After graduating from the Hogere Landbouw School in Dronten, Jan studied phytopathology in Wageningen. After having several diverse jobs he started his own company, nowadays called OMEO Groep.
Since you graduated, what kind of jobs did you have?
“Shortly after my study I went to Jemen. I worked there for about 2,5 years at the Potato Production Centre in Dhamar. When I came back I worked as a teacher at a secondary agricultural school in Almelo for a year. After that I was unemployed for almost a year waiting for other projects abroad, which never came. My next job was at the Plant Protection Service in Wageningen, where I became head of the department for Integrated Pest Management. After five years I decided to quit and join a young company in commercial research (De Bredelaar). Five years later a Dutch CRO (NOTOX) offered me a job as Manager Sales and Marketing in Den Bosch. I enjoyed this job for almost 12 years and then switched to TNO starting as Commercial Manager of a business unit. Later I continued in a commercial CRO called Triskelion.”
What is your current job?
“In 2010 I quit the job at Triskelion and started my own company OMEO Groep. This company is specialized in training and coaching on sales, leadership and negotiation.”
Is this what you always wanted to be?
“No, not particular. I never planned a specific career, but took up challenges and opportunities that came along.”
What choices have you made as a student that have helped you to get where you are now?
“That’s a difficult question. Firstly, my choice for agriculture and in particular plant protection and crop husbandry opened the possibility to go abroad and work in development aid. Secondly, during my study I joined student boards several times because I liked to take a lead. This experience was very useful when taken up jobs as manager.”
How has studying in Wageningen helped you to overcome difficult challenges?
“Again a difficult question to answer. As mentioned above, my taking up leadership in student boards and other groups learned me a lot about leadership, which was useful when managing people. The challenges in all my jobs have given me the necessary expertise and experience I can use in my own company now.”
What are your future goals?
“I want to further develop my company and continue on a basic level, even after my retirement.”
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