Meet Davy De Clercq, Head of Sustainability, Drogenbos, Belgium

Davy started his allnex journey as a process engineer at our Drogenbos site in Belgium. After almost two decades working in operations, he is ready to use his on-site technical experience to contribute to the company’s vision for a more sustainable future.

Why did you choose to join the chemical industry?

When you graduate as a chemical engineer, it just seems logical that you will be working in an industrial chemical environment. That need not be the case. In fact, most of my classmates went into consulting, stepped into a technical sales role, stayed at the university for a PhD, or did an extra MBA…

And I have my mind made up pretty early: I want to join a big chemical production company and preferably in a role very closely related to production. I want to see the concrete result from work, like products coming out from the factory itself. I also like the social contact with the production operators and technical staffs.

How did you start at allnex?

I started working for UCB (former entity of allnex) in September 2002 – yes, it’s been 20 years – as a Process Engineer for the polyester powders unit.

What’s your development story, where are you now? What helped you to get there?          

I still remember my first day in Drogenbos and the first people I met. All colleagues were nice. My manager made it clear very early on that the expectations were high and I immediately got some projects assigned. A couple of months later I was already involved in an important capacity project with external consultants. In 2003, just one year after I started, I took the position of Production Supervisor for the polyester powders unit – which started my journey as a Production or Operation Manager for our variety of products at the Drogenbos site.

In my experience, there are many opportunities to explore your potential at work at allnex.  In 2011, for example, I became the European Operations Improvement Manager. In that role I was responsible for efficiency improvements across all the European, and eventually global sites. Afterwards I was OTD for powders and by 2014, I became the Site Manager for  the Drogenbos site (and later the combination Drogenbos and Schoonaarde) .

After spending almost all my career involved in operations, I was ready to try something new by the end of 2020. It was then I saw the internal job posting for the Head of Sustainability – well, this is it! I would love to be part of the company’s initiatives to drive growth in a sustainable way. That’s how I became the first full time Head of Sustainability at allnex.

How would you describe working at allnex?

We are a lean organization, so, on one hand, there is a high expectation on everyone to work his/her best. On the other hand, the company is agile and you have a lot of freedom to start new ideas and initiatives. There are many opportunities where one can make a difference and have an impact. As a young engineer, I got the chance to lead teams of operators and be responsible for a production unit. Such opportunities still exist today at allnex and it is what makes the company so unique.

What is the value of working for a leader in sustainability field?

Sustainability is about the long-term future. In our industry, we should not only focus on economic drivers, but also consider environmental and social factors as well. Achieving a balance among all those factors require innovation and actions. That’s exactly what allnex is trying to put forward, through our products, efficiency improvements on sites and even internal development programs for our colleagues. A lot can be done in this area!

What keeps you in the company?

There are a couple of things that anchor me here at allnex. Team spirit is important for me and I always found it in production and operation, for example. And of course the abundant development opportunities offered here: I still want to try many different things, like taking up a commercial role. I am confident that allnex is open to many possibilities.


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