06 09 2023 at 00:00
Interview Dirk Huyers
Let me continue the series “Everything you wanted to know about the Past Presidents”, …
I would like to introduce you to Dirk Huyers, President nr 7.
Dirk was President of the PMI Belgium Chapter from 2014 to 2015.
As a first question I would like to ask you: how are you doing?
I’m very busy now with my last full-time assignment before retirement (in 2027). Besides that, I try to enjoy as much as possible from hobbies, and family time with my wife, kids and grandchildren.
How did you come to PMI BeNeLux Chapter? And why do you decided to take the mandate as President?
I can’t remember exactly when my PMI membership started, but I think it was related to the moment when I met Chris Kindermans (year ??). You have probably all the membership details somewhere in an archive
In our archive, I’ve found that you took your membership on 1st of October 2006 😉
Anyhow, we were since 1990 professionally busy with project management services in the (petro)chemical and the pharmaceutical industry. Being involved in huge international capital intensive and long-term complex projects was the ideal playground to get in touch with different PM methods and standards. PMI was one of them.
Within PMI Belgium, I got involved as a volunteer in the organization of several PMI BeNeLux Days, which then resulted in a seat in the Board for some years. Then taking over from Kris Troukens.
What do you remember from that time?
Leading a volunteer organization is completely different from leading a company or enterprise, or even a project. The main challenge was to “upgrade” the structure and the way of working in the organization. Trying to convince the volunteers on all the different levels to apply the PM knowledge and practices to the organization of Chapter meetings and Benelux days.
I had the opportunity to participate to 2 international congresses – one as a visitor and one as a presenter. That also opened some doors to international networking with other PMI Boards in Europe and abroad.
It was also the moment that I met Antonio Nieto-Rodriguez (later Chairman of the Board of PMI in the USA) and that we became good friends, because we were both operational in the pharmaceutical industry at that time (Glaxo SmithKline in Wavre).
During your mandate, what is your good experience?
Luckily, I found some supporters to rebrand the “old fashioned” national congress days at that time. It took some effort, but we finally introduced the PM Fair concept as the new congress format. I’m happy that it still exists today.
You had a great idea.
And what do you identify as a bad experience?
It’s not really a bad experience, but the financial organization and planning of the Chapter was difficult – maybe still is -, because of the limited income from members (only the small country contribution on top of the annual PMI Global membership fee) , and the continuous struggle to find a please sponsors for the membership events.
We still encounter the same difficulties.
If you look into the mirror, how do you evaluate your mandate? What would you do differently?
I regret that we didn’t achieve the goal to reach 1000 members, while being very close to that.
Nevertheless, it was a very interesting period with a lot of challenges but also with nice opportunities such as the liaison with other – similar – organizations in other knowledge areas (Business Analysis, …) related to project management.
How to attract members to become presidents?
I’m not sure how the Chapter is structured today and how it works now, but I tried in those days to implement a growth path for volunteers, where they could be involved in several activities, events, projects at different levels of the organization. So, they can grow towards the seat of Director in the Board and later to the seat of President.
What do you advise to the current president and to the coming presidents?
During my period, I often got the remark that PMI was “only” for PM’s in the IT industry. That perception was created by the fact that most of the members were from the IT industry and that – as a result – most of our sponsors were also IT companies. The perception was enforced by the topics presented at the events during the year.
Project management is industry independent, so try to be as open as possible and try to be present in any kind of industry. This can be done by setting up discussion or knowledge groups who bring people with similar interests together to exchange ideas and experiences, good practices, etc.
How do you imagine the PMI Belgium Chapter in the future? And how do you imagine Project Management?
PMI – globally – already changed a lot in the past decade, and I think it will continue to change a lot in the coming decade. Unfortunately, I still see a lot of focus on certification and not so much focus on real life practical usage of PM techniques and practices in a day-to-day project environment. I also see a lot of so called “PM tools” and software on the market, that are in fact not much more than overrated ToDo lists and activity Boards. It’s a huge industry and everyone is trying to gain some money on the PM hype.
The PMI Chapter is acting as an ambassador for the PM knowledge and the practical usage of it in many different types of projects. Make it as attractive as possible, make it sexy with inspiring and joyful events.
What can I wish you for in the future?
Good health and a lot of free time for family and hobbies
I wish you all the best.
Do I miss an important question for you?
I think we have covered the most important things
What do you want to also share with us?
Keep up the good work! Success with the Chapter, this year and in the coming years.
Thank you for the invitation to participate in the jubilee event in Mechelen.
I would like to thank you very much for agreeing to share your experience with our members and I am looking forward to welcoming you at the PM Fair on 13th of October 2023.