Our Fellows of 2023
Dirk Roosendans obtained his master’s in safety engineering from VUB in 2008 and a PhD in engineering science in 2018. Since 2007, he has held various positions at Total and today he is head of the Process Safety Expertise & Integrity Management Department. For an engineer specialising in chemistry and materials, industrial plant safety and risk analysis are essential. With the retirement of colleague Marc Van Overmeire, the faculty risks losing this essential knowledge.
Simon De Boeck
Simon De Boeck graduated from UGent and ETSAB Barcelona in 2005. He is the mayor of Gooik and is responsible for public works, spatial planning, mobility, police, security, Flemish character, finance, civil status and intermunicipal cooperation. As mayor, he is an important figure in the development and expansion of the VUB campus and the VUB Photonics Innovation Centre in Gooik.
Our Fellows of 2021
Walter Dechateau joined Monsanto in 1990 as a start-up engineer, and held both technical and management positions. Until 2015, as plant manager, he was responsible for the Antwerp site with 750 to 950 employees. After Bayer’s acquisition of Monsanto in 2018, he became responsible for the preparation and spending of capital investments for Bayer Crop Science’s seed processing plants in EMEA (Europe, Middle East, Africa).
Dechateau’s broad expertise allows him to offer guest seminars on both the technical and managerial sides of running a chemical company and provide insights in developments in the agro-chemical and seeds industry. His career path is also an inspiring example for our students. He is thus an ideal speaker at student events aimed at providing a glimpse into the career possibilities of the profession.
Piet Spiessens is an alumnus of VUB and vice president innovation & business development at Telenet. He received his doctorate from VUB’s Al Lab in 1993. He then started in the strategy team at Belgacom and moved to Telenet in 1996 where he played an important role in the development of the first commercial broadband internet network. In that capacity he co-founded and is still vice chairman of the Internet Service Providers Association and chairman of DNS Belgium, the organisation responsible for all Belgian internet domain names. At Telenet he’s currently responsible for the development of the mobile network of the future (5G).
Spiessens can contribute by giving lectures or seminars where themes such as 5G, IoT and AI are placed in a broader perspective. He has a broad, future-oriented vision of high-tech developments, with expertise that can also contribute to specialised courses in the master’s programmes in (applied) computer science and to promoting the new mathematics and data science programme in the new WIDS department. In addition, he has an extensive network that could help with internships.
Katelijne Boon is a broadcaster at VRT Klara and Canvas. After studying Germanic languages at KU Leuven, she specialised in computer linguistics, and in 1988 she joined UFSIA in Antwerp as an academic researcher, developing software for university education.In the future, VUB will focus even more on the importance of STEM and STEAM topics. In that context, Boon can play a role given her network in the arts, culture and science. Her radio programme De Liefhebber gives her a special voice in the cultural sector. She regularly hosts guests from the world of science and, through their music choices, seeks affinities between science and art.
Our Fellows of 2020
Werner De Wolf
Since 2018, Werner De Wolf has been CEO of the Schréder group, the Belgian world leader in public lighting active in 70-plus countries with more than 2,500 employees. Previously he was active in telecoms and IT with Commscope, TE Connectivity, Raychem and Unisys. He has more than 25 years of experience in the global telecoms industry. He graduated as a civil engineer in computer science from KU Leuven and has an MBA from Vlerick Business School. He was a director at Voka, Leuven Mindgate and Fiber to the Home Council Europe. He has been mentoring various innovative scale-ups in their development. De Wolf encourages young people to be entrepreneurs and believes strongly in the “Think big, start small, scale or fail and learn fast” approach. As a Fellow, he will strengthen the research line on lighting science at the Faculty of Engineering. Via him, the research group B-PHOT will work with Schréder as a research partner on smart public lighting and photometry of LED lighting fixtures.
