The energy transition needs sustainable infrastructures and people to build them
As Managing Director of LACROIX Environment and SAE IT-systems (LACROIX), Ronald Vrancken (56) is responsible for developing and implementing secure and reliable infrastructures for stable and environmentally friendly digitalization solutions in the water, energy and transport sectors. With a Master in Mechanical Engineering from the Catholic University of Leuven (B) and an MBA from EDHEC Business School (F), he has over 20 years of management experience in the electronics and automation industry.

In which business areas are LACROIX Environment and SAE IT-systems active?

LACROIX Environment is part of the global LACROIX Group, which specializes in connected technologies for a smarter environment. Together with the French brand SOFREL, SAE IT-systems offers a wide range of intelligent infrastructure solutions for smart water, smart HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) and smart grids. Our solutions collect, transmit, centralize and analyse data to control various systems, e.g. water pressure, power voltage and system status. Infrastructure operators can thus optimize their operations, cut costs, reduce their carbon footprint and improve service quality.

As an expert in the energy transportation industry, where do you see the challenges and opportunities to meet the increasing sustainability requirements of the coming years?

In addition to the environmentally friendly generation and efficient use of electricity, water and gas, the transportation and integration of renewable energy is of crucial importance. In short: sustainably generated energy must also be intelligently distributed and controlled. Smart grids play a key role here. After all, they have to master the complex requirements of increasing energy demand and changing energy sources. This can only be achieved with functioning real-time monitoring and management – exactly what we have been proven experts in with our range of solutions for over forty years.

The demand for qualified specialists, i.e. specialized engineers, IT specialists and data analysts who can handle the new technologies and systems, is growing. What are you doing to counter the widely lamented shortage of skilled workers?

As a company in the energy infrastructure market, we are characterized by long-term investment projects with a long life cycle, which is why short-term developments on the labour market have hardly any impact on us. Of course, we attach great importance to training and further education and offer our employees continuous learning and development opportunities. This is an essential part of our international corporate culture.

At present, we are hardly noticing a decline in the number of applications. One reason why LACROIX Environment Activity and SAE IT-systems are so attractive as an employer is probably the opportunity to develop and implement sustainable and future-proof energy infrastructures at a technologically leading smart grid provider. Another reason is certainly the wide range of tasks and international deployment opportunities. On the one hand, we cover all services from development, production, marketing, implementation and service for our customers. This is what makes the range of tasks so interesting and varied. On the other hand, we offer our employees numerous opportunities to work in our international subsidiaries if they are interested, suitable and flexible. Thanks to these development opportunities, they can significantly expand their knowledge, experience and expertise and pursue a career without having to change employer.

What is the corporate philosophy of the LACROIX Group?

Thinking outside the box! Interdisciplinary teamwork across departmental and national boundaries, open communication, accountability and mutual appreciation are part of our DNA as an international but regionally operating company. That’s also one of the reasons why I’m here and what motivates me every day.