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Eric Vanderhoeven, (Brand) Manager of OMEGA Benelux, has known several wheelbarrows during his life. Now he is at the helm of a special watch brand and he can also call himself a wheelbarrow. We will talk to Eric. Text: Mical Joseph
Image: OMEGA | Mel Photography

What was your very first job?

“At the age of 18 I worked freelance for the written press. I come from Tervuren, Belgium, a city with a rich history. As a result, I wrote to my heart's content for the local newspaper. At one point I started studying Communication Sciences, but due to illness I was unable to complete this study. However, I continued to actively write journalistically. Then I ended up at the Belgian airline Sabena. Unfortunately, this company went bankrupt in 2001.”

How did you end up in your current job?

“I ended up at my current employer fifteen years ago through a headhunter, OMEGA. "

Who was your wheelbarrow in that?

“I went to a secondary school where the focus was on language. I enjoyed the French, English and Dutch languages. My French teacher was an important guide in the first period of my life, during his lessons I had to read high-level French literary works. The fact that I speak French well has often helped me in my career.”

“In the later part of my life I had two mentors in aviation. These were Mr. Goderis and Fonteyn, they taught me how to handle negotiations. I have received a lot of advice from Mr. Louf in the watch sector. It was through him that I developed my passion for luxury watches.”

What is your greatest passion in your profession?

“My greatest passion is the combination of commercial and structural challenges. Because of OMEGA's wonderful history, we bring this out enthusiastically. The commercial projects that I join the team in The Netherlands en Belgium management remain interesting. Ours too high end events worldwide are interesting for the industry.”

What has been your biggest learning moment in your career?

“Because Sabena went bankrupt, I had to tell the staff that they were losing their jobs. This was a tough period, because I, as it were, buried the company. I didn't feel bad about delivering the bad news, the team was very close. This was a big learning moment for me: it made me tougher and I learned that these activities are also part of this position. You are manager in the good times, but also in the worse times.”

What advice would you give to your 18 year old self?

“Remain who you are with the baggage you have been given, but a good day costs nothing. This one-liner must be on my grave. 'A good day costs nothing' is my motto in life.”

Have you been a wheelbarrow for someone?

“I have certainly been a mentor and motivation to a number of people to take them to higher heights. Both in aviation and in... watch industry. At the age I am now, I can and may share that baggage with experience.”