Meet Marijn Verachten: work planner at Willems, proud dad of Leon and, deep inside, a man of competition. Even though his diabetes is always lurking around the corner. Here’s his story.
What is your current position? “I’m a work planner at Willems, the link between drawing office and workshop, so to speak. The data coming from the drawing office are further processed in our department and we make controls for the machinery, with a view to the production of profiles. Of course, we also follow up the planning and are in close contact with the work preparation in Arendonk.”
How did you end up at Willems? “After my education in ‘Mechanical Techniques’, I was keen to start working right away. As an 18-year-old Willems gave
me that opportunity. My father worked here and I wanted to find out whether I had made the right choice: go to work or continue to study. And that’s how I’ve been on board since 2006. I started in the machinery fleet and 3 years ago I switched to work preparation. This was possible after several tests at an external company.”
How do you experience the collaboration with your colleagues? “I learned how to manage the machinery and related programs from an experienced
colleague. As a work planner you work intensively together with different teams. That’s nice, but sometimes also a challenge because decisions have an impact on subsequent tasks. I want to keep everyone happy and get as few complaints as possible.”
What do you like most about your job? “The contact with the departments that come before us (drawing office) and after us (machinery fleet, assemblers) really fascinates me. You go over and listen, take a look at the machinery every now and then ... and you hear a lot. You hear about the things that go wrong and try to anticipate on it the next time. As a work planner I have an overview of the entire process. That’s really fascinating.”
What are your ambitions for the future? “I want to continue to grow in what I’m doing now. There’s always something to learn. After 10 years in the machinery fleet, I am happy that I applied for the job of work planner. The machinery still fascinates me and I’m lucky to still be near it.
Who is Marijn as a person? “To start with the most important thing: since 2.5 years I am the proud dad of Leon. He has changed my outlook on things.
I used to be pretty impulsive and super sporty. All that has calmed down a bit. My family and my child are what matter to me most. I live 2 km from work, I get home on time and I can be an active part of Leon’s upbringing. That makes me happy.”
What do you do in your spare time? “If the planning allows it, I work out: mainly cycling, running, swimming and playing tennis. I have also done many triathlons in Belgium and I love competitive sports. Giving it your all during a match, that’s so special.”
Sounds like a passion? “Triathlon certainly was for long time. When our son was born, I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, though. My body doesn’t
produce insulin anymore, so I keep my sugar at the right level with injections. It requires constant monitoring. That’s quite tricky when you love sports, lots of sports, so I’ve had to take things easier for a while. I don’t follow a special diet, but I have to plan my eating and sports moments very well and bring enough sports drinks and energy bars. I’ve learned to live with diabetes, but I can’t work out as ‘smoothly’ as I used to. I did start racing again and in the summer I train about 10 hours a week.”
Do you see a link between your work and your sport? “Success starts with good preparation, both in my job and when I exercise. My sugar can be easily disturbed. I pay attention to the details and double-check every step. You won’t see me going to work or to a game without thinking twice. I still have the
enormous drive to achieve a feasible top performance in sports within 5 years, like running 10 km in less than 40 minutes. But first I look forward to another great period in my life: the birth of our daughter in September.”
Do you want to say anything else about diabetes? “I am proud to share my story here. My closest colleagues know I have diabetes. Those who didn’t know it yet, well, they will now. There’s an emergency insulin syringe in the fridge. I hope it never happens, but if you see me fall down suddenly and for no
apparent reason, you know what to do.”