Rotterdam, 11 December 2019 – Delivery is one of the most critical phases of ordering, which is why we invest enough resources to make sure it aligns best with customer expectations. Bert Tuijl, our Simulation Engineer, shares his thoughts and experience on this challenging aspect of operations as well as his background in maritime. Since joining VSTEP, Bert has been part of some of the largest deliveries in the company’s history.
Hi Bert, can you share a little about your background?
From as long as I can remember I was interested in oceans, sailing and ships. When I was in primary school my teacher assigned us to draw a flower parade. Instead of animals, I created a ship-shaped wagon with flowers on it. This interest in maritime continued throughout my 20’s when I purchased my first computer, a BBC Micro.
This computer supported a graphic output and within no time I programmed my first nautical simulator; a 2D top view of a ship that could be steered through a buoyed channel with a current. Using this simulator, I could playback some of the things I learned during my studies at the Rotterdamse Hogere Zeevaartschool.
When Smit International, a towage company I admired greatly, stopped hiring Dutch officers for their ocean-going tugs, I decided to temporary apply for a job on land. Someone from the National Aerospace Laboratory was impressed by my simulator knowledge and contracted me for a job called ‘simulator programmer’.
For a few years I worked on a moving base flight simulator at their Amsterdam location. However, at a certain point in time, I had to fulfil military service. I joined the navy and was admitted to the officer’s school KIM in Den Helder, the same school we recently delivered a maritime simulator to!
What are your thoughts on one of the projects you are working on?
Currently, the largest project I am involved with is the NTC project. We are delivering bridge simulators together with our partner CAE to the UAE Naval Training Centre. This has been quite a challenge since the book of requirements is vast and high-quality standards must be met.
I personally deal with the design of the hardware and, since I am more software inclined, I do face some challenges. Luckily, with our strong team and emphasis on listening to our customers, I can rest assured we will successfully deliver our maritime simulation solutions, such as our Bahamas Defense Force delivery that I was part of earlier this year (see picture below).
What is the most fulfilling aspect of your role?
Looking around at the test site in Montreal for the NTC project, I feel very proud of VSTEP and my contributions to results. Our NAUTIS simulators run very smoothly, the mechanical and electrical parts perform exactly as intended and the setup makes you really feel like you are on the bridge of a navy vessel.
Simulators must be able to fully immerse trainees in order to get the most training value out of it. I truly believe our products achieve this and I am happy that I am part of this process. Seeing deliveries come together through teamwork and attentive collaboration between all stakeholders gives me a great feeling and I know our customers are able to feel the benefits.
What are some future projects or events that you are looking forward to?
I honestly cannot really tell which projects or events I like more than the others. I enjoy all my encounters with the technologies we release and look forward to the new experiences each project brings with it. Ultimately, it seems to be that I am more interested in the technology aspect of my job, rather than management.
To give an example, I believe the way we construct our control plates, with all the necessary lamps, switches and ship controls, can be even further improved. I am going to focus on this in the near future, enabling VSTEP to be more efficient in producing simulator hardware. These are the types of aspects of my role I enjoy the most.
Would you like to add anything else?
Despite running an enterprise in telecommunications for 23 years in the past I chose to return to my love of the maritime world. After taking a job as teacher for nautical courses I worked with nautical simulators and became eager to take part in developing that wonderful technology, which is how I ended up becoming a Simulation Engineer at VSTEP.
I enjoy working in an environment surrounded by a lot of talent and I am often inspired by many of my colleagues. Of course, I hope to at least radiate a little inspiration throughout my work too. I look forward to being part of all the new projects in the future and seeing first-hand how our simulators benefit an increasing number of seafarers around the world. On to the next delivery!
VSTEP Simulation makes sure that you are prepared for real-life situations with our leading solutions for simulation and virtual training. Our state-of-the-art products allow you to train your skills for every scenario possible in a practical, cost effective and sustainable way. We are a Dutch based and ISO9001:2015 certified company. Stay up-to-date about the developments at VSTEP by subscribing to our newsletter or follow us on Linkedin.