Alexis Henao

From the automotive industry to shipbuilding: Four years ago, Automation/Software Engineer Alexis Henao took on a completely new challenge at Marpower. He quickly learned all about the maritime industry. Alexis is interested in automation, work trips abroad, and “cookie o’clock.”

Four years ago, Alexis began his career at Eekels. Initially, he worked in the Routing department where he set up the wiring for systems on ships. After a year, an opportunity arose to work at Marpower Automation Systems. During his studies, Alexis had already gained experience with automation. He wanted to further develop this skill, soseizing this opportunity was an easy decision.

“What attracts me to automation is the ability to give a ‘brain’ to the system,” Alexis explains. This requires the necessary knowledge and skills. “It involves coding and understanding protocols, which are like languages that allow systems to communicate with each other. The fun part is that with these different ‘languages,’ we can communicate with all the systems on a ship and integrate them into our own system.”

Before we deliver it to the client, we test it in open water. It is very satisfying to see how your work functions in practice.”

From automotive to shipbuilding

Although he already had knowledge and experience in automation, the shipbuilding industry was completely new to Alexis when he started at Eekels. Before this, he mainly worked in the automotive industry. He enjoys this shift. “Shipbuilding isn’t as broad as the automotive industry,” he says. “In the automotive industry, you have to constantly produce because you need to deliver a lot in a short time. Shipbuilding is more relaxed, but at the same time more luxurious. We really take the time to work on details.”

At Marpower, Alexis has every opportunity to immerse himself in shipbuilding. “We work on one system at a time. This gives you the time to understand what components are involved and how everything works.”

Van automotive naar scheepsbouw
Aan boord werken

Working onboard

What Alexis finds particularly motivating is that he is involved in the entire production process. With his colleagues, he develops a system in the office, tests it with real hardware in the warehouse, and eventually installs it himself on a superyacht. “Before we deliver it to the client, we test it in open water. It is very satisfying to see how your work functions in practice.”

Delivering, repairing, or upgrading systems sometimes takes Alexis abroad. “So far, I’ve been to Mallorca and La Ciotat. Other colleagues sometimes travel to America or islands in the Atlantic Ocean. How often and how far you travel partly depends on your flexibility and whether you enjoy traveling.”

A strong, spirited team

At Eekels, there is a strong team spirit where everyone is ready to support each other, Alexis says. “We work with many different technologies, which makes it challenging to understand them all. Then we complement each other. This ensures a pleasant collaboration.” Alexis feels at home in the company, partly due to the international and friendly atmosphere. “There is a lot of laughter and we do various activities together.” For example, on Fridays at 11 o’clock, there are always cookies in the office. “Then it’s ‘cookie o’clock’!”

He also appreciates that Eekels is a reliable, stable employer with a focus on the well-being of its employees.. Alexis mentions that management monitors the workload well. “They know within which boundaries we can work and communicate this to the client.”

Dare to learn

Alexis’ tip for new employees? “Don’t be discouraged. At first, you have a lot to learn, which can be overwhelming.” Fortunately, at Eekels, you get the space to do this step by step, he says. And of course, your colleagues are there to support you!

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