Daphne Deckers graduated from VUB as a structural engineer in 2006. During her 12-year career at Victor Buyck Steel Construction, she specialised in engineering and contract and project management of complex steel constructions. At the age of 34 she became CEO of the steel company Ferrokonstrukt. In May 2021 she joined ASK-Romein as Technical Director for Hillebrand BV. Hillebrand BV is located in Vlissingen and specialises in offshore and infrastructure projects.
Deckers is a role model for young women who want to take on a stereotypically male career. As an engineer, she has delivered impressive achievements in a predominantly male field. She is committed to recruiting engineering students and shares her expertise, experience and enthusiasm with VUB students via lectures, panel discussions and internships.
Our Honorary Fellows
Many Fellows of the Faculty of Engineering become Honorary Fellow of our faculty after a period of time: a token of appreciation for their commitment to helping spread the mission and values of our faculty.
Philippe Block is professor at the Institute of Technology in Architecture at ETH Zurich, where he co-directs the Block Research Group. He is also director of the Swiss National Centre of Competence in Research in Digital Fabrication, and founding partner of Ochsendorf DeJong & Block. He studied architecture and structural engineering at VUB and at MIT in the US, where he earned his PhD in 2009. He has lectured at top universities around the world as well as at leading engineering and architecture firms. His work was exhibited at the Design Triennial 2009 in New York and at the 2012 and 2016 Venice Architecture Biennale. Professor Block has received numerous awards and recognitions for his research and he is also co-author of three books.
Véronique Wendrix graduated at the VUB as a civil engineer in electronics and information technology. She started her career as a researcher at ULB, where for three years she worked on bio sensors for medical applications. Véronique continued this research for four years at the German Aerospace Center in Cologne. Now, she has been working at ABB for 14 years in several functions. First as a business controller and SOX implementer over all business processes within the company, with a sustainable transformation as result. Consequently, she became responsible for three Benelux business units, with focus on profitable growth. In her current job as Vice-president Service Benelux manager she has the helicopter view over 20 service departments and plays a role in the European service team. Her professional motto is to strive to excellence, out of the power of all team members.
Line Alderweireldt studied Chemical Engineering at the VUB and holds a degree from the Vlerick Middle Management School in Ghent. She has been employed in the chemical industry for 15 years, working on production optimisation, capacity expansions, quality improvements and the design of new production installations. She started her career at Umicore where she was responsible for applied research and quality checks, and where she stayed until 1984. Until 1990 she was employed at the ESSO Refinery as a product engineer before moving on to Aspen Technology, where she was in charge of technical sales for process simulations for the European chemical industry. She stayed at Aspen technology until 1999. Nowadays Line Alderweireldt is a Project Manager at INEOS.
Dirk Boogmans completed his studies Civil Engineering at the VUB in 1978, before obtaining a Master’s in Industrial Location and an MBA at the same university. He started his career in the bank sector and moved to Gimmy in 1981 where he became a member of the Executive Committee. In 1998 he was appointed Managing Director at CFE NV and after this position he went back to Gimmy to start as Managing Director. He has been Director and member of the Advisory Board in several companies and institutions.
Marco Croon graduated at VUB in 1987 as civil engineer and worked as a consultant for McKinsey. He has over 15 years of experience at the head of international companies, including among others ABB and Diamant Boart. Since 2010, Marco Croon was the CEO of the Belgian company International ACV located in Ruisbroek. He was the CEO of Vinçotte and an expert in merger and acquisition processes. Now he is the CEO of Agaris.
Marc De Groote
Marc De Groote obtained a Master’s in Civil Engineering at VUB in 1988. He started his career at Callatäy & Wouters as a program manager in 1991 and worked his way up to become CEO in 2007. He helped the company grow from 15 people in 1991 to 650 in 2012, with a revenue of €90 million. In 2015, he was ready for a new challenge and helped a young clean-tech company to get back on track, as CEO. Since 2016, he has been country manager for Belgium at Cegeca, an independent ICT service provider, and he was president of Agoria, an association representing more than 1,700 companies in the technology industry in Belgium. Currently he is Chief Commercial Officer at NRB.
