There’s about 90 kilometres between Louvain and Lommel, which was never an issue for site manager Gilles. Au contraire! It was in his home town Louvain that he knocked on our door for a job shadowing internship, followed by a real internship and eventually a fulltime job at edibo. What challenges bring him the most fun and fulfilment? What does he hope the future will bring?
“Not ready for site management after school”
About 7 years ago, Gilles was looking for an internship following his training in civil engineering. “I saw that edibo was working on the construction of climbing gym ‘De Stordeur’ in Louvain, my home town. I was allowed to follow those construction works for 8 weeks.”
“The year after that, I was back at their site shed. This time to apply for a three-month internship as an apprentice site manager. It was the first time I was allowed to prove myself in the field. I co-monitored the construction of a Porsche showroom in the Walloon Mont-Saint-Guibert.”
“Those two experiences kept me longing for more so I applied at edibo not too long after. This time, for a very first real job. I got the opportunity to prove myself in the role of assistant project leader. I supported the site manager and project leader by handling tenders, sending out purchase orders, general administration…”
“It’s moments like those as a school leaver that you quickly realise you’re not ready to be a site manager. Edibo gave me the chance to learn and grow at my own pace. Not just from site managers and project leaders, but higher-up as well. You learn from colleagues at every level, regardless of their function title.”
“I enjoy the freedom and involvement”
Today, Gilles is a site manager, one with the distinct ambition to become project leader.
“Everything in its time, of course. I still learn every day on site. The large advantage at edibo is that as a site manager, you are entirely involved in the different challenges that occur on site. You form a close partnership with the project leader and you get the liberty to find specific solutions but also to offer them yourself. In the field of technical details, logistics, planning, you name it. But also when it comes to communication with the client and the architect. You don’t get that opportunity just anywhere.”
“No regular projects”
Even during his internship, it was clear to Gilles what we stand for at edibo. “Both my internships were pretty complicated constructions with specific detailing. It’s those complex challenges that attracted me, such as new constructions and renovation projects.”
What projects have made a lasting impression on Gilles? “Most definitely my first project as a site manager: Hoveno. A cooled hall of 10.000 m² in Sint-Katelijne-Waver with insulated inner walls and special gates. The SME-park Jaurdinia in Mont-Saint-Guibert was also a very nice and challenging one.”
“Renovation-wise, the car showroom and dealership Valckenier in Aalst is one that stuck. We demolished the existing façade and in-house apartments. The 50-year-old support structure of the roof – loaded with rooflights – had to be replaced as well. We had to fit the building with a special chimney construction in order to keep it upright.”
“Ready to defend the edibo honour”
How did Gilles experience his first years as a constructive challenger? “As a site manager, you don’t go into the office that much. I try to go down to Lommel once a week. This doesn’t affect the group atmosphere at all, though. I would even go as far as to say that the site and project leaders are a real group of friends. We regularly meet up outside of working hours, like dinner or a night of go-karting.”
“On Fridays, we always discuss the past workweek with a beer. The new additions to the team will definitely endorse it: you get catapulted into a nice team from the get-go.”
“There are also a lot of edibo-initiatives I look forward to. We had a large family gathering recently, to celebrate 40 years of edibo and 10 years of edibosud, which was a very fun afternoon and evening. We also participate in the Chambers Trophy every year, where we usually compete for a place on the podium. I am ready to defend the edibo honour this year (laughs).”
From the mud into the snow
Where can we find Gilles once the site shed lights are out and the mud shoes come off? “I have played football for 15 years but those shoes have been sitting there for almost two years now. My biggest hobby and passion is still skiing. Every year for about 3 to 4 weeks, you can find me in the snow, half of that time as ski instructor. Also thanks to my parents, who used to be ski instructors as well. I have been on the slats since I was 2 or 3 years old and I hope to be doing that for a really long time.”
Site manager with ambition? Welcome at edibo!
Are you someone like Gilles, who knows exactly what to look for in a job as a site manager? Who prefers the more complex construction challenges? Working at edibo brings you into a construction family that invests in you and that works out your clear growth trajectory. Including annual training courses and workshops!