From assistant-fitter to much-valued employee
Tom Van der Haegen is a much-valued employee at L-Door, giving the best of himself every day for the past 13 years. Tom is a great example of how it is possible to develop and advance in an SME that is at the pinnacle of its sector.
How did you get started at L-Door?
Shortly after I qualified as an Electrician from the PTI in Ninove I heard about L-Door for the first time from some of my ex-classmates. Two of them were working as fitters for this door manufacturer in Liedekerke. It was a job that I quite fancied and so I started working as an assistant fitter. That was 13 years ago already. Working with the senior fitter I was involved mainly on the repair and electrical commissioning of sectional doors. Given my qualification, this was the ideal job for me. School is where you lay the foundations for your career in later life, but it’s not until you get on-site that you really start to learn the practical things.
Do you think there are opportunities for you to develop and progress at L-Door?
I worked as an assistant fitter for about two years. Each year during my assessment interview I was asked what my ambitions were – and that is still the case today. In 2006, a new division was set up within L-Door that focuses specifically on repairs and maintenance. I developed with it and became a service engineer.
Each year during my assessment interview I was asked what my ambitions were – and that is still the case today.
What exactly did your job involve?
As a service engineer I did maintenance and repairs on doors that were already in place. But you also help your fellow installers when it comes to finishing off projects. Such as fitting controls, connecting doors to the power, installing traffic lights, etc. Of course, there’s much more to the job, too. Which is why you need to have a VCA certificate and you are also required to have a licence to operate a forklift truck and scissor lift. In 2013, I was given another opportunity at L-Door to take my career a step further. As a member of the ‘technical sales unit’ I carry out site inspections, checking on the quality of the products we install, as well as ensuring the safety of our employees at the site. I also attend site meetings with the contractor, architect and main client. I always try to give customers the best solutions that meet their requirements.
What does your typical working day look like?
Given that I work mainly in the French-speaking part of Belgium I have to battle through the daily traffic jams. To avoid them as much as possible, I leave home at about 6 in the morning. While I’m in the car I make calls to customers, hands-free, to make appointments on-site surveys for their new sectional door. I like to alternate site inspections and meetings with the actual surveys themselves.
What appeals to you about the job?
My job means that I’m out on the road a lot and I have seen the entire country along the way. Every day is different and I’m always meeting new people. It is very satisfying to be able to provide practical added value for our customers after the sale has been made. By putting myself in the customer’s shoes I can always offer the best solution. I also like the fact that within the company I can rely on my workmates, who are the best in their field, and this gives me a good feeling about working at L-Door. L-Door is a company that is constantly innovating and that gives me confidence for the future.
L-Door also gives school-leavers the opportunity to gain practical experience after they have finished studying.