In his spare time, he likes brewing craft beers in a small tank. But at Gpi he’s responsible for much larger tanks. Chiel Tournier is 25 years old and has been project manager at Gpi Tanks since 2020. His job is to ensure that tank construction projects run as smoothly as possible. The job comes with a great deal of responsibility, diversity and freedom.
Once an order has been confirmed, Chiel takes charge of the project. “I plan appointments and consult with colleagues,” he explains. “After that, I’ll fill in the rest of the team. During the project, I’m the first point of contact, not just at Gpi but for the client too. I keep constant track of the planning, the quality and the budget. I’m the one responsible for coordinating the whole project. To ensure that it runs smoothly, all processes should be flawless in their execution.”
Chiel was always interested in technology, he just didn’t know how to put this to a specific use. He chose to study engineering management which gave him a wide range of career options. “During my studies, I discovered it wasn’t design that interested me so much, but engineering processes. The course taught me a lot and I know something about all the different departments within an engineering company. During my last internship I became intrigued by the whole concept of the manufacturing industry and the job at Gpi held an enormous appeal. I had a good feeling after my initial interview. I liked the idea of working for an ambitious company like Gpi which has vision and is not averse to taking on challenges.”
Being a project manager is a demanding job which doesn’t suit everyone. “The job carries a great deal of responsibility,” he insists. “At all times, you have to keep your eye on the ball and make sure all the major stakeholders are kept abreast of developments. Things can get quite complicated at times. It is important to keep a balanced mindset otherwise you end up taking the work home with you. I stay positive, don’t allow myself to get flustered and do my best to set the right priorities.”
What does a working day look like?
“Every day is different. I draw up an action plan at the start of each day. I discuss the project’s progress with work colleagues and check with the factory that the production is on schedule. Sometimes, if a client wants something solving, I’ll pay them a visit. I’m in touch with customers often; I keep them informed of developments and make sure deadlines are met. I like to keep customers up to speed, so I’m available whenever I’m needed.”
Chiel’s work gives him great satisfaction. “It’s all hands-on experience; I learn a great deal. My job gives me a lot of responsibility, freedom and diversity. Within certain limits of course, I have to ensure things go smoothly. But within those constraints, there’s a lot of room for manoeuvre. I’m in constant touch with the various disciplines and individuals involved. This always presents a challenge because no colleague or client is ever the same.”