Arnaud Nelissen Grade joined J-Tec Material Handling over six years ago and has played a pivotal role in leading the company’s growth and expansion in South-East Asia.
In his role as Sales Director Asia, Nelissen Grade was actively involved in setting up the new business, based in Thailand - which followed a thorough strategic market analysis and business plan.
Nelissen Grade is a versatile sales and business manager. He switched to a commercial career after experience in project engineering and construction management. He is experienced in working with multi-cultural teams to design and sell high-end, multi-technical projects in the food and chemicals industry.
Nelissen Grade is currently responsible for all commercial matters for J-Tec Material Handling in Asia with a specific focus on SEA. He leads a growing, cross-cultural team of employees including the hiring and training process, in concert with the company headquarters in Belgium.
Nelissen Grade graduated in 2009 from a Belgium university as an industrial engineer and his early career path led him to his first stint working in China for dredging company Jan De Nul.
“As one of 20 engineers - following 6 weeks training in Belgium - I was assigned to China as a representative for the follow-up of newbuilding. I ended up being more a construction supervisor, checking all aspects of shipbuilding, from steel joint welding to mechanical and electrical installation to full performance testing.
“I was further assigned to the last ship I supervised as Technical Superintendent on her maiden project in Papua-New Guinea where I spent about six months.”
After a brief period working for Cofely Fabricom as a project engineer on electrical & mechanical projects in the Netherlands and Belgium he was eager to pursue a career in technical sales. “I started working as a sales engineer at J-Tec. And from the very start, it was clear that this is really for me. I would say the rest is history,” he said.
Reflecting on how his career path shapes his approach to his current role, Nelissen Grade says his international experience helped him to prepare for his work in Asia.
“I have always worked with various nationalities and cultures. From Chinese workers in shipyards to Croatian and Filipino crew onboard the ships to Romanian and Polish contractors to working with Belgian and Dutch clients.
“I learned to switch cultural hats, express myself fluently in three languages (with bits and pieces of several others) and slowly wandered into the world of people management.
“This cultural aspect is arguably the most important one to understand and grasp, and ignoring the key differences between Asia and Europe will be detrimental to our success and growth.
“And, of course, working internationally made me understand that the world is a small playground that has so much more to offer than what most people see or want to see. Having an open mindset is important when actually moving to a continent that – in many ways – is the cultural inverse of Europe.”
Nelissen Grade has a strong interest in becoming an inspired leader with people management, technology, strategy and operations playing a major role in everyday responsibilities.
“I'm quite influenced by Simon Sinek and his approach towards managing a business as he has amazing theories about how valuable people are to your business,” he said.
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