“When I was studying electrical engineering in Eindhoven, I joined the university gliding club and went on a week-long gliding camp, where I was immediately bitten by the bug. All these years later, I still think the extra dimension it adds and the fact that you can spend hours soaring entirely on thermal uplifts is amazing!
I spent two-and-a-half years flying regularly, but then I became too busy. I had to do my military service, moved in with my partner and got my first job with the Netherlands Aerospace Centre (NLR) in Amsterdam. Thanks to the challenging projects and opportunities for travel it gave me, it was a highly educational time, but after seven years I felt it was time for something new. I was attracted to a job vacancy I saw at NLO, even though I’d never been particularly interested in the patent industry up until then. Advanced technical knowledge, an ability to express it in language, and a constantly changing legal framework: it looked an interesting combination. I also like being seen as an expert and trusted third party: being appreciated by clients is a key driver for me.
Getting my career off the ground and starting a family pushed gliding further and further into the background; making time for my family was already enough of a challenge. But the itch remained, so when my daughter was a bit older i joined the Amsterdamsche Club voor Zweefvliegen in 2005. And when I was offered the chance to buy a share in a glider, it didn’t take me long to make up my mind!
When you’re in a glider you’ve got to be constantly on the ball. You have to keep checking the weather and watching out for other airspace users and you’ve got to remember the relevant rules and regulations. It means you can’t think about anything else when you’re up there. Above all, gliding is a real club sport: you need a team to get you up in the air, and afterwards we all relax together and exchange stories about our flying experiences. I also enjoy going to the movies with my family, but when I’m watching the screen my thoughts can still drift towards work. That never happens when I’m out for a day’s flying, so for me that’s the ultimate relaxation.
Although having a share in your own plane gives you the freedom to go up whenever you want, the tricky bit is to find time to do it. Especially as I’m a partner in the company and am committed to NLO’s clients and employees 24/7. I’m also spending time on our office in Ede, which is being refurbished this year. And I sit on a number of internal and external committees. But I’m happy to do it all if it satisfies our clients’ needs. Applying all your knowledge and experience under constantly changing circumstances: in that respect, work and gliding are very similar.”
2018 was a special year as it’s the year NLO celebrated its 130th anniversary. Over all those years, there’s one specific element that really forms the core of our firm; our people. Professionals who put all their effort in helping clients in any way they can. However, they are far more than IP professionals. We would like to give you some insight in the real people behind NLO. We proudly introduce to you some of our colleagues. This Thursday: Maarten Ketelaars.