Jan-Willem Boots - Traffic Academy Tilburg - 1983 (after that, Physical Planning - Utrecht University)

Managing Director with Kragten

What does that entail?At the moment I work as managing director with Kragten, a consultancy, engineering and design firm for public spaces. This year (2014), Kragten celebrates its 60th anniversary, and I have been in their service for half that time. In 1984 I started as the first traffic engineer of this firm which at that time was primarily involved with civil engineering, landscaping and geodesy. In addition to traffic and transport, more spatial disciplines have been added to our range of activities, such as physical planning and urban development, resulting in a broad spectrum of spatial and engineering disciplines now being available within our firm. Managing an organisation like ours and addressing the challenges that we are faced with, together with the management team, is a wonderful task to me. It was a logical step for me to seize the opportunity of moving into a director role after my role as a consultant.            
 
What keeps you alert in this job?A former Kragten director often used to say, ‘as long as the fingers on your hand are not equal in length, you will have to continue learning’. This shows that this director grasped the significance of ‘lifelong learning’, even before the term had been coined. I underline this idea, though with a contemporary twist. ‘Learning’ has currently become more like ‘informing’, and there are several ways in which this is done. With the internet, the opportunities for this have seen tremendous growth. But what’s also conducive, is simply reading a newspaper or two.
 
Advice to students:

Choose a study programme based on ‘feeling and passion’, around which the need will arise for exploring this field in more detail. Moreover, be aware that a study programme is ‘only’ the basis by means of which you will enter your professional career, and that this basis may help you, in all sorts of ways, in any future career moves. After your first study programme, hold on to your ‘curiosity’ for developments in the area of people, society and profession. 

 
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