In the coming period, Wafilin Systems will regularly interview its partners to find out more about their collaboration with Wafilin Systemsand to discuss the possible benefits that brings it to their customers. In this month we share with you the interview we had with Hein Molenkamp, the managing director of the Water Alliance. The Water Alliance is the Dutch networking organization focused on supporting and representing companies who are active within the field of water- and environmental technology. Like Wafilin Systems, they are located at the WaterCampus in Leeuwarden, which is the leading center of innovations in water technology in Europe. Scientific research, applied research, education and doing business are all represented here.
- With whom do we have the pleasure of speaking with?
Hein Molenkamp, married and father of two children, aged 25 and 28 years old. I have been the Managing Director of the Water Alliance for almost ten years, from its inception. However, I prefer to call myself an assisting foreman. Like the rest of my team, I gain satisfaction from helping others. Before I started working for the Water Alliance, I was working for other companies in (water) technology. At Paques, I was responsible for the introduction and standardization of the products and the content of the product portfolio for 10 years. After that I worked as a Key Account manager at Grundfos Biobooster A/S for about two years, where I was responsible for the market introduction and sales for the new developed Biobooster turnkey decentral waste water treatment system. The water technology sector is an important sector, and the companies are developing innovations that are beneficial to the world. These innovations contribute to a cleaner and more sustainable world, a case in which I love to be involved in.
- What is your relation with Wafilin Systems?
Wafilin Systems is one of our foremost members among the list of around 110 companies who are affiliated to us. It is very clear how our collaboration helps both of us move forward. Water Alliance is mostly a connector and event organizer, promoting the water tech sector. Wafilin Systemsis very involved in these events, and benefits from the networking opportunities that we offer as a result. These benefits go both ways however, as many of the developments that Wafilin Systems books are a good example of the strong points of the innovation ecosystem that the WaterCampus promotes.
- Could you name an example of that?
Wafilin Systems is specialized in tailor made solutions in membrane applications for several sectors and target groups. Because of the fact that they are independent from the membrane suppliers, they are able to execute pilot tests through the Water Application Centre (WAC) or Food Application Center for Technology (FACT) for every customer in order to make the right choices concerning technology, and even turn this into a full scale installation, which they then proceed to deliver. This is fairly unique from my point of view. Some examples of this are: dairy filtration on farm level, the re-use of water in the textile laundry sector, and the protein recovery system for Avebe that was recently constructed. I think that protein recovery system could have a very bright future through worldwide implementation in the food-sector.
- Is there value to be gained for Wafilin Systems by being located at the WaterCampus?
The value that WaterCampus offers to companies such as Wafilin Systems is shown every day through the participation of Wafilin Systems with other organizations in projects that are being executed at VHL University, for instance at the WAC and FACT. Especially the students who are being trained at the WaterCampus are interesting for the growth of Wafilin Systems as a company. I often see that students who are working on a research project for Wafilin Systems, who will later start working for them as full-time employees. That is one of the unique benefits of the WaterCampus: you are always surrounded by talent and knowledge. Besides that, the frequent foreign visitors of the Water Alliance are also a good reason for Wafilin Systems to join in on the conversation, and showcase the technologies that they offer.
- The power of collaborating. Do other companies in the region also profit from this asset?
The nice thing about companies such as Wafilin Systems is the fact that they are always looking for other companies to collaborate with during projects, such as Stainless Steel construction companies, companies who offer electrical and automation systems etc. These supplying companies, who are mostly SME’s, are often regional. Because of this, employment opportunities grow through these collaborations. It is also clear that collaborating with other members of the Water Alliance offers new market opportunities.
- Yes, the business! Because naturally, that is what is most important. That brings me to Aquatech Amsterdam, the Dutch event where companies can gain advice or support from other businesses that are active in the water technology sector. The Water Alliance was also present during the exhibition. Could you give u a through back?
The Aquatech was a very dynamic exhibition. Water Alliance was together with many of their members in the heart of the Holland Pavilion. I was barely able to leave the Holland Pavilion, contrary to what I normally tend to do: walk around to check on the other exhibitors. This time, however, I barely had the time to do so because of the many new people to meet and conversations to be had. I got the same reaction from other companies that were located at the Pavilion: lots of new, qualitative contacts. That means that the foundation has been built for new transactions. I am very content with that.
Wafilin Systems had a good-looking stand at a good spot at the Holland Pavilion. Wafilin Systems presented themselves very professionally, and made good use of the fact that many delegations passed the Holland Pavilion.
- Sounds like your participation for this exhibition had quite successful results. Which other activities is the Water Alliance planning, for this year for instance?
Water Alliance routinely organizes meetings and events, where Wafilin Systems will be able to gain useful (new) contacts. Water Alliance also tries to introduce new sectors to our members, which could in turn lead to new applications. One event to look forward to is the upcoming WaterLink on 16th of January 2020. This will be a good moment to get more attention for the technologies of our members from the Dutch audience. There will be parallel sessions surrounding different themes. Of course there will also be the European Water Technology Week, 21-24 September 2020, where the WaterCampus organizations will be organizing a large international congress and networking exhibition together in Leeuwarden.
- Wafilin Systems remains linked to events such as WaterLink and the European Water Technology Week, even despite our focus on the Food and Dairy industries. We notice that for example process technologists in the Food and Dairy industry are getting more and more involved in these types of exhibitions. What do you think that the reason for this is?
The collaboration that we have built here together at the WaterCampus is worldwide truly a unique example of a Water Tech cluster that is seen worldwide as very innovative and progressive. The collaboration between governments, knowledge institutions and companies such as Wafilin Systems is very special, and is also a good and interesting example for other sectors. Together we are working on building a more sustainable world, which is a great cause to be involved in. I am looking forward to our future collaborations.
Would you like to learn more about the Water Alliance, for instance on how they, together with Wafilin, could be able to speed up your business? Make an appointment with our CEO, Henk Schonewille: email@example.com.