IADC’s first Networking Event connected dredging industry professionals

IADC’s first Networking Event connected dredging industry professionals

21 Dec 2017


Entitled “Peering into Dredging’s Future” is IADC’s first annual networking event for young professionals of IADC’s member companies. The networking and future-oriented event is born from the need for a platform where young professionals can connect with fellow young professionals while gaining insight into the pressing issues facing the dredging industry’s future. To emphasise the importance of connecting the industry's expert workforce – especially the emerging employees of dredging companies – IADC hosted nearly 60 professionals from all around the world. Employees of Baggerbedrijf De Boer Dutch Dredging, Bokalis, DEME, Jan De Nul Group, Penta-Ocean Construction and Van Oord partook in plenary session led by Frank Verhoeven, Julius Sen and Serge de Gheldere and then got to know meet other through a series of activities and workshops.

On 14 November, over the course of one afternoon, attendees experienced professional and personal development through a plenary session and social activities, simultaneously becoming familiar with IADC’s year-round pursuits through participation. Attendees stemmed from all of the industry’s disciplines, holding roles in legal, technical, operations, commercial and administrative divisions. The diversity of perspectives offered by their varied backgrounds aims to enhance the group’s dynamics, lending a positive influence to the event’s discussions.


The event took place at Hilvaria Studio’s in Hilvarenbeek, a Dutch town located just over five kilometres from Belgium. Famous for its roots as a musical recording studio, the complex opened in 1964. The building was constructed with reused steel structure used in the Kodak Pavilion, a structure demolished after its use for the 1958 Expo in Brussels. The retro architecture is still visible in the Kodakzaal where the plenary session was held. Originally the complex was built for the production of commercials and later added an in-house music recording studio as well as facilities for television advertising and movies made by renowned directors. In the 1970s, the sound studio known as Relight Studio attracted world-renowned bands such as Black Sabbath, The Boomtown Rats, Genesis and Cat Stevens to record their albums there.


The goal of the programme was to identify the challenges and prospects which lie ahead, and explore collaboration as a potential tool for resolution, especially since a project’s aspects go beyond technical issues to span business and  financing models, regulatory systems, and HR priorities. Networking is one way to open these lines of communication in preparation for the challenges of the future.

Whole-heartedly supported by the IADC’s Board of Directors and PR Committee, Peering into Dredging’s Future is the first of its kind. Reinforcing its mission to support members by disseminating industry knowledge, IADC’s networking event for young professionals is one of many pursuits to make information from its own research or member companies accessible to all.


Frank Verhoeven

Frank Verhoeven is the President of the International Association of Dredging Companies (IADC) and a member of various supervisory boards including Deltares, an independent institute for applied research in the field of water and soil. After graduating with a degree in civil engineering from the Technical University of Delft in 1976, Frank was part of the Royal Boskalis Westminster group of companies for 40 years. Starting as a research specialist, Frank held diverse positions such as technical management functions, General Manager for Boskalis Netherlands, management team member of Royal Boskalis responsible for the company’s activities in Europe and several staff departments such as tender departments and SHE-Q. When Boskalis broadened its activities to the offshore industry, Frank became responsible for the company’s offshore activities as chairman of Smit’s Management Team. In 2012 he assumed a position in the Board of Management until becoming retiring in mid-2016 and assuming his current role as President of IADC in January 2017.

Frank identified the drivers of change and the challenges these pose – individually and collectively – to the dredging sector and highlighted the role of the IADC in promoting collaborative thinking while preserving competitive conditions.



Julius Sen

Julius Sen is Associate Director and Senior Programme Adviser at the London School of Economics Enterprise. His areas of responsibility include project design and delivery of executive education and consultancy programmes relating to economic and trade policy issues especially as they relate to globalisation debates. His approach is to explore political management issues arising from these debates and to look at policy options to advance developed and transition economies. He also looks at business strategies and options within this context. Since 2007 he has helped develop the IADC Young Management Programme and served as a lecturer.

In his talk “The larger forces behind the drivers of change”, Julius Sen explored what lies behind the industry’s drivers and how five forces shape the way in which the drivers of change will actually operate and give us insight into the depth of the challenges ahead: demographic factors, technology and innovation, the nature of economic growth, trade and economic activity and raw material constraints. Mapping the methods and routes by which these will shape our world in five years’ time and into the distant future illustrated the complexity of the interplay of forces at work and the challenges which lie ahead.


Serge De Gheldere

Serge De Gheldere is a design engineer filled with personal energy, empathy and intellectual curiosity. He is the founder and CEO of Futureproofed. Serge was one of the first presenters to be personally trained by Al Gore to educate the public about climate change. With over 300 presentations under his belt, Serge has reached more than 20,000 people around the world from France and the Netherlands to China, the United Arab Emirates and India. He regularly shares his insights and thoughts on social media, radio and TV outlets as well as online and print media outlets. As a speaker, he has been known to enthuse even the most sceptical of audiences about the exciting prospects of a fossil-free, circular economy.

Through his presentation “Climate change: business challenges and opportunities of dredging”, Serge addressed innovations which deal with the obstacles of energy transition, climate change effects, population growth, resource depletion, loss of biodiversity, pollution. Cases delved into the obstacles which will affect the current and future outlook of dredging industry and whether the dredging sector become a proactive one, anticipating these changes and helping build a fossil-free, circular, resilient economy. Since necessity is the mother of invention, new markets can be created for new projects and opportunities in the areas of energy, transport, land use, resource constraints, waste, data management, nature protection. A number of successful case studies demonstrated the core competence of the dredging sector.


After plenary session, attendees divided into smaller groups for workshops. To start, a speed date exercise let participants meet their peers in a one-on-one setting. Once all group members were introduced, an interactive exercise let participants brainstorm and discuss the topics presented by the speakers, receiving feedback from their peers as well as moderators. The evening closed with a social complete with bites and drinks.

If you did not attend this year’s event, stay tuned because another is being planned for 2018.