In the hightech industry, project management is key. That’s why technology developer and producer Demcon, headquartered in the Netherlands, sets great store in providing project management at a high level, executed by highly skilled project managers from very diverse backgrounds. As one result of the company’s commitment to drawing upon the specific expertise and interests of its employees, women at Demcon make major contributions in a wide range of disciplines, including key engineering positions, production/assembly, QA/RA and project management.
One year ago, Demcon established an office in Singapore, as a gateway to Southeast Asia for business development and to provide engineering services to the semiconductor and other hightech industries. Demcon (700 employees) develops, produces and supplies technology and innovative products, from locations in the Netherlands, Germany and Singapore. The company was born out of the founders’ passion for combining creativity and technical skills aimed at solving complex issues of a technological and social nature. Demcon has a strong foothold in the semiconductor industry and has been serving world-leading customers in the front-end industry for over 20 years. Medical systems, including respiratory modules, are another long-time focus area. Recently, Demcon managed to develop and realise – within one month – a complete ventilation system for treatment of COVID-19 patients in the ICU.
Ivana Sersic Vollenbroek
Women Engineers in the Company – Broad Education
Ivana Sersic Vollenbroek is one of the female project managers at Demcon. Sersic studied physics and astronomy at the University College in Utrecht, which provided her with a broad academic education, then obtained her PhD in nanophotonics in Amsterdam. Before a postdoc in nano-opto-electro-mechanical sensor development, she worked for five years at Shell as a reservoir engineer, specialising in metering strategies and sensing technologies for oil recovery. She joined Demcon in early 2019 because of its challenging engineering projects and inspiring working environment. She became a project manager in hightech systems and was also offered the opportunity to start business development in photonics.
Currently, her main project is the multi-disciplinary development of a qualification tool for an advanced position module of a lithography system. “As a project manager, I need to have at least a basic understanding of all disciplines, including the ones I have no background in.” At Demcon, Sersic can pursue her various interests and further develop a broad skill set. As a bonus, Demcon allows its employees, men and women alike, to work four days a week. “Naturally, my drive is to work more than the nominal hours over these four days, but this arrangement suits my family well, now that our second child is on its way.”
Ivana Sersic Vollenbroek: “It’s my job to translate the customer’s requirements into Demcon’s deliverables, and to guide my team in adopting the customer’s specific way of working while preserving their own creativity.”
Her colleague, Josée Kleibeuker, studied chemistry, did a PhD in physics and spent several years as a postdoc at the University of Cambridge, UK, during which she had two babies. In Cambridge, she oversaw the acquisition, design and installation of a €1 million plus, state-of-the-art vacuum system for growing and analysing new materials. “Definition of specs, alignment of internal stakeholders and communication with the supplier. Yes, this was kind of anticipating a future job as a project manager.” Returning to the Netherlands, she was hired by Demcon. “A company where I could work with a dedicated team to achieve a common goal. I appreciate the open culture and the bright people, driven by their passion for technology and sense of responsibility.”
From Concept to Deliverable
When Kleibeuker joined Demcon in 2016, she was the only female project manager; now the team is more balanced. Praising Demcon as a flexible employer, which facilitates young fathers and mothers equally in taking up their family responsibilities, she is now ready to act as an informal role model. In hightech systems, she aspires to manage large, challenging projects from concept to deliverable.
“As a project manager, I facilitate the collaboration between our engineers and their counterparts at the customer.” said Kleibeuker.
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