Meet Allard van der Steege
Allard van der Steege is the Development Director at Ventolines. He manages the ‘Development‘ department. Yet, he considers himself a team member of the specialists who help translate ideas for sustainable energy projects into feasible and profitable projects.
What does the Development team do exactly? “We see ourselves as the guides for our clients. We work out in detail whether a renewable energy idea is feasible and how it will yield the most optimal return on investment. It begins with the identification of all interests affecting the intended project. You must consider all interests to drum up the required support, as a lack thereof is exactly what can jeopardize a project’s feasibility.”
“We inventory and analyze the risks and possible bottlenecks. That is how we uncover which risks we can mitigate and how to remove the obstacles.
“We always recommend addressing the biggest bottlenecks first and help remove them. That involves quite a lot of brainpower and energy. Fortunately, we can bank on our experience from many other projects. Once we have a solid plan, we help with the contracts for all parties and the permit application.”
What is your particular expertise? “Personally, I have 25 years of experience in this profession, almost a decade of which by working at Ventolines. I previously worked at various companies on projects in different countries. Projects come with all kinds of pitfalls, varying from one project to another. In those 25 years, I have seen all possible pitfalls and now know the best way to avoid them. This is how we guide the client to a successful project. We understand very well that with projects like this there’s a lot at stake for the client.”
“In the first stage, we often see various initiators who have to start cooperating to get a project going. Different interests which need to be brought together come into play. Managing these interests has become our specialty. We thoroughly investigate these interests between the project and the environment. It all starts with listening to all parties and by carefully weighing their arguments. We examine how we can alter the project because of valid objections or enter into a discussion with substantiated arguments. For example, opponents often look at an idea based on uncertainty or fear. We should never ignore that. That is why you cannot limit yourself to providing information only. You have to contact all stakeholders personally. By adequately analyzing perceived contradictions, these sometimes turn out to be bridgeable. Every time we succeed in this is another great moment.”
“The client does not have to activate us; we see the changes occurring and act adequately.”
What is your drive? “After studying physics, I already knew that renewable energy was going to develop into something big. I wanted to be part of that. Why would you keep making things that emit CO₂ and subsequently make every effort to get rid of the pollution they cause? When a project threatens to fail, it chills me to the bone. But when it succeeds, it gives me enormous pride and satisfaction.”
Can you convey that mindset to your team? “There is no need to do that, actually. We have so many smart and motivated people work at Ventolines. I rather have to curb colleagues in their ambition or work. If they encounter an obstacle by going left, they try to circumvent it by going right. We never let go; we keep on trying. That is an excellent quality, of course, but it has to fit the agreements we have made with the client. I enjoy managing that area of tension very much.”
What would you convey to people considering applying at Ventolines?
“Personal development is very important to us. We encourage each other to grow our knowledge and skills, but also as a person. In addition, we appreciate people taking initiative, for which you really get all the space you need. So if you want to develop yourself, Ventolines is the place to be.”
“We always seek talented people who want to contribute to the energy transition. Whether they are people with limited experience who want to learn and develop or professionals with a lot of experience in the sector. At Ventolines, they will all find an environment with many challenges, the freedom to explore new experiences and various professional and personal development opportunities. That is where we find pleasure and satisfaction and it produces excellent business results at the same time. In addition, we regularly organize social get-togethers, such as game nights, parties, and other fun activities. All of this makes Ventolines an enormously fun and inspiring company to work for.”