InAVation Awards Project Manager of the Year 2014 winner talks to InAVate

Ahead of the 2015 InAVation Awards we catch up with Pieter van Baarle, winner of the Consultant/Project Manager of the Year at least year's event.

Erasmus University recently underwent a €14m upgrade to ensure it stayed ahead of the competition, both in terms of increasing the numbers of students on its roster and making sure its ratings against other higher education establishments remained high.

Facilities manager Pieter van Baarle masterminded the project with a central aim of creating a good teaching environment. He stipulated the seating, temperature and lighting had to be good, as well as the acoustics of the rooms. Also, he made it a priority to ensure there was strong connectivity with the outside world, and that lectures could be streamed live and on demand.

In such situations a good working relationship with an installer is critical, and Van Baarle worked with installer Hulskamp Audiovisueel and consultant Gert van Ginkel from Defender Projects to achieve the goals that had been set out.

When comparing a broad range of AV integration projects, it becomes clear that the more effective projects occur when the client has a good technical knowledge and can bounce ideas off the integrator in order to achieve the installation’s overall goals. It was his background in broadcasting, according to Van Baarle, that gave him the knowledge to achieve such a feat in project as large as this.

Van Baarle graduated from the Royal Conservatory in The Hague where he studied to be a Sound Engineer. After a brief period in the music business, he rolled into the world of broadcasting where he was active for almost 20 years in the Dutch National Broadcast Company.

“When I first started, the editors in the editorial office used typewriters,” he remembered. “By the time I left in 2009, the editing and broadcast processes for TV, as well as for radio, were completely digitised. I was at the forefront of this development, where I could play a leading role. It was a great learning experience in a rapidly changing audio-visual world.”

He has been in his current role as head of the Media Support Centre at Erasmus University in Rotterdam for the past four years. He describes it as a small department charged with developing and supporting online learning.

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