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Like father, like son – The Nettekovens

Eric, the father, started working at Etteplan (DDcom in the Netherlands was acquired by Etteplan in 2022) in 1981 as a Technical Illustrator (2D) – “from the drawing board to the computer, many things have changed over the years, and it has been interesting to watch. Technology has made the job more creative, and after 40 years, the recent acquisition has once again initiated change.” Eric is married with three children, including Charlie, the son in this dynamic duo.

Charlie started at Etteplan (the former DDcom) in 2012 – over ten years ago. “I was initially introduced to Technical Illustration while taking a year to work before my studies – it is why I decided to get my degree. So, I went to college and returned to DDcom to start my career.” Charlie started off in 2D technical illustrating and when they started looking at creating a 3D department, Charlie was asked to join – which he did. “Everything I learned, I learned from my colleagues.” Eric was the one who taught Charlie how to draw from an early age, and he continues to do so occasionally in his free time – but mostly the creative outlet is at work.

After the acquisition, both Eric and Charlie were excited by all the new colleagues and new opportunities that a large multinational company could offer.

Eric shared, “We are now part of a bigger company with a bigger vision. And having Charlie (son) here with me makes it even more fun.” Eric and Charlie still work in a normal working environment – like colleagues at work – they just know each other a little better.

“I raised him, but now it’s your turn!”- Eric laughs to his colleagues.

“I have to say, at first, I was teaching Charlie – now I am learning from him."

"Charlie was always creative, either drawing or building something with Legos. I am so glad he followed what he enjoys doing. Now I see him almost every day and that is just a bonus,” Eric shared.

Working with family can be tough, but Charlie's advice is just to stay honest, not letting your work-life affect your personal life and vice versa. “We communicate very directly which makes things easier for both of us. Be honest about situations and be honest about what you think.” This applies to all colleagues; it is the key to maintaining trust. Also, “Try to have fun,” both Charlie and Eric agree. Joking around can relieve stress and create a positive and uplifting working environment, and even a motivator to work hard. “Be professional, respect boundaries, and knowing when it is okay to joke around is important too,” according to Charlie.

The acquisition by Etteplan saw some changes in the office in de Hurk, Eric explained, “with lots of projects coming in, we sometimes must remind ourselves – we are bigger than just this office now. The idea of this expanded network of colleagues has become a more comfortable and relaxing concept. You have more support, but you can also push yourself further.”

There was a barbecue to get to know some of their new colleagues, which has helped them with making new connections. Charlie shared “There was a project where we were using software that none of the team had previous experience in, and with the help of the Operations Manager we were able to connect to a colleague within the organization who had experience. With the new project team member, we succeeded together. This was the first time that I really felt part of something bigger, this huge organization of colleagues.”

After a long week at work a tradition for Eric, Charlie, and some of their colleagues is an after-work Friday afternoon beer – Vrijdagmiddagborrel – as they say in the Netherlands.

A healthy work-life balance has allowed Eric and Charlie to practice their own hobbies both on their own, as well as some shared interests. In addition to sport climbing, Charlie joins Eric and the rest of the family in a unique and active Chinese Dragon Boat racing (a long boat rowed by 20 people to the beat of a drum). “Maybe we can start a team for Etteplan too!” – Eric.

However, what is most impressive about the Nettekoven’s is their dedication to their work outside of the office, both having volunteered with veterans of the Dutch Army and travelled abroad to help those in need. A veteran himself, Eric has also spent the last 25 years volunteering for the veterans' care home and as a member of the Order of the House of Orange - Nassau. In 2022, he received a decoration directly from the King for volunteering and helping other veterans. Eric is always prepared to give back, “work is important, hobbies and free time are important, but it is also important to help others.”

“40 years on the job, and 25 years in the army – that is a loyal person,” Charlie shared proudly.