Turnhout, 27 March 2019 – Dr. Paul Depauw was for four years the only driving force behind Ergotrics. He frequently hired expertise and consultants for specific tasks and projects, but the step towards sustainable employment did not come until the end of 2018 with the start of Inge Bruynooghe as CEO and three vacancies shortly after.
‘The first priority was to form a strong and complementary sales team,’ explains Inge Bruynooghe, ‘This is why we were pleased when Fleur decided to join Ergotrics.’ Fleur Van Heesewijk has a strong international sales & marketing background in various sectors and was involved in several product launches. She speaks 6 languages and has more than 15 years of experience in leading a distribution and customer network throughout Europe. Her strength is her strong customer focus and her ability to understand the needs and dynamics in different countries. ‘I was looking for customer focus and passion for results. Ergotrics offers these in an innovative and entrepreneurial environment,’ explains Fleur her career choice.
Inge continues: ‘Then it was important to attract people who know the medical world well and we signed a coaching contract with Bas Van Riggelen.’ Bas has more than 20 years of experience in the healthcare industry. He started his career at J&J and worked many years at InSpine , which provides innovative, technically superior products for a wide range of spinal surgery applications. ‘I want to share my experience and network of neuro- and orthopedic surgeons with new companies. I have to believe in the product and am looking forward to the first patient tests,’ says Bas at the first team meeting. ‘The Ergotrics solution is simple but a fundamental improvement for patients and hospital staff.’
Saskia Deleebeeck will complete the sales team in April 2019. Saskia was trained as a nurse. Since her specialization as anaesthetist assistant at the Erasmus Hospital, she has learned the ins and outs of the operating theatre for the last 8 years. This experience is necessary because our product requires a simplified but new way of working, which needs demonstration and tests at the hospital before they will make the purchasing decision. Saskia will also make the connection with the nurses through hospital contacts and social media. ‘I have experienced the ergonomic challenges in the operating room and the orthopaedic department. I look forward to be involved in product development to improve working conditions in healthcare,’ says Saskia.
In the meantime, the technical team has also been strengthened. Eddie Van Eeckhoven has been helping companies to develop their international activities and new medical devices for 25 years. ‘His experience in the planning and execution of regulatory affairs and clinical research has already proven its added value for our CE marking and METC (medical committee) file,” says Paul. Paul had been working with Eddie Van Eeckhoven for several months, but because of the specific knowledge and good cooperation, they decided to sign a long-term strategic service contract.
The six-member team will soon be expanded with an innovation and quality engineer. ‘This is the last vacancy for this year and there are already a number of candidates in the pipeline. For the time being, I make the contacts with the suppliers and the design agency myself,’ explains Inge, ‘but more focus and technical knowledge is needed as the product is launched and sales increase. In addition, we want to start product development for the new home care product, which is a challenging project for our first Ergotrics engineer.’
Inge built up her leadership experience at Philips (now Signify) and led international teams of 100 to 30,000 people for many years: ‘In past roles, I was also known as someone who is involved and close to the team. It’s fascinating to build a new team from scratch. Experience is important, but the trick is to find the right mix of skills and get the best out of people. The values of a start-up are typically entrepreneurship and innovation, but innovation and care are also an important part of our culture. We love what we do, believe in our innovative solutions and are willing to work hard for it. We are driven to improve care for patients and hospital teams. At the same time, care also has an internal meaning for us: we take care of our personal development, a good work-life balance and we are committed to corporate social responsibility.’ The Vlaio support has made it possible to quickly build up this first team and Ergotrics is planning further expansion after the next investment round.