René De Keyzer
René De Keyzer graduated in Civil Engineering at the VUB in 1976 and obtained an MBA in Entrepreneurial Business Administration at the Lessius College in Antwerp in 2004. His career began at Agfa where he researched and developed hybrid imaging systems to be used on the graphical market. Since the 1990s, René De Keyzer has been the Manager External R&D at Agfa Gevaert, leading a team of 70 people. Early 2000, Mr. De Keyzer got involved in R&D lobbying to governments and Europe in the framework of "Open Innovation". In 2001 he founded the “External R&D and Funding” group to speed up Agfa’s strategic innovation projects, focusing on the collaboration between the company and the academic world.
Marc Demarche obtained a master’s degree in electromechanical engineering from VUB in 1988, and an MBA from the same university in 1997. His professional career started as assistant professor at VUB in 1988 before joining Ondraf/Niras, the Belgian National Agency for Radioactive Waste and Enriched Fissile Material, in 1991. He began as a project engineer for storage buildings until 1996 before becoming head of the waste acceptance criteria division in 1997. From 1999 to 2008, he was director of EIG Euridice, a joint venture between the Belgian Nuclear Research Center and Ondraf/Niras. Currently, he is director-general of Ondraf/Niras and chair of the board of EIG Euridice.
Being an industrial engineer, Kathleen Dupont started her career in HR-services for engineers. In 2004 she started working at USG Innotiv; at first as Specialty Manager Construction & Infra, and as from 2007 as Operational Director. She started as general manager in 2013. Based on her long experience within the company and her entrepreneurial attitude she has further developed the branches 'staffing' and 'outsourcing'. Currently, she is HR Manager at Agidens.
Peter Grognard graduated as an engineer at the VUB in 1988 and he worked as an assistant at the VUB from 1988 until 1991. During this time he was also a member of the Board. For 14 years Peter Grognard was CEO of Septentrio, which he founded in 2000 as a spin-off company following an 18-month stay at IMEC. Under his leadership, Septentrio played a strategic role in Europe’s Galileo programme. Between 1992 and 1994 he was Delegate to the European Space Agency followed by his position as Science Advisor at the Embassy of Belgium in Washington. He currently is managing director at von Karman Institute for Fluid Dynamics.
Since 1998, Muzaffer Guler has been CEO of GLR, a manufacturer of roller shutters and screens, and in 2010 he created Zaffer Research & Development. He is an entrepreneur who is always seeking innovative approaches and has several patents to his name. He is a member of Verozo, the Belgian association for roller shutter and blind producers, and was chair of the Turkish-Belgian chamber of commerce in 1996. He was also a commercial attaché in Azerbaijan for the Flemish Service for Foreign Trade until 1998.
From 2006 onwards, Philip Hermans was appointed as Area Director at DEME and General Manager at Dredging International. He holds a master's degree "Civil Engineering - Construction" from the VUB (1981).
Pol Hoorelbeke has been with Total for around 13 years and is currently serving as the Vice President Safety Division for Total Refining & Chemicals since 2012. He has been working in the field of industrial safety for more than 25 years and has given several lectures all over the world (USA, China, Europe, Middle East) over the past 10 years as a part of his doctoral research. He holds a master degree in engineering and safety and a doctoral degree in Applied Science. His PhD research at the Brussels University concerned a novel mitigation technique for the effects of vapor cloud explosions.
Anneke Hunninck graduated as an electromechanical engineer at VUB in 1998 and started her career at the refinery of Total in Antwerp. In 2000 she obtained a second master’s degree at VUB, as a safety engineer. After Total, she gained experience in several multinational services companies, including SGS and Securitas. She successfully restructured sales teams and managed several operational teams. In 2012 she became technical director at inspection and certification organisation Vinçotte. In 2015 she decided to broaden her perspective and started a global executive MBA programme at Erasmus University Rotterdam, gaining a master’s degree in 2017. She was part of the management team of Eriks, an international industrial service provider that offers high-quality mechanical engineering components and now she is Operations Manager at Bilfinger ROB.
