A Master of Law or legal experience does not necessarily mean you have to work at the bar. If you want it a little more challenging and international, you should definitely enter the business world. Or better still: the offshore industry. Preferably at Smulders, where a dynamic role as Contract Manager awaits you. This is what happened to Rick Mertens and Geert Boutsen. They found their dream job and this is why.
Contract management, what’s in a name. In short: the legal support in the project implementation, the phase after the contract is signed. Quite serious business and anything but boring. The stakes are high and the Contract Manager gently verifies that the contractual obligations are complied with.
Diplomacy at its best
Rick and Geert: “Of course we do a lot of analysing and anticipate on possible contract deviations, but a Contract Manager does much more than that. We contribute strategic insights, we look after the commercial interests of the group and we see to it that each party - the company, the client, subcontractors - respects all the agreements made. It is also about building a relationship of trust with the customer, so that our position is not challenged legally or commercially. Call us modern diplomats, if you like. We give lots of advice to our Project Managers, we keep talking to the customer and solve any differences of opinion or other issues pragmatically. Bring matters before the court? Preferably not. Everyone benefits from a project that is completed according to the highest quality standards and ... on time.”
No back office function at all
The Contract Managers depend on the progress of a project and are jointly responsible for a successful end result. They are not in an ivory tower, and communicate with all the different parties. If something goes wrong, our Engineers and Project Managers rely on Geert and Rick to subtly relay their technical case, with a commercial touch, to the customer. Doing this requires an eye for detail and stress resistance. As a Contract Manager, you are as close as you can be to the project team. This can be in Hoboken, in Arendonk or elsewhere.
Geert: “At Smulders you are not hidden away in the back office. You get the opportunity to step into the limelight, where you are given freedom and the chance to participate in strategic meetings. A visit to the customer is worth its weight in gold. A proactive approach will take you the furthest. Say what you have to say and make your mark. Learning is in your own hands, there are plenty of opportunities. For example, later this year I'm going to our yard in Newcastle to see the production of a project up close - I’m sure I’ll be learning some technical stuff there.”
Rick: “When you start working here, you are sure to receive adequate coaching as well, as Geert and I experienced during our induction period at the end of 2019. There is a very open atmosphere and the collegiality is enormous. You can ask anything, a lot of expertise is available in the group. Little by little you are set free, it is a natural process. A high degree of independence is a must. Rick and I each work on a different project, while there is a certain level of cross-pollination and we report to our manager every 2 weeks.”
Eager to win
Rick and Geert’s contractual game is far from over. The duo is driven by their winning mentality and customer focus - typical Smulders. There is the ‘unpredictability’ factor and this is what keeps the job of Contract Manager extremely interesting. Every day brings something different. No matter how complex, there is a solution for every problem.
“We have a nice and solid job. Work hard, play hard. So yes: we still have time for sports and recreation, for our friends or for a cosy chat with colleagues between drinks (also teamwork!). We are at the beginning of our careers and things are looking good. We contribute to a green future. The demand for renewable energy is exploding. The wind industry is booming. We are proud of the fact that there is a great deal of knowledge in this field in Europe and within Smulders. Certainty all round. Interesting times to get on board!” According to Geert and Rick.
Are you also a winner with a law degree or experience in contract management?
Check our vacancy & join the team