Pieter Leenaers

Team Leader Physical Laboratory

Who am I

I was born in Hasselt (Belgium) and spent the first twenty one years of my life here. During my time at high school, I developed an interest in science and technology and I particularly loved the chemistry courses. The formation of new compounds by chemical reactions really intrigued me, so it is not a surprise that I did my bachelor’s in chemistry at the University ofPieter Leenaers Hasselt. For my master’s degree, I moved to Eindhoven to study Chemical Engineering with specialization in Molecular Systems & Materials Chemistry. The Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e) is a great university with many national and international connections with industry. Studying at the heart of the Brainport region, a region known as one of the most innovative in Europe, sounded to me as the perfect place to start my career! The highlight of my master’s study was my internship at CSIRO in Melbourne, Australia. During the four-month internship, I worked on RAFT polymers and additionally obtained a lot of cultural experiences! In 2016, I dedicated myself to research and started a PhD on organic solar cells in the research group of prof. René Janssen at the TU/e. During the following four years, I gained a lot of experience in the synthesis and characterization of materials. After my PhD I started in my current position at Nemho. In my free time I like cooking, travelling, and adventurous activities.

What I do

I lead a team of 6 people who perform sample preparation and physical property testing on high-pressure laminates (HPL) and new HPL-related developments. The team is a crucial factor in Nemho because we support the quality department in maintaining the quality of our HPL products, the factory with production issues, and the R&D teams with testing innovations, from idea to market implementation.

What drives me

Three important factors that make my job interesting are the large variety in tasks, the large variety in people and the continuous learning opportunities. No day is the same at Nemho! Some moments I am planning the laboratory requests, assisting in the development of new testing methods or investigating production issues. Other moments I am managing the team, ordering new equipment or establishing and improving processes. Besides the work tasks, Nemho is a great environment to learn more about different cultures. From the 45+ people working in Weert, more than 20 people have a different nationality! It might therefore not surprise you that there are always interesting experiences or stories to share.

My advice

Perseverance is an important soft skill to reach goals in a career and in life. I believe that everyone can reach any possible target as long as you believe in yourself and persistently stick to your dreams and goals! A positive mindset and self-reflection are also key ingredients for success; they not only help you with yourself, but also positively influence the people around you.