In a few days, I will transition into a new role (and career). On the first of June, I will start as program manager for sustainability at BAM Infra, a leading civil engineering contractor in The Netherlands with far-reaching ambitions for a sustainable future. That’s the lede, and I’ve learned not to bury it. Now, for the inverted pyramid:
In recent years, my work has increasingly focused on addressing the existential risks we’re facing: climate change, biodiversity loss, increasing inequalities, and its consequences. I helped build the social and cultural infrastructure I thought we needed to improve our lot and that of all living beings. But time is running out. Social infrastructure — strengthened networks, innovation capacity, education, imagination — takes years to impact. To avert some of the worst consequences of climate change, we have weeks. We have to act decisively now.
We connected with and engaged tens of thousands of people to strengthen social infrastructures. Nonetheless, I felt that I wanted to have a more immediate impact personally. I saw how small decisions by the companies we worked with had a significant and direct impact on the world. Businesses can be a driver of change. So, I started looking for opportunities to work with a business.
BAM is a perfect fit. We cannot do without the infrastructure they build, roads and rail, bridges, and sluices. And we need to make sure this essential infrastructure, and its construction, contribute to a better world for all people.
I have faced this dilemma before. Trained to work on international development policy, I longed to see the results of my work more directly. So instead of a career at a Bretton Woods Institution (or similar), I opted for work at smaller NGOs and initiatives. These, however, lacked scale.
BAM has scale. Founded in 1869 as the Bataafsche Aanneming Maatschappij, it is one of the largest construction companies in The Netherlands. BAM Infra is their civil engineering operation. Their projects include everything from the world’s largest sea sluice to circular, biodiverse charging stations for electric ferries and infrastructure for roads and rails. Last year, they won the award for the most sustainable construction company in The Netherlands.
Last week, I packed up my office. Everything and everyone has found a new place. All the Ts have been crossed and Is dotted. Untangling myself from the networks and commitments I’ve been part of for years wasn’t always fun or easy. I’m sure to miss aspects of my past work, the dynamics, the range of people and topics, and the travel. But I’m also sure I will get something new and exciting in return to help me grow and evolve.
I will take two months to focus exclusively on my new job. I will not write updates for this private side project during this time. If you’re a subscriber, your subscription will be paused, and you will not be charged. Reach out to me if you have any questions in this regard.
Thanks for reading and being around. I look forward to telling you all about my new work in about two months!
All the best,