We are proud to present our expanded management team. From now on, we can count full time on the cooperation of a master in his field: Martin Van Dromme.
25 years ago Martin took his first step in the diving underwater world and started his own diving company. He ran this company for 20 years and it became a sound name in the underwater world, thanks to his creative mind, people management and engineering background.
In 2016 he decided to take a new step in his career and took a sabbatical. He took the time to study; to become a better engineer, a better manager and a better economist.
Meanwhile, his son-in-law, Stijn Moens, started SUBMAR in 2019. Stijn already had 6 years of experience in managing and realising inshore diving projects. With SUBMAR he wanted to continue his experience in a company with a spirit and a passion for underwater works.
Why are you returning to diving? “The underwater world has always fascinated me. I can’t remember when it started. From my birth, I would say. Everything about it catches my attention, time and time again.”
You have taken quite some time. Why? “After managing my previous diving company for 20 years, I realised very well that I had fallen behind in a number of areas. Running an SME takes its toll on you and so you don’t always take the time to recharge. I thought it was important to do so now.”
What have you done in the meantime? “I started with the SME Management course. That was an intense course from the start. I can recommend it to every SME manager. The course ended with the drawing up of a business plan and a financial plan for a new company. By then, it was already clear to me that I would be starting up again. After that, I followed a number of technical courses to become a better engineer. I studied bearing calculations, seal design, PLC controls, strength theory, engineering plastics, machining, spark erosion, nozzle technology and CE certification. During that time, I was also allowed to realise a few wonderful projects for Arcelor Mittal-Ghent. There, I was embedded in their engineering department. I am eternally grateful to these people for the opportunities they gave me. And then I threw myself into the latest marketing insights and people management. After that I felt ready to take the leap again.”
Where do you want to go with SUBMAR? “As before, to realise wonderful underwater projects. But now with some new focuses. Stijn and I have spent many hours on the management philosophy we want to maintain. We have written this philosophy down in detail and we use it as our “bible”. As far as technology is concerned, we want to carry out high-tech projects in both the onshore and offshore world as soon as possible. And we want to do this at an ethically high level.
You can have a beautifully equipped company, but without good people, it will only gather dust. Well, those people, and by that we really mean everyone involved in SUBMAR in any way, are treated with respect. We want to be a beacon of confidence, sincerity and honesty for all of them. Our divers, technicians, secretaries and other employees are our greatest asset and are treated like “gold”. We always want to be able to look our customers straight in the eyes. And that also applies to the bank and the government. That way, we always sleep easily and never have to blame ourselves, whatever the future brings.
Like me, Stijn has a strong sense of justice. From the very start of SUBMAR, Stijn felt that the door should be open to everyone, including women. The first diver he hired was Marie, the first female professional diver in Belgium. Then Jonathan walked in and shortly afterwards SUBMAR could welcome Verena. And there is still room for more, men and women. Perhaps we can present the first all-female dive team soon.”
How do you safeguard the health and values of SUBMAR? “Everyone here realises only too well that we cannot do this alone. That is why a Board of Directors was established right from the start. But it is more than that, there is also a Council of Wise Men. SUBMAR’s figures are examined on a regular basis. The “dashboard” is supplemented and monitored on a daily basis. We work with a cash planning that is supplemented and monitored weekly. Smaller investments are discussed between Stijn and myself. Larger ones are presented to the Board of Directors. And the project or investment does not go ahead until everyone in the Board agrees. That takes a little more time, but it creates the greatest possible support. During a Board meeting, a lot of time is spent on the human side of our business. This is how we safeguard our internal and external human relationships. We only leave each other when everything, really everything, has been discussed.”