homeowners’ associations. The business case focuses on using one of these batteries to reduce their peak load and operate with a smaller grid connection. The investment usually pays off in six to seven years in the case of straightforward implementation.

But what if the battery is equipped with additional intelligence? What if you could closely match the supply and demand of energy and use a fully automated process to adjust energy purchases to fill the battery during off-peak times at reduced rates and reuse that energy at peak times when the price is high? What if apartment buildings installed solar panels on the roof, thereby adding a third source of energy? How much more could be saved in terms of carbon emissions and costs? “This is exactly what we configure and make transparent with our energyNXT platform.”

Case study

Did you know that there’s a case study available? Click here  to read the case!

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Inigo De La Fuente contributes to shaping the future at ICT Group

‘Millions of cars will be equipped with our software’
In February of this year Inigo De La Fuente started working for the Dutch ICT Group as a Senior Software Designer. Now he works on designing and developing software for the online connectivity unit of a well-known car brand. What Inigo really likes about his job is that he can work on the latest high-tech projects with a team of highly skilled professionals that reinforce each other. In this way he directly contributes to shaping the future of driving.  “Millions of cars will be equipped with software that we develop.”

Lots of possibilities for personal growth
“Also, ICT Group offers a large variety of trainings and courses. As ICT Group’s services directly concern providing professionals they care greatly for the personal and professional growth of their employees. They really guide you on your personal career and show you all the different paths that you can take. At the moment I am taking Scrum and team cooperation courses so that in the end I can become a Scrum Master. Another positive aspect of working for ICT Group is that if I would feel demotivated I could easily switch to another project/sector with different tools. ICT’s operational managers would help me to keep my motivation without having to leave the company or the people I work with.”

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The human touch in engineering

Meet René van der Pluijm. René van der Pluijm became a member of the ICT Group family after the takeover of his former employer Nozhup, an industrial system engineering company. Nowadays, René is a hands-on project leader for large scale infra projects, a principal consultant for several clients and a manager for the teams he works with.

“At ICT Group we see change as an opportunity.”

Challenge yourself
So René enjoys a good challenge, getting a project on its feet and have it run like clockwork. “I look back on many interesting projects over the course of my career, each one challenging in a different way. The projects, the new sea lock at Ijmuiden, the completion of the A4 highway between Delft and Schiedam, and the wind energy supply chain issue on the German part of the North Sea, are all ambitious and challenging projects. Nothing is impossible. You are encouraged to think ahead and to grow intellectually and practically. Just challenge yourself.”

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PIETER’S CHALLENGE: creating a safe workplace

The Port of Antwerp is Belgium’s largest sea port and the second largest port in Europe, surpassed only by Rotterdam. The port’s 86 terminals are responsible for 223,655,312 tonnes of maritime goods transport. This means 10,450,900 TEU per year and an average of 45 crane movements every hour. The port relies mainly on manual processes, but ICT Group has taken on the challenge of automating some of this work.

The developments in the domain of IT make this work extremely challenging. “This might include anything from a mobile app to desktop applications, configuring servers, different types of communication protocols, PLCs, web sockets, and so forth. You’re also dealing with a huge range of peripheral equipment that needs to communicate with each other. What really appeals to me is combining this huge range of technical aspects with the human factor.”

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Elke’s challenge: Investigate the possibilities of flexible energy consumption

Water Authority Amstel, Gooi en Vecht (AGV) and Waternet wanted to know whether the Horstermeer waste water treatment installation could reduce its energy costs by a different way of dealing with its energy supply and demand. In our case study,  you could read more about AGV’s / Waternet’s challenge. However, our born techie Elke Klaassen was challenged as well. Therefore, she has written a blog.

Elke, ICT Group’s technical consultant, describes the challenges of her project: “My assignment was to determine the value of flexibility in the supply and demand of energy. My first step was to visit the water treatment plant to talk to the process operators and investigate all processes and assets. What are their energy consumption levels? My talks with the operators allowed me to determine whether there were any possibilities of flexible energy consumption at all, and to identify any possible quick wins.”

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