Robbin Schipper, Engineering Business Manager in the Region North Team, joined TenCate Geosynthetics at the beginning of this year. In this interview, he talks about his passion for combining technical knowhow with commercial goals. 

Robbin is a geotechnical engineer who started his job as Engineering Business Manager at TenCate Geosynthetics at the beginning of 2022. Together with his co-workers in the Region North team he concentrates on finding the best solutions for clients as well the environment. 

Interview with Robbin Schipper 

The best aspect of my job is that we offer customized, specifically designed solutions for our clients while optimizing resources and minimizing the environmental impact.

Robbin Schipper, Engineering Business Manager Region North

What are your responsibilities and major tasks as engineering business manager at TenCate Geosynthetics? 

Robbin Schipper: I work with the Region North team which is responsible for Scandinavia, Belgium & the Netherlands, the UK & Ireland and the Baltic countries. We deal with a variety of technical questions across many disciplines. This means that we are involved in all stages of a project. Our clients consist of engineering consultancies, contractors and government bodies.  

We give guidance on the application of geosynthetics and help our clients to consider the best solution. Of course, being a producer we also sell these products – so it is a mix of a technical and a commercial role. Our goal is to provide our clients with the best solution for their goal, make new clients return and build a long-term relationship. In cooperation with our distributors, we support our customers during the entire process, starting from the technical design or even pre-design until the solution is installed.

What do you like best about your job?

Robbin Schipper: The thing I like best about my job is that we offer solutions. We do not offer standard calculations for products. I like the mix of the technical and commercial aspect. The technical part is exciting: we offer problem-solving solutions instead of standard calculations. We can basically realize any design and deliver the most suitable solution for the customer. Creating a good technical design is very important for us, and we are always able to select the best product from a wide range of different products. Communicating with our clients and offering support on the construction site is very interesting.

Of course, the commercial aspect is also important, as our clients are always on a budget and need to consider the total cost of a project. Combining these technical skills with the best commercial approach is what drives me in my job. 

In which way did your professional background prepare you for your job at TenCate Geosynthetics? 

Robbin Schipper: I have a Bachelor´s degree in Civil Engineering and a Master´s degree in Geotechnical Engineering. I started my career in Dublin and later moved to London and Amsterdam where I worked as a geotechnical engineer. I have worked on a variety of projects, from infrastructure design to foundation designs for buildings to seismic designs for earthquakes.   

What is most exciting about working at TenCate Geosynthetics is that we produce such a wide range of high-quality geosynthetics, at the same time we can influence the quality of the solution these products are used for and we can design the solution. Moreover, we have the freedom to change a product and specifically engineer products to deliver a solution and add value for our clients. 

Which challenges are you and your team currently facing? 

Robbin Schipper: The environmental aspect of any project is becoming more and more challenging. The question is: How do we best deal with the scarcity of space and building materials and how can we minimize the impact we have on the environment? Our products support a more efficient use of materials and resources so our business concept already integrates optimizing the use of resources.

By the use of geosynthetics you can oftentimes reduce the amount of construction material that is required, or more efficiently use the material that is naturally there. The environmental impact of these solutions is typically lower than that of the traditional methods that tend to use materials like concrete and steel.  

All of this results in a more efficient use of materials and a lower environmental impact – this is embedded in the way we work. And this means that we always keep the big picture in mind and take the environmental impact into account in each and every single solution. 

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Robbin Schipper, Engineering Business Manager Region North