Future Makers- Max van Splunteren’s Journey at VolkerWessels 

At Erasmus Enterprise, we have always been dedicated to empowering young minds to thrive, whether in entrepreneurship or other fields. Today, we’re excited to introduce you to Max van Splunteren, a prime example of this ethos. Join us as we sit down with Max to discuss his journey from university to driving innovation at VolkerWessels. Get ready for insights, inspiration, and practical advice for anyone with big dreams.

VolkerWessels Overview

VolkerWessels is the largest Dutch building company active in the Netherlands, the UK, North America, and Germany, spanning all areas of the construction industry. We facilitate the creation of projects in infrastructure, real estate, and even the energy transition markets, adhering to the ‘think global, act local’ principle. Our mission is to make society more sustainable and to build in a way that enables people to live and work there healthily and happily.

At this point, the most important projects of VolkerWessels include the WonderWoods tower in Utrecht, where VolkerWessels is building a residential tower while also reintroducing biodiversity to the city. With 360 trees and approximately 10,000 plants incorporated on the outside of the building, it passively absorbs approximately 5.5 tons of CO2 and releases 41.5 tons of oxygen. Another significant project is the Holland Hydrogen 1, where both the factory itself and the necessary energy substation are built by VolkerWessels. This factory will produce approximately 60 tons of green hydrogen per year, utilizing the offshore wind park in the North Sea. Finally, one of the major completed projects is the IJboulevard, which has provided 4,000 bicycle parking spaces on the north side of Amsterdam Central Station. These bicycle parking spaces have been created below the shoreline, reclaiming significant space for pedestrians.

First and foremost, I have a deep appreciation for innovation itself, so working at a company that employs innovative techniques to achieve its goals is something that resonates with me. Furthermore, I value companies that produce tangible and durable products, which naturally drew me to the construction field. VolkerWessels is a company that utilizes innovative solutions to complete its projects, and therefore, it led me to seek a role where I could drive innovation from within their strategic corporate development team.

Future Makers

At VolkerWessels, we can proudly say: creators build and shape the future. That is why we always strive for an environment where future generations can live, reside, and work healthily and happily! Challenges related to climate change and energy transition underscore the necessity to develop, design, innovate, manage, and construct differently. Crafting the future has been our legacy for generations. 

Tips and Transition from University

If you are convinced that your idea will solve a problem, stay close to it. As one might know, the construction industry is somewhat conservative. So, when new innovative ideas or opportunities emerge, many people need time to adjust their way of thinking before it can become a success within the business. Therefore, if you’ve identified a problem that is solved by your idea or product, be determined and don’t be scared by rejections. Of course, you must listen to what people within the business have to say in order to adapt and fine-tune your product or idea. However, sticking to your own plan often gets rewarded in the long run.

In all honesty, I am very happy with how my transition from university to VolkerWessels went. I was able to secure a job at the company before I finished my master’s thesis and started even before I had defended it. However, during my time at university, I have always competed in motorsport at a high level, and this is something I might have done differently. Juggling this alongside my master’s degree always felt like I was spreading myself too thin, not fully committing to either endeavor. If I were in the position to start over, I may have considered pausing my degree for one or two years to go all-in for my motorsports career and see where it would take me.

The aspect I appreciated about balancing university and motorsports simultaneously was the constant challenge in two very different domains. This provided a varied experience, where I was intellectually stimulated alongside the physical and competitive demands of motorsport. Therefore, if given the chance to start over, I would still pursue some form of education, but perhaps not one as intensive as Aerospace Engineering.

Navigating Challenges

Setbacks are a part of life, in my opinion; there is no one who has never experienced a setback in any form. However, I believe that setbacks must be put into perspective. While a setback might seem devastating in your own view, for somebody else, it could be seen as a minor bump in the road. Therefore, it is crucial to speak to people and share your challenges with others in order to receive help. Personally, I often do this with my father, as he has been an entrepreneur in the past and always has some refreshing ideas for my setbacks.

Want to be the next one featured?

Feeling the inspiration from Max and eager to foster innovation with your own entrepreneurial spark? Look no further than Erasmus Enterprise! Our entrepreneurial community stands ready to support your innovative startup ideas, providing vital funds through our Startup Voucher program. Don’t let this opportunity slip by—seize the chance to access invaluable resources and kickstart your path to success today!

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