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Introducing Robert Koole: Q&A with Koolen Industries' Chief Development Officer

Hengelo, The Netherlands, July 5, 2022

Last month, Koolen Industries welcomed a fresh face to our growing team in the form of Robert Koole, an energy sector leader with extensive experience in directing large, diverse teams toward a common goal.

KeesKoolen and ParkBee technology

We sat down with Robert to discuss his new role as Chief Development Officer here at Koolen Industries and to pick his brain on everything from the energy transition to how he likes to work.

Welcome Robert, it's great to have you here! Could you please introduce yourself briefly and let our readers know a little about what you do at Koolen Industries?

Robert: Sure thing. My name is Robert Koole, born in Rotterdam, The Netherlands. I started my career in 1988, when oil prices were high, mortgage interest rates were close to 10% and the cold war was in its final days. With my chemical engineering background, I was happy I could start working for Shell, because my parents told me they had a solid pension fund…. That's quite a change from Koolen Industries!

R: Well 34 years later, I'm wiser, hence very much aware that I must contribute to making the world more sustainable. And there is no better opportunity for that than with Koolen Industries with our ambition to deliver clean energy to everyone: affordable, attainable, and available. And what role are you taking on at Koolen Industries? R: It's a bit hard to define, but we've given my role the name 'Chief Development Officer.

I'll be ensuring the delivery of excellent service to our clients on all their energy transition ambitions and helping our group companies develop and grow. Because there is no time to waste.

You bring a lot of experience to the group - can you tell us a little more about that experience and what you've learned over the years?

R: My most recent position was as CEO of a Dutch-based contracting company with €400m revenue and 1200 employees that we transformed from a loss-maker into one of the most successful energy transition sector contractors in The Netherlands. What I've learned is that 80% of achieving your goals in business is about attitude: set targets, be ambitious, never give up, work harder than the competition does, be curious, delight your customers, stay humble, take care of others and surround yourself with professionals who are much stronger than yourself. Great advice! So from there, what drew you to Koolen Industries?

R: In a word - purpose. The energy transition needs fast, innovative collaborations and founder Kees Koolen and his key staff really inspired me. They want to do the right thing - which is about focusing on the work without the bureaucracy - doing (and thinking) in parallel. Making the move to clean, green, renewable energy is the right thing to do - and that's what we're doing here at Koolen Industries.

You've been with Koolen Industries for just over a month now, what are you enjoying so far?

R: For me, it's the continuous inspiration from all Koolen Industries employees. Day and night they are always thinking about the needs of our clients, about what is possible versus what is not possible.

They are on the pulse of everything: the latest battery technology, electrolyzer-container-testing, solar panel durability developments, venture capitalist views on the energy transition, European supply chain development, global EMS software standards, upcoming legislation - you name it, they're thinking about it.

There are no limits as to what is possible: “we are only limited by nature’s laws”.

That sounds like an inspiring way to work. Are there any projects that you are especially excited about?

R: As soon as I started on day 1, I was informed that we had won a major project to deliver all energy components for a huge logistics center. All energy transition elements are included: solar, wind, charge points for trucks, ships, mini-trucks, cars, batteries, grid connection, Breeam, HBE’s, EMS, cabling, data…..

All with an entrepreneurial client who has given us the trust to deliver such an important scope to them. Fantastic.

Quite a way to start your tenure. How does the team tackle a project like that?

R: We bring together our experience, knowledge, and drive and put it all toward delivering against our ambitions. No politics, no bureaucracy. Instead, laser-focus on an integrated solution for the client.

And what does it take to be a member of the Koolen Industries team?

R: It’s simple. You need to stand behind our Purpose, be technically savvy, and have a strong focus on full customer satisfaction. If you have that, then together we can grow personally and professionally, with lots of humor along the way.

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