Interview: Fernand and Erik discuss their 10-year career at Belnet

Last September, several employees crossed the 10-year career milestone at Belnet. Among them, Erik and Fernand have agreed to answer a few questions to shed light on their career and this path they have chosen.

Could you describe your job in a few words?

Fernand: "My job as Services Security coordinator was to manage a team of technical experts (Services) that develop, operate and support new services for our community (on top of the Belnet network).

As of the security team: they analyze the security risks and advise our colleagues and our customers how to best protect the information assets.

As member of Business Management, I seek new business opportunities for Belnet that bring value to the R&E community as well as seeking new partnerships that could bring benefit to Belnet or our community".

Erik: "As a project leader my job is to oversee new technical projects at Belnet. This includes projects for customers as well as internal projects. I develop new services, am in charge of the maintenance and respond to customers’ questions about these services."

Fernand De Decker, Services & Security coordinator

Fernand De Decker - Services & Security coordinator & member of Business Management

When you started at Belnet, did you think you would stay there that long?

Fernand: "Honestly no. Because I worked 27 years for commercial companies and I feared that Belnet as part of the Federal Administration could not offer me the means to achieve my objectives (financial, speed of decision, reward of effort, motivation) But the Belnet environment and culture and the mission and the community eventually were for me that pleasant that at the end of my career it appears that my Belnet period last the longest (> 10 years (others 9, 8, 5 , 3, 2)."

Erik: "No really but I already was familiar with Belnet because of my technical education but also because a friend of mine already worked here. Obviously I asked him about Belnet, about working there, about the atmosphere. He confirmed my idea that Belnet was a good employer. Moreover, working for a public service like Belnet also offers you a certain level of stability."

“If you value relevancy for the society, contributions for next generations, (...) this is the community (Belgian R&E) to work for.”

Fernand De Decker

What have been the major challenges of your career?

Fernand: "Be patient (when you want to move faster), Be empathetic (when you want your colleagues to deliver), Explain, explain and explain again (when you seem to be understood), be honest and serve the mission of Belnet (when you want to contribute and deliver results)."

Erik: "I was given the chance to start up a project from scratch for the internal monitoring of Belnet’s services. This enables us to test and monitor our services proactively. We no longer have to wait for the customer to report a problem. The project is valuable for the internal operations but also improves our service to our external customers."

Erik De Neve, Project Leader at Belnet

Erik De Neve - Project Leader

During these ten years at Belnet, what was your crush?

Fernand: "My team, the R&E community, the NREN colleagues, my job, Belnet culture."

Erik: "I like my role a lot. I have the chance to work on long-term projects and think along proactively when developing new services. This gives me a lot of job satisfaction. Otherwise, you get to know everyone very quickly because Belnet is such a small organisation. The result is a pleasant and informal atmosphere."

“Moreover, working for a public service like Belnet also offers you a certain level of stability.

Erik De Neve

What advice would you give to young employees starting their careers at Belnet today?

Fernand: "Cherish and serve the community because combination of the highest aspiration (science, wisdom, education, culture) with the lowest budget and prepared to share and to collaborate.

If you value relevancy for the society, contributions for next generations more than temporary achievements and big money ... this is the community (Belgian R&E) to work for."

Erik: "If you are passionate about technological innovation and keen to align our products as much as possible with the ever-changing needs of our customers, then working at Belnet is certainly the right step in your career."

How do you see your profession evolving over the next 10 years?

Fernand: "I will enjoy my free time since as of today I have less than 40 workdays and then I will retire."

Erik: "Given the ever-changing challenges in technology and therefore also in customer needs, Belnet must continue to satisfy its customers. I believe this is an exciting process to experience first-hand."

If you could describe Belnet’s DNA in 3 key words?

Fernand: "Geek, dedication, passion."

Erik: "Flexibility, appreciation, innovation."

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