The first and only Dutch female specialist in underground infrastructure!

Underground Infrastructure - Jojanneke AlwonJojanneke Alwon is 33 years old and the first and only Dutch female specialist in underground infrastructure. She lives in Driebergen, Rijsenburg and enjoys the free life in accordance with her motto “Life is just a big wave, enjoy the ride!”. Jojanneke is very passionate about her speciality in underground infrastructure and her other passion; traveling. Her favorite destination is Italy and her favorite wine is a Primitivo. She is an experienced traveler that wants to explore the world and everything it has to offer. She likes to go where the wind takes her, while chasing the sun. Lucky for us at OXplus, the wind took her to our Headquarters in Veghel. We sat down with Jojanneke and asked her a couple of questions to get to know this power woman better.

What is underground infrastructure?

Underground infrastructure consists of all cables and pipelines laid by the operator in the ground on sites of the operator and third parties such as municipalities. Think of waterworks, electricity, fiber glass etc. Everything that is underground, not seen and often times overlooked.

What is the reason you chose for OXplus?

After 12 years of working at ProRail and Acutec, I was looking for a new challenge. ProRail is a large company in which I worked in different positions and in different roles. Traveling is something that really makes me happy and that is something that I definitely want to do more. OXplus provided me with the opportunity to do so, while at the same time being able to stay in the Rail Industry that I like so much. It is this Rail Industry that I wanted to explore further in a different branche. There is no location in the South of The Netherlands where I don’t know everything about the underground structures, so now it is time for me to take this knowledge global for our OXplus clients. This way they can benefit from my extensive knowledge in waterworks, sewerage and fire extinguishing systems, including all ISO and NEN standards.

Can you tell us something about your background and previous work?

During my studies in facility management and business administration, I became a big fan of mind mapping. At that time ProRail was looking for someone to map the underground infrastructure networks, which back then was pretty much neglected on a national and international scale. When it is covered with sand and you can’t see it people often times panic about it or stay away from it. It was my job to create insights in the underground infrastructure networks and to think of an inventive way to visualize them. After the process coordination I kept working and studying hard to become an expert in this specialization in the knowledge domain water, fire and sewerage.

Wanting to map the underground infrastructure in the most effective way, I decided to draw up specific passports for each area. “How old are the structures?”, “Where are what cables located?”, “What soil surveys have been performed there?”, “Have there ever been accidents?”, “What are the number of bore holes?”, “Where did they take place?” and “What was the reason?”. The goal was to have a passport for each emplacement in which all of this data is recorded. This results in a unique document for each specific location.

The last years I have dedicated to build a dashboard by picking up a shovel and literally started digging to fill the dashboard with the right data. The dashboard answers all relevant questions like “What is it?”, “How old is it?”, “Where is the exact location of the items?” and “When does an item have to be replaced?”. This data and dashboard are the input for an automated system that determines exactly what the current status is and what exactly needs to be done or scheduled at what time.

What are you currently working on?

At this time I am working on the requirements of setting up a Sharepoint site for our project in Honolulu. The challenge is to have Sharepoint communicate with IBM Maximo. The equipments end up in Maximo and the documents in Sharepoint.

I am building the folder structure for all maintenance organizations within Honolulu, so that the main objects can be linked and the maintenance documents can be uploaded and pushed through both sides between Sharepoint and Maximo.

This starts with, for example, the construction of a bridge. “What should you consider?”, “Which materials are used?”, “What is the composition of the materials?” A composition with more gravel could be weaker. “Do the uprights have a different application?”, “What are the shapes / decorations and what effect do they have on the uprights?”, “When does maintenance take place?”, “How is the maintenance done?”, “Do they start driving first and then perform maintenance work?”, “Where will the cables and pipes be?”, “Are they in a concrete or plastic gutter?”. These are the things I specialize in and like to advise on.

What are your dreams and goals?

My first goal was to start in a field that still had to be set up. Underground infrastructure was a beautiful opportunity for this. I am a troubleshooter at heart, I like to streamline things that are not going well yet. What I have done at ProRail with the underground infrastructure passports is an example of this. It is nice to swim agains the current, that’s what I’m good at. This is also why I opted for the Rail Industry in which I could really stand out as a woman in a men’s world. That has been a strategic choice that worked out really well.

Initially I wanted to travel and enter the tourist sector, but the choice for rail has turned out great. This makes it possible for me to travel for my work given the international character of OXplus. The combination of doing what I love with travel is an absolute dream for me. Send me somewhere internationally and I say “Let’s go for IT!”. I’m planning to do this indefinitely and I have decided to only do what gives me energy, setting up beautiful projects and make the most of everything I do. I am dedicated. If you do something you have to do it right and go for it completely. That is the way I chase my dreams. In the coming period I want to travel as much as possible, see different cultures and work on the most beautiful projects. This gives me the highest possible fulfillment.

My personal goals are based on three pillars:
1. Take good care of yourself.
2. An international career.
3. Buy a house in Italy.

With specific questions for Jojanneke or questions regarding underground infrastructure, you can reach her by clicking here!

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