The art lies in judging the value of input
Menno Buckers (29) is an adviser on flood defences at Witteveen+Bos. In 2022 he was involved in a project for reinforcing the IJssel dykes in Krimpenerwaard, for which he developed tailored solutions as a result of engaging with local residents.
‘Many people live on or near the dykes that protect Krimpenerwaard from flooding. Together with the project team, I spoke with those people. Because of the limited space available, it’s a real challenge applying the measures needed to reinforce the dykes. Some people have lived by a dyke for 50 years; they’ve seen them change and know exactly which cables and structures lie in the ground. We don’t just explain, therefore, but also obtain valuable information. Some people share a lot, but their story need not be more valuable than the resident who listens quietly and just asks a few critical questions. The art lies in correctly judging the value of input.’
‘The dykes need to be in order by 2026, and by 2028 everything’s got to be spick and span. The multifaceted nature of a project like this really appeals to me. We work with landscape architects, engagement and stakeholder managers, technical designers and so on. Many of these areas of expertise are represented at Witteveen+Bos, meaning we can assemble a suitable team for all types of projects. When different specialists come together, effective collaboration is crucial.’
Group leader, Flood Defences
‘For six months now I’ve been leader of the Flood Defences group at our Rotterdam office. Looking back, I can see I’ve grown significantly since graduating in 2017. To begin with, for example, I found talking to local residents nerve-racking; but by doing it a lot and also working on a wide range of projects, I learned quickly. Exchanging ideas with colleagues was an important element too. Now that I’m a group leader, I want to take advantage of the opportunity to help other people develop their abilities.’