He knows that he will have a lot of work to do in the coming months, but Leo Blok can handle the pressure well. "I am a pioneer and I like to get things done," says the recently appointed manager of the Joint Research Center Zeeland (JRCZ). Leo is the point of contact for the research institute at Het Groene Woud in Middelburg.
As an engineering lecturer, he has been involved in the preparations for the JRCZ for about four years. "For a long time, the JRCZ only existed on paper for me. I think it's great to see that it's really taking shape now. It's coming to life," says Leo in the HZ at Het Groene Woud. Leo has been working as an engineering lecturer at HZ University of Applied Sciences for more than five years. He is originally an electrical engineer. After his studies at the HTS in Vlissingen and his military service, he directed the production of electronics at Fokker Elmo in Hoogerheide and he was manager at Orionis Walcheren. He set up a secondment unit for this social employment service. "That too was pioneering, a lot of talk and a lot of work. In that sense, it is comparable to what I am doing now."
Due to the size of the JRCZ project, Leo will be focusing on two points in the coming months. Firstly, he wants - in cooperation with relocation coordinator Daniël Rutten - to steer the relocation of the study programmes, professorships and all equipment in the right direction. "So that a good working environment is created for everyone." Safety in the broadest sense of the word also has his full attention at the moment. "This is an important issue. Everyone must be able to work and learn in the JRCZ safely. There's a lot involved here, from access passes to what roles people have until something is allowed or not."
Leo does not tackle these and other issues on the extensive action list alone. He seeks out those involved. "I am always looking for connections. You shouldn't look at things from one perspective. If you look at something from different angles, you come up with much better solutions. As an engineering lecturer, I have done the same. For instance, I brushed up the cooperation with Scalda. How good is it that students from a mbo are now taught at the HZ? That's how you help each other.
Once the JRCZ is open, cooperation will remain high on his agenda. "We want to create an inspiring environment together. I hope we can get students and staff involved in making the JRCZ fun and inspiring. We all need to make it a success."
According to him, students and employees of the collaborating educational institutions (HZ, University College Roosevelt and Scalda) will have to get used to it. "The JRCZ is there to break down the walls between the various study programmes, schools and businesses, so that we can complement each other, carry out beautiful projects together and really add something to education and research in our area. I want to help make that dream a reality."
Leo knows that there are many questions about the JRCZ. Starting next week, he and/or Daniel will be in room L002 every week on Mondays from 3pm to 5pm. "Think of it as an open door to put down questions," he says. The pair are also regularly in Middelburg. There is also an e-mail address to send questions to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Joint Research Centre Zeeland is a Campus Zeeland collaboration. The HZ is the project manager of the new building of the JRCZ.