(Editor’s note: Accerion, based in Venlo, Netherlands, has highly skilled internationals representing five countries including Turkey, Bulgaria, Canada, Belgium and Brazil. This is part of Dispatches’ Tech Tuesday series.)
Successful tech companies are all different but have this one element in common – synchronicity … the shared experiences, personal development opportunities and sense of purpose that make a career far more than just a job.
When Accerion interviews for new hires, Robotics Engineer Sam Aleksandrov says, it’s about more than just skills and qualifications. It’s about bringing together talented self-starters with innate curiosity about technology, then incorporating them into a high-performance team.
“They’re looking at whether the person will fit in the team. It can be the best specialist – the ultimate engineer – but if they don’t fit into the team, it doesn’t work,” says Sam, 29.
If you do fit into the team, Accerion’s support starts early. Anticipating his professional needs started even before he started his job. During his interview, Sam mentioned that if Accerion needed him to do mechanical design, it would be great to have a particular CAD software. “On my first day, they handed me the license for Solidworks,” Sam said.
For someone under 30 years old, Sam has crammed a lot into his personal and professional life. At TU/e, he developed a new mathematical model for calculation of linear induction motors. Having decided the Netherlands is where they want to raise their one-year-old son, he and his wife bought a house.
Since university, he’s written 12 conference papers, three journals, has been invited to speak at an industry conference and has an agreement with his professors to complete his PhD.
Asked what Accerion brings to him, Sam says he’s growing as a person and a professional:
“I don’t feel like I’m doing it to earn money … and it brings me a lot of fun, working with nice people on nice projects.”
An unconventional career path
Sam’s background is in electromechanical engineering, coming to Accerion with an impressive curriculum vitae that includes PhD research in electromechanics at Technical University of Eindhoven. A native of Sofia, Bulgaria, he worked at Hyundai Heavy Industries, followed by a stint working on TU/e’s robotics team during his PhD research.
But in the last year of his PhD, and with only his dissertation to write, he decided he didn’t want a conventional career at a boring company. So, he started looking for options in robotics, querying other students, professors and colleagues for recommendations.
That’s how he heard about this unconventional robotics positioning pioneer called Accerion.
That was two years ago.
Accerion’s unconventional corporate structure
In those two years, he’s thrived in a company Sam says is a perfect fit, with a young team and like-minded colleagues. “We have similar interests. Most of us have a geeky nature. So, we’re all working on multiple projects at home,” including drones and 3D printing.
“We all have geeky hobbies and it’s easy to find counterparts to help you with solutions,” Sam says. “We’re compatible with each other. It’s not like we’re completely from different worlds.”
That compatibility extends up and down the Accerion flow chart and its unconventional corporate structure. “More or less, we’re on the same level in terms of communication. We were even starting some of our meetings with, ‘Whaazup!’ And it’s never a problem to talk with a senior person.”
That flexibility allows him to more efficiently structure his day. On a recent day in May, Sam worked from 6 a.m. to 8 a.m. before driving his son to daycare, then went to the dentist before returning to work … something larger companies frown on.
So, working at Accerion offers the freedom of an innovative startup but the stability of an established, growing company. “It’s not like you’re three people in a garage and tomorrow it’s over, so you have to go search for another job.”
Sam describes himself as more of a generalist than a specialist, interested in a variety of tech and tasks.
Working at Accerion gives him the creative freedom to work on a variety of projects.
“Being a generalist is very important to me,” he says. “I don’t want to write C++ code the whole day or design electric motors the whole day. We have a lot of variety in our work. That’s the creativity … that unlocks the creativity in your work.”
“Most people are doing robots as a hobby. I have the benefit of doing my hobby as work.”
Accerion was founded in 2015 by Willem-Jan Lamers after an epiphany – the global economy was entering the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Today, Accerion makes the world’s only 100-percent infrastructure-free positioning technology for mobile robots and automated guided vehicles in logistics, manufacturing and other sectors.
Interested in joining Accerion? Check out their careers page for open positions.