At just 33 years old, lead project engineer Niels van der Linde is managing a specialized team of project engineers. Together, they’re creating the future of offshore wind energy. “It feels great to make serious steps in my engineering career while contributing to the energy transition.”
After Niels finished his studies in offshore and dredging engineering, working with subsea cables wasn’t the first thing on his mind. “I knew a lot about pipe laying, but hardly anything about cable installation”, he laughs. “But in 2014 I got the opportunity to work for VSMC – now incorporated in Boskalis Subsea Cables, part of the Offshore Energy division – and started learning everything about the innovative world of subsea cables.”
Niels contributed to various international wind energy projects while working his way up from junior project engineer to his current position as lead project engineer. He’s amazed by the speed at which the offshore wind industry is developing. “Every project has new unique features. There’s no such thing as copy-pasting projects, as the technology advances so quickly.”
“I’m currently working on an offshore wind project, located off the US East coast”, Niels explains. “It’s a real Boskalis show. The wind farm developer granted us contracts for infield cable installations as well as placing the wind turbine foundations and scour protection. Our subsea cable contract includes transportation, installation and burying of a vast network of heavy duty cables, connecting the wind turbines to substations, ready to redirect green energy to the shoreline.”
Technical and social job
Niels’ team is currently preparing for the US wind project in the head office in Papendrecht as well as from a regional office in Wynyard (UK), before traveling to the execution site next year. He really enjoys the mix of technical and social aspects to the job. “Of course there’s the mechanical side of preparing technical solutions to make the installation happen”, he says. “But I’m also busy keeping close contact with our client and managing my team of engineers. This also means helping my colleagues boosting their personal development, by facilitating opportunities to pursue their professional ambitions on the project.”
Although extremely experienced, Boskalis Subsea Cables is known as a business unit with many young professionals. Niels: “If you’re willing to learn, the opportunities here at Boskalis are impressive and your career can kick off really fast. My future? For now I’m happy seeing the project through to completion at the end of 2025. Who knows, one day I might even take on a management position with different responsibilities.”
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