After graduating from the University of Twente with a Master’s degree in Chemical Engineering I joined Croda’s graduate trainee program at the Gouda site. I was interested in the program because it offered not only technical, but also commercial projects, and I wanted to experience both. I started with a commercial assignment for the Channel Director – analysing distributor networks and defining sales opportunities for one of Croda’s most important markets. I enjoyed getting to know the business, products and the commercial team, plus my fellow graduate trainees in the UK during training sessions.
For my second assignment I worked for the Senior Process Engineer at Croda’s manufacturing site in Emmerich, Germany. Working with the engineering teams in Gouda and Emmerich gave me experience on the manufacturing plants and I learnt about the processes and the technology that drives Croda’s innovations – this was a great experience for me.
The graduate trainee program showed me that I was inclined towards a career on the commercial side, where I had the opportunity to work in sales for the Coatings & Polymers group. I was responsible for growing sales in coatings, adhesives & polymers markets in the UK and Scandinavia. Furthermore, I was the Key Account Manager of a leading coatings manufacturer in Europe. I learned a lot visiting customers throughout Europe and was grateful to be part of a very tight knit and experienced team.
I had always wanted to experience working in the US and in 2010 Croda gave me the chance to move to the US for a Business Development Specialist role. It was an exciting opportunity and shows how Croda is willing to develop their people by considering their ambitions. I became responsible for new business development and marketing for Coatings & Polymers in the US. This meant exploring customer needs, examining the market and focusing efforts of R&D and sales. It also included leading successful product launches by developing value propositions, sales tools, managing media and trade shows. As part of the Business Team, I was challenged to develop long term strategic plans and provide input to the global steering committee.
As the first class of the 2020 Network, we were very excited to work on a global strategic project, learn more about ourselves and interact with people in departments we usually don’t work with. A great networking and learning experience!
The opportunity came up to manage the Industrial Chemicals sales team; I moved away from Coatings & Polymers and was promoted to National Sales Manager for Industrial Chemicals. I manage the sales team on a day-to-day basis, drive sales and profit growth and bring focus to key markets, such as electronics, advanced ceramics and phase change materials. In 2015 I was able to expand my responsibilities and became the commercial lead globally for our Advanced Materials focus area. I consider it a privilege to manage a very dynamic and committed team and work with very talented people globally.