Alumnus testimonial

Alumni Evelien Leferink - Quality Management and Entrepreneurship

Evelien Leferink is a passionate professional with a strong background in food quality management. “My journey in this field began during my undergraduate studies when I developed a keen interest in food-related courses.” Intrigued by the intricacies of food product design, she decided to explore the realm of food quality management further.

My responsibilities include monitoring the production process, conducting measurements and laboratory analyses, and addressing any quality issues that arise.

Current Role:

As a quality engineer at Jacobs Douwe Egberts, a coffee producing company in Utrecht, Evelien takes great pride in ensuring that the products leaving the factory meet the highest standards of quality. In addition to her quality-related tasks, Evelien actively engages in projects aimed at enhancing production efficiency and supports various other quality initiatives.

Favorite Aspect of the Job:

Evelien finds great joy in the dynamic nature of her work. Each day presents new challenges and opportunities, allowing her to exercise her problem-solving skills and drive continuous improvement. “I appreciate the freedom I have to dedicate part of my day to quality management activities, while the rest is spent leading my own projects.” This balance enables her to make a tangible impact in the factory, constantly seeking ways to optimize processes and achieve greater efficiency.

Courses such as Food Quality Management Research Principles provided me with a broader perspective and developed my analytical mindset, allowing me to approach challenges systematically.

Experience with the MFQ Program:

Evelien credits the MFQ program at WUR for equipping her with a well-rounded skill set that perfectly aligns with her current role. The program struck a fine balance between managerial and technological aspects of quality management. Evelien's work involves not only understanding the technical processes but also managing the people involved, emphasizing the importance of both sides. She also highlights the significance of the Food Quality Analysis and Judgement course, which familiarized her with laboratory work and various analysis tools.

My internship involved observing and interacting with various stakeholders, including quality department personnel, operators, and auditors.

Internship and Thesis:

During her MFQ program, Evelien conducted an internship at Bolletje, a food production company in Almelo, Netherlands. “My focus was on researching and developing a Quality Document Management System for the company.” This experience allowed her to immerse herself in a real-world quality team, gaining insights into the practical aspects of quality management. Although not directly related to her thesis, the internship provided valuable connections and networking opportunities within the food industry.

The Food Quality Management program, being unique in the Netherlands, gave me a competitive advantage and adequately prepared me for the demands of the industry.

Career Path:

After completing her studies, Evelien began her professional journey at a consultancy company. However, she quickly realized that her collaborative nature thrived in a team-based environment, leading her to transition to her current position at Jacobs Douwe Egberts. Her master's degree and experience in the food industry played a crucial role in securing her role as a quality engineer.

Challenges and Opportunities in the Food Quality Management Sector:

“From my perspective, one of the main challenges that the food quality management sector will face in the coming years is sustainability.” As the industry aims for greater efficiency and sustainability, maintaining product quality becomes increasingly complex. “However, I also see sustainability as an opportunity for companies to differentiate themselves and meet the growing consumer demand for environmentally friendly products”, she says.

Advice to Aspiring Professionals:

Evelien advises aspiring professionals to be open-minded, enthusiastic, and ready to demonstrate their knowledge and skills.

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