Christ’l Joris is a Belgian businesswoman. She is the President of the Board of ETAP Lighting, President of Agoria Flanders and of Flanders Investment and Trade. She started her career in Academia and the non-profit sector in mental healthcare. She also worked for the King Baudouin Foundation on programs for environmental care and economics. In 1994, she joined ETAP Lighting, and in 2005 she became president of Flanders Investment and Trade (FIT). She is also President of Rode Kruis-Vlaanderen.
After acquiring a Master’s in Clinical Psychology in 1994 and a Master’s in Gerontology in 1997 at the VUB, Telidja Klaï proceeded to become a Doctor in Psychological Sciences in 2005 at the same university. As the current Producer of the Acquisition Programme for Ketnet, Mrs Klaï is in charge of the selection, sales, adaptation and programming of international children’s programmes. Besides this, she also follows up on animation co-productions with Flemish animation studios and producers. The main thrust of her activities is the development of children and Ketnet’s vision and values.
Senior Manager Toyota Motor Europe Ali Mohammadi is a Belgian-Iranian senior researcher. In 1999, he gained a PhD in Mechanical Engineering from Tokushima University in Japan. He was a professor at Tokushima and Kyoto University for seven years, after which he joined Toyota Motor Europe in 2006, where he is now the senior manager in charge of advanced developments of future powertrains and long-term planning. Having both an academic and an industrial background, he is leading powertrain developments for future sustainable mobility, emphasizing the importance of minimizing greenhouse gas emissions and pollutants. He is involved in several university collaborations, including with VUB. He is also an expert in the framework of the Horizon 2020 programme and has published almost 100 academic articles focusing on sustainable mobility.
Lieve Paternoster is one of the first female alumni of the Faculty of Engineering of VUB. For that reason, she is strongly convinced of the pluralistic VUB values. As a teacher - and later on - as head of department at Plantijn Hogeschool (Antwerpen), she has a rather atypical profile as an engineer. After her career in education, she remains active as a frequent member (secretary) of evaluation committees of a.o. engineering departments (professional and academic bachelors and masters). She is Honorary Head of Department of the Antwerp College and Director of HOVIPAT.
Michael Peeters graduated from the VUB in 1995 as a civil electrical engineer with specialization in applied physics and photonics. He did his master thesis in the laboratory "Photonic Computing and Perception" under the supervision of professor Veretennicoff. After his studies, he started as an assistant at the VUB with both a research and teaching assignment. In 2006 he joined Alcatel-Lucent in Antwerp to join a newly established team within Bell Labs for medium-term research on DSL (digital subscriber lines). He is currently a director of Alcatel-Lucent Bell Labs where he supervises a small research group dealing with various aspects of broadband communication.
Yves Pianet graduated in Civil Engineering at the ULB in 1976 and obtained a Master’s in Commercial and Financial Sciences. He was also a teacher at the CERIO and Cooremans Institutes between 1983 and 1993. He joined the SECO group as a project engineer for Belgium and the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg before becoming Deputy Manager and Director of both SECOLUX and SECO. Since 2003 Yves Pianet has served as General Manager at SECO and Managing Director at SECOLUX. Alongside these professional duties, he is a member of the Rotary Club, Cercle Gaulois, Château Sainte-Anne, New Pole in Science & Technology in Brussels and the Fundraising Committee at the VUB/ULB.
Fauzaya Talhaoui received her master’s in law from Antwerp University in the early 1990s. She was then elected and became a member of the Belgian senate, creating a milestone as the first woman of Moroccan origin to reach this political level. In 2013 she co-created the consultancy FDM Invest, in which she is active as CEO and project facilitator between European companies and North African stakeholders. The company’s main mission is to actively assist and coach entrepreneurs to create viable and successful enterprises in Belgium or Morocco.
Martine Tempels started her career as Account Manager at NCR. In 1996 she moved to EDS, where she first became Account Manager and later assumed additional responsibilities as Business Unit Manager for the financial and commercial sector. In 2007 she was appointed Application Service Executive for the Northern and Cnetral EMEA. In 2009 she joined Telenet. She founded CoderDojo Belgium, is president of the Flemish STEM platform and was elected ICT woman of the year in 2012.
