Meet our April 2023 Pathfinder, Olivier Vanlandeghem, a persistent problem-solver who works as a Project Manager at TST BAT. Olivier’s strong communication skills and passion for innovation are fueling a promising career.
A childhood full of outdoor exploration and adventures
Olivier and his younger sister were raised in Hannut, Belgium, near Liège, where his entire family spoke both Dutch and French.
Growing up, Olivier was not allowed to play video games or watch TV during the day, so he spent much of his time outdoors. He and his friends used to ride their bicycles to explore the scenic Belgian countryside and lush forests, surrounded by beautiful agricultural farmland and coastal views. “I had to go outside and play with friends every day, even if it rained,” he jokes. “I also built a lot of wooden treehouses, which was a lot of fun!”
Olivier was particularly energetic in his youth, which earned him the nickname “Speedy.” He started playing rugby as a way to channel his excess energy, which led to a friendship that would later influence a significant career change.
Applying a talent for communication
Olivier went to school in Ghent, which is in Flanders, also known as the Flemish Region—a Dutch-speaking area in the northern part of Belgium— where he completed all of his studies in Dutch. He had always enjoyed being creative and liked the idea of being in sales, so he decided to study marketing.
While Olivier was in school, he got a job at Mobile Vikings, a mobile internet company. “It was a very innovative and progressive company, where people were open-minded and always wanted to help the company evolve. I went over there one day without an appointment. I found the boss and told him I was there to apply for a job. I surprised him, and I guess my strategy paid off! I worked there part-time while I completed my education.”
Olivier learned English by communicating with colleagues and traveling, and he excelled at giving presentations on behalf of the company. He especially liked the fact that the founder of the company knew everyone’s names and their hobbies, and it showed him that there were companies that valued employees who contributed ideas and expressed opinions about how to make improvements.
Eventually, Olivier decided to find a job with a shorter commute, and he started working at a company that sold concrete blocks and other building materials to construction companies. While there, he developed a strong connection with a client he had helped often. The client recognized Olivier’s motivation and potential to make a greater contribution than his current job afforded, and he eventually persuaded Olivier to join his company, TST BAT. Happily, one of Olivier’s best friends, whom he met while playing rugby, pushed him to go there, making the decision to join the company a simple one.
Finding his place at TST BAT
Olivier’s role at TST BAT revolves around finding solutions to help his company execute projects successfully—a perfect outlet for his creative problem-solving skills and innovative mindset. Olivier is responsible for ordering materials, creating invoices for clients, documenting jobsites, and uncovering new ways to help keep the company moving forward.
The photo documentation process was time-consuming and frustrating. “I was the one who visited all of our sites to take pictures and then would have to upload them and organize them into folders,” Olivier says. “It always took me a lot of time to do this. We had tons of gigabytes of photos, but there were many times when we didn’t have the photo we needed.”
When they decided to abandon this time-consuming process, Olivier’s boss, Victor, encouraged him to find a better method. “He said, ‘I have a 360° camera. Find a solution that gives us a street view of our sites and lets us mark places on floor plans where there are issues, just like using sticky notes,’” Olivier recalls.
Using OpenSpace to document sites more efficiently
Olivier and Victor searched for a couple of months, and the first product they tried ended up being much too costly. “It included maybe 20 captures, and then we had to pay for each extra capture. If we wanted the floor plans with our captures, we had to pay for those, too,” Olivier recalls.
Soon after, they discovered OpenSpace and decided to try it on a big hotel renovation project that was starting in August 2022. “I knew I didn’t want to take pictures of every room on every floor of the hotel, so I was eager for us to try OpenSpace on this project. We wanted to see whether this technology was what we were looking for, and it was and still is,” Olivier explains.
The pilot was a success, and now TST BAT uses OpenSpace on every commercial project, which has greatly simplified the documentation process. “I document the hotel project every week to track the progress we’re making and also to keep an eye on the wiring and everything else installed behind the walls. That way,” he explains, “if there is a problem later, we won’t have to open up walls without knowing what’s there. I also use OpenSpace to manage relationships with subcontractors and hold everyone accountable, which helps to avoid disputes. And using the Field Notes feature, we found our replacement for the sticky notes, which was another thing we wanted in a solution.”
Olivier continues, “I use the Field Notes feature a lot on the hotel project, for example. After I’m done capturing, I go around the site to take pictures of any problems I see, and I tag each field note with a hashtag corresponding to the name of the subcontractor that would address each issue. When I get back to the office, I do a search for each hashtag to pull a list of field notes for each subcontractor, and in a couple of clicks, I can easily export the field notes into PDF reports that I send out to each trade partner. I can do all of that in minutes, right from the platform, and the reports make things easier and more organized for the subcontractors, too.”
But for Olivier, the benefits of using OpenSpace go well beyond the technology. “To me, OpenSpace is not just an app on my phone. I’m using it with my heart. I love being part of the OpenSpace community and having the chance to share my ideas and ways to do things better,” Olivier says.
What does being a Pathfinder mean to you?
“For me, being selected as a Pathfinder means I am an innovator in the industry,” Olivier shares. “But it also means that I am part of a community of people who all want to help make the work easier for their companies and for others’ companies, too.”
Olivier’s natural curiosity, strong interpersonal skills, and determination to make a difference helped him find his voice and chart a course to a bright future.
Pathfinders are power users like Olivier who excel at using OpenSpace capture. You can check out all of our published Pathfinder Spotlights in the OpenSpace Community gallery. If you’d like to be a Pathfinder, submit your Pathfinder application today.