- Hello Laurent, can you please remind our readers of your job at BELGATECH?
I have been with BELGATECH since 26/08/2019 as Payroll & Fleet Manager. Since 07/2020 I have also taken over the Payroll of Abylsen Belgium and Pharmacos and since 05/2021 that of PI Lifescience.
The content of my function is essentially to provide support to the employees for all that concerns the “hard” HR but also the management of the fleet of more than 80 company vehicles. I also organised the 2020 Social Elections within the company and other more administrative tasks such as the renovation of the connectivity and telephony.
- Can you tell us about your passion in a few words?
I have been passionate about basketball since I was very young. Indeed, I often accompanied my father who was a basketball referee. Although gifted for this sport, I decided to start a football career in order to be with my classmates, but very quickly at 9 years old I opted for basketball.
- How did you become a coach and what does it involve?
I have been involved in everything in basketball: player, referee, coach, club leader BUT already as a teenager I knew I was going to be a coach one day. I was always interested in the “tactical” approach of this sport and I always had privileged contacts with my different coaches because I was interested in what they did. An injury when I was 20 years old put an end to my playing career and a few years later, after stopping my refereeing career, I started coaching. For the last 4 years I have been the head coach of a team that plays in the 3rd Division (in the 50 best teams in Belgium). Being a coach means tactical management but above all human management of a group of 12 people with totally different profiles.
- You recently realised your dream by coaching the Belgian national team at the European U16 Championship. Can you tell us more about this?
First of all, you have to know that the U16 National Team is the first National Team in the age categories, so we as a Staff this year made young people discover what “high” level basketball really is. This year it was even more true than the other years for this generation because normally Belgium evolves in division B (ranking 17 to 32) at the European level but this year, given the Covid, we met nations which are part of the Top World.
The preparation of this Championship started at the beginning of April with a group of 40 players and ended with a final selection of 12 players who played in this European Championship. As a member of the staff, we knew that we were going to live a great sporting experience but that it would also be very complicated, so we had to make the players aware throughout the preparation that they would have to be real competitors to face the challenge that awaited them. In the end, we can say that if we didn’t have the most talented generation, we had real warriors who never gave up.
- How do you manage to combine your position at BELGATECH with your job?
I’ve been working at BELGATECH for 2 years and for 4 years I’ve also been the head coach of a team that plays in the 3rd Division (in the 50 best teams in Belgium). Combining the two hats requires a lot of rigour because coaching at this level is not only giving trainings and coaching matches, but also preparing matches by watching videos of our opponents, managing a staff (assistants, physical trainer, doctor). In short, I have two lives, a professional life and a sporting life, and I try to ensure that one never encroaches on the other. My weeks are very full but I like it. I am also very lucky to have a partner who loves basketball and is my biggest supporter. Without that it would not be possible!
I am someone who doesn’t count the hours. When one’s job is a passion, it is a real pleasure to be able to do it and that is my case. I think I do my job well and the possibilities for development and the signs of confidence in me suggest that this feeling is shared by the hierarchy. Without this hierarchy I would not have been able to realise this dream because it has allowed me throughout this campaign to work flexibly and with sometimes staggered hours. Thank you to Frédéric for trusting me when I told him that the quality of my work would not change despite the long campaign that it was, thank you to my colleagues on the internal staff for supporting me and thank you to the Consultants who sometimes waited a little longer than usual to get an answer to their questions.
- In conclusion, what do top-level sport and teamwork at BELGATECH have in common?
I can think of many… Firstly, the management of a group of people from different backgrounds but with a common goal – to achieve objectives.
Secondly, the collective side. In basketball, no matter how good an individual is, he or she will never win a game alone, it takes everyone’s contribution. At BELGATECH it’s the same: success is much more often the result of a collective effort than that of a single person. Finally, and this is perhaps what makes me want to get up in the morning, it is the achievement and the challenge. I wanted to join BELGATECH two years ago because the objectives set out by the hierarchy were very ambitious, for the prospect of the 2020 social elections that I was going to be able to organise, and that was totally new for me. Then there was the challenge of changing the internet and telephone connection, taking over Abylsen’s payroll, and now that of PI. I am a man of challenges!
Every season we set ourselves a new challenge and I am just as happy when I achieve the goals I set myself, whether it is at a professional or sporting level. In short, we can say that I am a happy man for the moment but that I am well aware that the truth of one day is not the truth of the next and that nothing is ever taken for granted. Unlike my players, I don’t have the opportunity to savour a victory or to lament a defeat because as soon as the match is over, I have the next match in mind. In my job it’s the same, as soon as the salaries are calculated, I have to think about the reports!