Sven Vandeputte has worked at Ocas, the Research Centre for the Application of Steel, since 1997. The centre used to be part of Sidmargroep, then Arcelor and now ArcelorMittal. In the beginning he was the coordinator of research into deep-drawing steels, then programme leader for research into high-strength steels, then department head of substrate development, and since 2003 managing director. Ocas is responsible for research for all industrial non-automotive applications of steel, for both product development and application research. Since 2010 he has also been responsible for sister company Finindus, an investment society targeting innovative companies in the metal sector, and 1-SenS, a property association and services provider that counts various R&D centres among its clients.
Ingrid Van de Voorde
Ingrid Van de Voorde received a MSc degree in electrical engineering from the VUB in 1990. That same year, she joined the Alcatel Corporate Research Center in Antwerp. She started to research on Apon systems and led the first European funded project on SuperPONs. In 2000 she moved to the Network Strategy group of Alcatel where she elaborated on the introduction of Ethernet in Access. She moved back to the Research & Innovation Center in 2003 to lead the research activities related to fixed access. In 2008, she joined Bell Labs in the new merged company Alcatel-Lucent, to lead successively the Research Domains Fixed Access and Multimedia Technologies, which comprises next to fixed access, home networking and multi-media technology. Today she is Executive Director of Alcatel-Lucent Bell Labs Belgium.
After obtaining his PhD, Jan Vliegen joined Umicore from 1996 till 2019. He became Senior Vice-President CSM and Plant Manager in 2000, after 10 years in the R&D department. He has acquired international expertise by working for the Umicore plants worldwide. Recently he became Senior Advisor at WaterstofNet.
Jan Watté obtained a PhD in Physics at the KU Leuven in 1993. He acquired a post-doctoral mandate on µ-Raman spectroscopy in collaboration with Mietec Alcatel and IMEC. In 1998, he became a test engineer for fibre optics and in 2001 the R&D engineer at Tyco Electronics/Raychem. He was appointed head of the research team for fibre optical connectivity at the same company, which led to him receiving the Key Innovator Award by Tyco Electronics in San Francisco in 2007. In 2010, he also received the B-Phot Star Award at the SPIE Photonics conference in Brussels. Jan Watté has been working for TE Connectivity for almost 19 years. He is an expert in the field of passive fibre optical components for fibre networks, in particular of fibre optical connectors and permanent welding methods. Currently he is Director Optical Engineering at CommScope.
Chris Wuytens is a seasoned executive with a broad experience in general management and consulting in industry based services founded on a strong technological base. He is now leading the the Acerta Consulting Business Division where he is responsible for defining and rolling out the strategic direction of the division moving forward. He started his career in 1981 as Software Engineer at IC Systems SI. After that he had managing jobs in several organizations.
late Marco Van Uffelen
Marco Van Uffelen was fascinated by "Big Science" projects: grand scientific experiments and infrastructures, the construction of which not only pose huge technological challenges, but also require true multidisciplinary and international collaborations. He united knowledge institutions and industry to make this possible from his role at Fusion for Energy, a European Commission agency whose mission is to make nuclear fusion - the energy source of stars and our sun - possible here on Earth. He was a role model for the engineer as a reasonably opinionated global citizen, team player, passionate technologist, entrepreneur, sincere gentleman and family man. Even when his illness was at an advanced stage, he still found the strength to give an inspired lecture to our faculty on the advances in fusion technology and on the construction of the International Thermonuclear Reactor "ITER" in Provence. Marco died at the age of 51 in early May 2021. He left behind a wife Daniela and two sons Maxime and Vincent, both of whom studied at the VUB. His wife died in August last year.
Every faculty of our university has its Fellows and Honorary Fellows, as does the VUB as a whole. All of them are dedicated experts and leaders in their field who help us in creating better links to society and business.