Meet Olaf Burgers: Rogers’ PORON® Sales Engineer for European Regions, Mid-East and Africa
We are pleased to introduce you to Olaf Burgers, our European-based PORON® Sales Engineer who covers a vast territory that includes areas of Europe, the Middle East and Africa for the Rogers Corporation! Not only is Olaf passionate about his work with the PORON Cushioning Team, he is also an enthusiastic runner. Given that marathon season is underway, we thought it would be a great time to feature our Q & A with Olaf in our on-going blog series: ‘A look Inside Rogers’.
Q: Can you give us a brief description about your background and how you came to work with the PORON® Cushioning Team?
I have been working with Rogers for over 12 years now! Before joining Rogers, I worked in another industry that is related to printing applications. As Rogers also sells into this market, I was asked to join the company in 2000, and so I did. My educational background is in Mechanical Engineering, so I feel right at home with most of the applications we deal with today. I joined the PORON® Cushioning Team early last year. It is great to work in the many different markets, and a lot of fun to work on all these exciting projects together.
Q: Can you tell us about your current PORON® Cushioning Sales Territory and locations you plan on visiting in the next few months?
For this team, I cover The Benelux countries (Belgium, The Netherlands and Luxemburg), as well as the German speaking countries like Austria, Switzerland, and Germany of course. I also cover the middle East and Africa. I am planning to be traveling mostly in Germany these coming weeks, but will also be going to South Africa and several potential customers closer to home in the Benelux.
Q: You regularly work with Rogers divisions throughout the globe, can you give some examples on how Rogers’ customers in Europe can take advantage of this global system?
It is great work with the global team! For our customers who often have local design centers in Europe and that serve the European end user, it is essential to have access to local support, but they must also be assured that the projects are followed up with once production takes place. That production is often transferred to Asia once the volume picks up. Within Rogers, we always try to work with our global partners to try and provide the best possible service and product offering.
Q: What areas of expertise do you bring to customer meetings?
Our customers know very well what they want for the application/designs, but do not always know exactly what this means as it relates to our products. We can help them make the best choices in order to get the best possible value from our materials. In addition, we can help them with promotional support and/or information that helps them to understand the technical possibilities with our materials and ways to implement them into a design.
Q: Can you talk about a specific application or market which has sparked your interest lately?
That’s a difficult one, anything that could bring us to new and exciting applications spark my interest! And of course I always look for the ones with good sales potential. One we are working on right now could possibly be game changing. If our products play a role in a game-changing application it is always fun. Like for example, the possible applications we see in Cricket. However, there are many more to be found still. In general, anything with Sports is something I particularly enjoy getting involved with.
Q: What are the biggest trends or changes that you are seeing in the markets you serve?
I am fairly new to this segment, but I see that in general, consumers are price conscious but at the same time more and more are interested in risk-taking sports and activities. For us this is great because they also understand the risks involved and prefer to be equipped with the appropriate gear for their activity. For example, hardly anyone just puts on a pair of sneakers and starts running. Nowadays everyone needs at least an Ipod, heart rate monitor, or a tracking device to come along with them. For our products this means that with the more extreme sports they also need their helmets, protective gear and the best possible shoes to go with it.
Q: We’ve heard you’ve been booking your spring and summer calendar with some exciting running races. Any race you are particularly looking forward too? If you had the choice of competing in a road race anywhere in the world, which one would interest you most?
April 1st (no joke) I had a nice relaxed 10KM run along one of our major rivers, the best run in the Netherlands. I like is the Seven Hills Run, it is 15KM and runs through a wonderful area. Last year around this time I participated in a Down and Dirty Mud Race in Chicago – this was a first for me and great fun! 10KM through the dirt was one big laugh, but having said this, it was a lot harder then I had expected! A few years ago I had a dream to run a full Marathon preferably in Boston or New York, but I found that after doing the half in Amsterdam a few times, I would hold off on that dream for now. But one never knows….