In the elevator with Dirk De Moor, the new Secretary-General of the BEC...
Dirk's vision for the BEC as new Secretary-General
Working for more than a decade in standardisation, I discovered the electrotechnical world as a particular community that strictly guard their uniqueness.
As the world is electrifying more and more and equipment and installations become smarter and smarter, the traditional distinction between mechanical and electrical equipment is blurring. Both worlds merge and get interconnected. Hence, the electrotechnical committee should become more connected and take advantage of existing expertise. The added value of committee meetings can be improved to add other elements like legislative evolutions. Besides the strong focus on standards development, there is also a potential in explaining standards. Exploiting the knowledge hidden in technical committees, those standards should be explained to the broader world of standard users. There are opportunities to cooperate with stronger communication partners to let the electrotechnical standardisation know outside the electrotechnical community. Unlike other countries such as Germany, the United Kingdom, France, the Netherlands, … standard users get confused in Belgium. They don’t know where to buy their standards. They would like to have a single point of contact. It’s a challenge for BEC to cooperate with strong partners for the sales of electrotechnical standards without compromising the BEC sales revenue or even trying to improve this revenue. So, there are challenges ahead to extend the BEC network for the expansion of the electrotechnical community.
Dirk's professional side…
Dirk received his master’s degree in mechanical engineering at the KULeuven in 1986. He started at Sirris with the development and implementation of postprocessors, the link between the numerical control programming and the numerical control at the machine tool. Next, he participated in several European projects on Group Technology and cost estimation. Then he visited companies to promote innovation projects supported by Vlaio. In 1999 he made the transition to Agoria where he was responsible for the business group «gears». He started a Belgian training on gear technology. Although inscriptions were very late, each session was repeated at least 2 times. Based on this need, a European gear training comprising 3 full weeks was started in cooperation with Eurotrans, the European Association of mechanical power transmission. This training is still organised. He participated in European projects on air hardened gear, conformal cooling, and networking. He assisted at the start-up of Flanders Mechatronics and Flanders Mechatronics Technology Centre now integrated in Flanders Make.
In 2008, according to the new law on standardisation, he started the sector operator Sirris-Agoria working for NBN. Sirris-Agoria soon became the leading sector operator. Motivated to do his job correctly, he convinced the NBN to start a training for experts. Sirris-Agoria was leading in the usage of new tools to automate the standardisation tasks. As secretary of CEN/TC 133/WG 8 he learned about copper fittings and harmonised standards under the CPR. Within the WG he developed simultaneously 9 standards which were voted 100% positive. He followed the ISO secretariats training and became committee manager of ISO/TC 18 zinc.
Simultaneously he managed the business group lifts and was key in the recast of the RD on the safety of lifts. He made a feasibility study on a digital lift book (CE conformity, registration of inspection and maintenance, …) and convinced the FPS Economy to develop this application. For the European Lift Association (ELA) he organised several successful conferences as chair of the communication committee. He received twice the ELA award for best performing national association.
Dirk is NBN board member and was a BEC board member.
Dirk through a few questions…
1. Do you have any hidden talents or hobbies?
I love wind and water sports. It started with windsurfing over sailing to land yachting. Searching for a training on land yachting, the only training available was to become instructor. So, I decided to go for that. I needed to have the pilot licence to be able to start the course. I arrived in the morning at 9, study the theory and passed the exam just before closing time at 12. Some people blame me to have the fastest boat. But changing boats, I turns out I still have the fastest.
2. What makes you get up in the morning?
In evening I make a task list. It motivates me to get up to complete the list.
3. What is your greatest personal and professional achievement?
Well, there are plenty. Successfully introducing EuCia (European Composite Industry Association) to several European funded research projects about eco-friendly composites that helped EuCia to position itself in the sector and improve their relationship with their members. Convincing NBN to take up a training for standardisation experts to allow then to better do their jobs.
4. What is the best book you have read recently?
Unfortunately, I don’t have much time to read books. As a child, I did read a lot of books. The only one I was not able to finish was Anna Karenina form Tolstoy.
5. What animal would you consider your spirit animal?
I adore elephants. They are friendly but powerful. They remember and learn from history and above all they figure on Côte d´Or.
6. What is your favourite food?
I love salads. They fill the stomach with little calories helping me to control weight.
7. What’s your biggest frustration?
An intelligence mismatch between software and myself. Button’s and functions whose meaning are not clear or don’t work. Software that isn’t intuitive or user-friendly. I have a negative influence on software. Programs that normally function well stop performing when I’m around.
8. What do you do in your free time?
I’m a do-it-yourself hobbyist. I installed the electricity in my home, repair domestic equipment, painting, I tiled my terrace floor, I repair bicycles and many other things. As a child I dismantled your broken lawnmower and discovered that I broke down due to the careless execution of the annual maintenance. The exhaust needed cleaning every 50 hours. Due to carbon deposits, only a needle size opening remained. Insufficient to let the motor run properly.
9. When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I was fascinated by technology. I tried to dismantle products to see how they were constructed. So, I studied engineering. Standardisation offers an excellent opportunity to learn about different technologies like lifts, agriculture products, steel construction, …
10. What inspires you?
Working for Agoria I had the luck to organise several conferences with MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology). Especially the multidisciplinary approach struck me. Research doesn’t only cover the technical aspects but also the societal acceptance. Talking about biofuels: “Rich people can afford to pay more for energy than poor can pay for food”. Also, in aids for aging people, there was a constant reflection if those people would accept these solutions.