Evelien Huijs, Sales Engineer
In our new series profiling the people of Ocean Optics, we introduce Evelien Huijs, a sales engineer based in the Duiven, Netherlands, office of our EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) sales region. Evelien has a Master’s degree in Physical Chemistry, with expertise in the field of crystallography research. Aside from her professional work, Evelien also volunteered several years ago as part of a local government effort to relocate people displaced by wars in Syria and Eritrea. Since joining Ocean Optics three years ago, she has collaborated with various institutes and companies throughout Europe on a wide range of applications.
Q: How would you describe your role as a sales engineer? How are you helping customers to find insight into the questions that matter most to them?
EH: I collaborate with customers who are awesome at research to guide them to a fitting spectroscopy setup and support them in their choice. A typical project entails a technical discussion about the problems the customer is having or expecting to have with their measurements. Then, based on their budget and processes, we’ll guide them to the best solution and share our knowledge about why this solution will work to their advantage for the application. Also, we provide support after the sale. It is fun to work with the diversity of cultures and applications within my job. For example, I am working with a university in Belgium to set systems in place for their new educational courses by helping them with purchase documentation and technical details, and keeping in touch to get them started successfully. Meanwhile, I am planning a training session on a laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy system for a university in the Middle East. These are among many other projects at universities, institutes and companies within the Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Norway and other countries in Europe, Africa and Asia.
Q: What do you like best about working with Ocean Optics?
EH: The supportive, friendly and casual atmosphere among colleagues is what I value most. Everybody is willing to help and I really enjoy working with my colleagues from different departments throughout the company. Within the Duiven office we are a very close team; we always have lunch together, we share a lot of stories and laugh incredibly much. But once we get to work, we always step up for one another and work hard to achieve our common goals.
Q: What is your favorite project or customer challenge that you’ve worked on?
EH: That would probably be last summer when a customer from Eindhoven [in the Netherlands] was setting up a science booth at a pop festival. They wanted to measure the heartbeat from visitors with a spectrometer [reading] through a finger with the purpose of getting the visitors enthusiastic for science. Meanwhile, they could use their data for a study on alcohol influence on the heartbeat. The challenging part was that the setup needed to be robust because it would be used by festival guests, but also had to be very sensitive in the NIR (we used the Flame-NIR) because usually, the pulse in the finger is measured with a direct-attach clip with a large surface photodiode. Measuring all the separate wavelengths with our small array detector posed a challenge but we pulled it off in time. We really worked together with the customer and combined our knowledge to get the setup running quickly. The customer was very happy with our support and emphasized multiple times how much they valued our quick response, great knowledge and how much more involved we were then they had experienced when reaching out to one of our competitors.
Q: What is the most rewarding part of your work?
EH: That we can really make a difference for customers in support, knowledge and making some parts of their job easier. It is really cool if customers make a completely different choice from what they expected because they learned from our expertise.
Q: Earlier you mentioned how you enjoyed working with customers from diverse backgrounds and cultural perspectives. Is there something they all have in common?
EH: Yes. Everybody is nice if you listen to them. Some people won’t talk as easily as others, but most of them will be open once you show that you want to help and really get to know what they do in a non-intimidating way.
Q: Let’s shift gears a little bit with some “lighter” questions. What’s your favorite science fiction movie?
EH: That’s a hard question. It is not usually a type of movie that I watch at all. The Matrix would probably be the best option I could come up with.
Q: You’re based in the Netherlands. What do most people misunderstand about the Dutch?
EH: That not all people from the Netherlands live in Amsterdam. Most people in the world don’t know the Netherlands but do know Amsterdam, which is rather funny. So, a lot of people here just say that they come from Amsterdam to prevent people from asking what “the Netherlands” is.
Q: What super-hero power would you like to have?
EH: My first thought was reading people’s minds but thinking about it twice, influencing people’s minds would be way better. This power could be used by sales engineers like me to make people choose the right options, but it would be even better to reduce aggression in society and make an impact in the world by influencing people’s behavior for the better.