Employee Spotlight: Stef Slagmulders

Welcome to the first of many NHV Employee Spotlight Features, with the goal of shining a spotlight on the pivotal role our employees play at NHV, including; their journeys so far, and how NHV aims to create an innovative, inclusive and dynamic workforce.

Hello to Stef, our Component Repair Coordinator

Before we start, can you tell us 3 Fun Facts about you:

1. In 2018 I walked the West Highland Way in Scotland with a friend of mine. That is 154km!! Since we were only beginners, our backpacks were really heavy and it made it difficult to finish the complete hike in 7 days. Nevertheless, with a lot of persistence we managed to finish in time!

2. NHV was my first job after graduation and now I have been working here for more than 4 years.

3. I have a tattoo on my left chest with the initials of my late brother’s name, intertwining the first letters of our first names J&S. I got this, because he is my motivation for everything I do in life.

Can you tell us a little bit about your background and who you are?

When I was 8, my brother and mother and I moved to the coastal area in Belgium. This was difficult for us, we had to leave our friends behind which we certainly don’t want to at that point in your young life. Nevertheless, we adapted quite fast and had a great time there.
I always liked sports and began to play soccer quite early, and at the age of 16 I started doing cycling in competition for about 3 years. This I stopped when I started to study network economics at the college of HOWEST in Bruges. I had a very great time studying in Bruges and got to meet many new people of which some remained friends.

The most difficult moment in my life until now was the loss of my brother in August 2017. He was not only my older brother by 4-years, but he was also my best friend, who I shared everything with.
Mine and my family's life changed drastically at that point and this happened just before I was due to start my final internship, at Balta Captiqs in Oudenaarde. I almost stopped my college education at that point, but my family and friends convinced me to go through with it as it was the last step before graduation. I found the strength to convince myself that I would complete it for him and so I succeeded my thesis and internship. Then October 2018 I started my first job as purchaser within NHV in Ostend.

What led you to pursue a career in Aviation?

In my case I wasn’t particular looking for a career in aviation. Beside playing ‘flight simulator’ now and then I didn’t have any real interface with Aviation.
Within my college degree we were mostly focusing on a specific field of economics, that of lean thinking and continuous improvement which is more applicable in production environments. Nevertheless, it strengthened my analytical skills which helps me in my job I’m doing today.

Of course, at the time when I considered the notification of the vacancy at NHV and looked up the core business of the company I was very enthusiastic about it as it’s a real niche market to which I became really interested in.

What do you find exciting about the industry and what is something specific about your role at NHV that you love doing?

The flexibility at this company and the freedom in how you want to organise your own work is something I really admire. I need a lot of variety in my job to keep me focused and to deliver what’s required for the company. If I would not have this flexibility and I would be stuck in my function, I would not be happy, and my performance would suffer because of this.

The next thing I really like about the industry is that not one day is the same and despite a day-planning you might have you need to be aware that an urgent requirement from maintenance can change your complete day just to solve the issue of grounded aircraft because of a missing/defect part.

Specific about my role is trying to find the best way to repair certain components in accordance with the planned replacement date for maintenance and to be cost efficient as much as possible for supply chain. I really like to investigate the shop reports from our repair shops and try to reduce the cost where possible and this in collaboration with different internal departments. As I don’t have a technical aviation background, I balance this out by working closely together with the different departments and create an unanimous story towards our suppliers. Learning and communication is therefore the key to do this in the best possible way.

Can you tell us a bit about a favourite project or experience that you’ve had at NHV?

Working on the overhaul process of our H175 engines this year has been a challenging project which gives me a lot of excitement. Investigating on the shop reports and extra costs incurred is very interesting and gives me the opportunity to understand better the technical side of these components. At the same time, again, the collaboration with the different departments in Ostend and Aberdeen is very exciting, as well as the collaboration with the suppliers.

How do you define success?

Reaching the goal you’ve set at the beginning of a project, starting from a simple idea or conversation. Specific for my role, when we were able to cut the unscheduled costs for a repair to the lowest possible minimum.

What are some of the things that you like to do, outside of work?

Going out with friends, seeing my family, travelling, doing sports, …

What are some words of advice you would give to others who are considering pursuing a career in Aviation?

Just do it! Don’t hesitate, it’s a very exciting business wherein you can develop your professional skills. It’s an unusual sector which makes it even more exciting. Within supply chain you will be a key player to support the maintenance team and indirectly operations to keep the aircrafts serviceable.

Is there anything else you would like to add?

I’d like to highlight the amazing work that the entire supply chain team does, from stores, logistics, purchasing across our various NHV bases. Every day, they do their utmost to support the different departments and deserve the appreciation.


Thank you for sharing Stef and for the shoutout!