Talent Stories I The Experience of Michaël Smeers I E&I Construction Coordinator

4 min read

We talked with Michaël Smeers, E&I Construction Coordinator at INEOS, who has given us interesting insights into his career. He walks us through his projects and his experience in our latest testimonial.

What does your role as E&I Construction coordinator entail? 

Over the past few years, my role has evolved in a different way, mainly due to the impact of the coronavirus on the market. At some point, I was the only consultant who remained in the department I was working for, which meant I had an all-round role.

I assisted in implementing new projects, verifying appliances and controlling budgets for instance. I worked in a new environment where there were a lot of guidelines because of the hazardous processes. I was asked to evaluate the potential costs of a project and had to make sure everything flowed smoothly. 

At the start of my career, I worked as an E&I technician so now, I have the knowledge to help troubleshoot and test equipment in factories. It is quite a challenge but it is really interesting because, in that way, I can maintain my previous experience as a technician.

Which project are you proud to be a part of?

In 2019, I was part of an enriching turnkey project. We had to design a new steam boiler and manage project intricacies on our own. The client was building the boilers and we had to get everything tested. It was a very interesting project. I learned a lot about new applications and materials, but also about the legislation around steam boilers, as they are pressurised appliances and have to be handled with precaution.

Do you have a particular way of working?

My days always start the same: I get up, I shower, I take my coffee and I walk the dog. After that, it really depends on my due tasks and if I have any meetings planned. Most of the time, I am outside and I feel like the days go by faster when that happens. I try to stay organised and plan my days in advance, but in practice, I noticed that this is easier said than done!

What are the highlights of your career?

I started at Strand (now Catalay) in 2017 and I was doing evening school while working.

I had evening courses 3 nights a week to get my bachelor’s. That was pretty tough because I had homework, exams and a final paper to hand in. For my paper, I got the chance to work on 2 different projects from A tot Z. This involved project management, engineering, designing materials, and shipping packages out to the construction department, which is where I am working now. 

Having the chance to see how a project is underpinned, what the problems are and have the responsibility to fix those problems was really interesting and gave me a different perspective of the project. 

What skills would you like to develop further?

I would like to develop my mechanical skills. The mechanical part of a factory is still quite unknown to me. I know my way around everything that has to do with electrical and instrumentation (E&I), but I would like to keep up with other specialities that are present in a factory.

How did you come across Catalay?

At the time I came in contact with Catalay, I was working as a consultant as an E&I supervisor/workpreparator in Zwijndrecht, Antwerp at a chemical company. Suddenly I received a call from a person working as a recruiter at Catalay.

She told me that there was a position open as a construction coordinator closer to home and I thought I was going to pass through my employer first because he had contacts there too. Eventually, I ended up passing by Catalay and so far, I don’t regret choosing Catalay. Working as a consultant, you feel this sense of freedom.

Whenever you feel like you don’t like the job anymore, you can give a call to the HQ, and they search for a new challenge.

How would you describe the collaboration with Catalay?

The collaboration goes very smoothly. Whenever I have a problem or HR-related questions, I can directly contact them and it is rapidly solved. The team also sends out thoughtful gifts on special occasions and they organise many after-work activities such as a yearly ski trip which I will make sure not to miss! 

Because I have been working with Catalay for more than 5 years I also get to be part of the platinum club which is made up of several long-time consultants. It’s an achievement I am very proud of.

Do you like to stay up to date with the latest engineering trends? 

Yes, I am mainly active on LinkedIn. I follow a few companies who are working a lot on solutions to produce less CO2 emissions and the use of hydrogen. I like to educate myself on these matters and read about other relevant topics related to engineering.

Closing thoughts

Our conversion with Michaël Smeers revealed his dynamic career evolution and his achievements. His journey exemplifies adaptability and continuous growth in the industry.

Also interested in joining Catalay? Have a look at our opportunities.


Written by Alyssa Lefever

Marketing Officer