“My great motivation is to find out why.”

Strategy analyst Hans Veltman can talk for hours about research. But also about pensions. And when it all becomes too complex, he draws a diagram.

“Together with my colleagues in the Strategy Department, I’m responsible for analysing TNO’s research portfolio. We follow developments all around us – the National Science Agenda, government policy, the business world – and advise the board on strategic choices. Where can we play our part, and where do we have to play our part? My focal areas include the nine ‘top sectors’ defined by the Dutch government – fields in which our nation’s industry and research centres are world leaders – and how TNO can contribute towards them. I distil the huge amount of data available about them into diagrams, which our chairman can take with him to meetings at ministries and the like.”

Understanding

“I’m a numbers person with a background in behavioural sciences. As a psychologist, I’ve spent years working on mental workload – how you can use physiological signals like heart rate and blood pressure to tell how much information someone’s brain is processing. TNO has continued this research, for use in fields like aviation. To explain something clearly to someone else, you first have to understand it properly yourself. As a researcher, I don’t just want to establish that something’s happening, I want to know why it’s happening. But that applies to other things, too, not just data. To pension arrangements, for example, another passion of mine.”

Drive

“I sat on the TNO Staff Council for twelve years, including seven as its chair. Almost immediately, a major issue landed in my lap: the TNO pension scheme, and in particular the transition from final-salary to average-salary pensions. I felt a huge drive to understand this really complex material, and to make it comprehensible for others. After all, it affects a lot of people. I wanted to be able to explain to my colleagues how the transition would affect them financially. So I developed a simulation model. Because that allowed us to show precisely what the consequences would be for everyone concerned, it really strengthened our bargaining position. This was important, since all employment matters and reorganization plans at TNO are negotiated with the Staff Council and not, as is usual in this country, with the trade unions.”

Attached to TNO

“I’ve worked at TNO for almost thirty years and I’m far from done yet. By nature, I have a broad range of interests. At TNO I’ve been able to broaden that even further, in part thanks to my work for the Staff Council, and I feel hugely attached to the organization. There’s still a lot I can do here, and different contributions I can make, not least in my roles as Vice-Chair of the TNO Pension Fund and Chair of the Investment Advisory Committee.”

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