Eric Moerkerk. Managing Director at Damen Maaskant Shipyards Stellendam
Eric Moerkerk was appointed managing director of Damen Maaskant Shipyards Stellendam (DMSS) in September 2018, following fourteen months as deputy director. “One of the best things about working for Damen is that it is a family company,” says Eric. “While results are of course important it has a much more collegiate, friendly atmosphere and much less top-down direction. My previous employer was a publicly-quoted company and the culture was tough and far more short-term, focused on the financials. Here, the senior management team is highly approachable and communications are generally very good both ways, again because of the feeling that the company is itself a family and everyone can talk to anyone else.
“Being the managing director here at DMSS feels rather like running the business as an owner,” he continues. “I am trusted to get on with keeping the yard busy and making it a success. We know what is expected of us and everyone gives their best because they feel they are integral to the business. I treat my colleagues at the yard in the same way, trusting them to fulfill their roles while my job is more the long-term planning and general oversight.
“We are in interesting times. The market is uncertain, not least with Brexit and the uncertainty it generates, particularly for the fishermen, who are important customers for us. They cannot invest until they know where they will be able to fish and that has an impact on the yard. There is also uncertainty over the future of pulse fishing which a lot of our customers use. This is also affecting many of our clients, particularly the smaller ones. The workboat maintenance sector is going well, however. Another of my priorities is the fact that more than 35 of our colleagues are over 60 years old, so we are keen to recruit new staff. Our location is rather remote, particularly for young people who prefer the cities, but we hope to attract them to this pleasant corner of the Netherlands.”