My career story

Hello, my name is Johan. People who know me well describe me as a highly motivated, hands-on, no-nonsense problem solver. Reliable in all circumstances and good in a crisis, I am passionate about all industrial and B2B strategies, marketing and sales.

As you might expect, I have seen and done quite a lot in the business world before I launched my Ebucon consultancy bureau in February 2014. Here's a summary.

My first work experience: "Vive la France!"

During my university studies in commercial engineering I became fascinated by industrial products and marketing and so I decided to study for a further qualification in international marketing.

While waiting to do my military service, which was still compulsory at the time, I was given the opportunity to gain some practical work experience at a chemical company, where I was asked to conduct a promotion campaign for the sale of a new herbicide to French winegrowers. It was a great adventure and one that taught me a lot, travelling through almost all the main wine-growing regions between Bordeaux and Lyon in the hope of persuading the local vintners to buy our product. GPS and the mobile phone had not yet been invented, so it wasn't always easy to know if I was going in the right direction. Goodness knows what I would have done without my faithful friend, Minitel!

Rubber and tyres, fascinating and international

After my military service, I got a job as a marketing assistant at the Japanese tyre manufacturer, Bridgestone/Firestone. My first task: the integration of different national product codification systems into a single international application. Supported by a team of IT specialists, I was able to bring this to a successful conclusion, preparatory to an ERP implementation.

Later on, I provided marketing support to almost every product division and during my last two and a half years with the company I gave 110% in my new role as European marketing manager of the agricultural tyres division.

In the meantime, I had relocated from Limburg to West Flanders, one of the many pleasing consequences of my marriage to a local beauty from Sijsele.

The wonderful world of metal fibres

After seven years, I felt the time had come to move on from Bridgestone and so I took up a new appointment at Bekaert Fibre Technologies, a manufacturer of high-tech metal fibres and a subsidiary of the Bekaert wire company in Zwevegem.

I became the first marketing manager pur sang in this West Flanders hive of engineering ingenuity and within my division worked hard to bring about the transformation from a product-driven to a customer-oriented company: "We have to make what the customer wants, not just sell the things we can make."

Market research, customer friendliness surveys, participation in trade fairs, improved communication, business plans and strategies: these were all part of my remit, along with my self-appointed task of 'shaking the tree' of my colleagues and bosses each and every day of the week.

During my time at Bekaert I also led two innovation projects from R&D to business development and spent a lengthy period in a more sales-focused role as sales manager for France and the Benelux.

In all, I stayed 10 years with the company. I learnt a great deal, travelled a great deal and made many new friends for life. Little wonder that I still look back on my Bekaert years with great fondness.

The industrial SME world

After working for multinational companies for 17 years, the moment seemed ripe for a switch into the fascinating world of the many enterprising SMEs that our country is fortunate enough to possess. And so I became the general manager at Boralit, a family-run rotational moulding company in Aalter. New and unexpected horizons suddenly opened up for me: shorter decision making lines and deadlines, smaller budgets that demand greater creativity and efficiency with existing resources, the pressure of being ultimately responsible for everything, the 'family' dimension, etc.

It was at Boralit that I first realized how my years of experience in major companies could also have a huge added value for smaller enterprises.

In particular, this persuaded me of the need to get back to basics, to move away from complex models, marketing gurus and English management terminology. It was time to return to a sound, solid, 'both feet on the ground' approach that seemed much better suited to the requirements of the SME world. 

In the meantime, I had been toying for years with the idea of starting up something on my own, and after four and a half years at Boralit I finally decided to take the plunge.

Ebucon is born

In February 2014, I founded Ebucon. Its mission is to allow industrial SMEs to grow in a healthy manner on the basis of sensible strategic advice and good commercial support. The name Eburon is derived from 'Eburones', the bravest of all the Gallic tribes defeated by Julius Caesar. Another company was already using the Eburones name, and so I had to adjust it slightly to Ebucon!

My first customer was Purotek, a company specializing in small wastewater treatment plants. I was off and running...

My self-proclaimed objective is to become the reference for strategic advice and commercial support for Flemish industrial SMEs. I am working very hard every single day to turn this objective into reality.

Would you like to get to know me better? Please feel free to contact me for an exploratory chat.

What some of my former colleagues have to say about me

Dominique Santens,  CEO & owner at Parcolys Flooring NV

“Johan was like a rock you can count on.

On marketing, he is very good in gathering information and presenting it in an accessible and thorough overview. 

On sales, he is very target driven and customer oriented. 

As a colleague very pleasurable and a real team player. 

kind regards, Dominique”

 

Yves Struyve, Manager at D-fence

“Johan is very dedicated to his work. Johan is strong in positioning a product in the market. He is straightforward, honest and correct. You can count on him.

Feel free to contact me for more details”

 

Veerle De Brauwere, Office Manager at Certifisc BVBA

“Johan is a true professional in his field of work and has excellent people-managing skills that allow him to motivate the entire group to reach the same goals. “

Johan is highly respected by his colleagues.”

 

Stefan Vandendijk,  Technology Manager at Purolator Advanced Filtration

“Johan was and is a very dedicated person and easy to work with.”

 

Ann Lacres, Coach (ACC) | Team Facilitator | Consultant

“Johan is a very professional, client-focused person, with very strong analytical skills. I mostly appreciate his positive and motivated approach to obtain the best results. He is someone you can rely on and it was a real pleasure to work with him!”

 

Des Collins, Director of Public Affairs, Continental AG

"Johan worked on my team at Bridgestone as Head of Marketing. I found him to be reliable, hardworking and creative. At that time we were launching new products to the European market with relatively small budgets. Johan made a great success. I was very sorry when he decided to move on to different challenges outside the company, but I understand that he has added a lot of diverse experience to what was already a solid background. I would be happy to work with Johan again and can easily recommend him for Marketing and Business development".

 

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