Recycling and recovery

Meeting Catherine Van Wouwe, International Business Development Manager at SUEZ Remediation

After graduating with a degree in civil engineering, Catherine Van Wouwe decided to focus on the environment. She turned first towards waste management and treatment, quickly discovering soil and site remediation, an activity that has fascinated her for 25 years.
After graduating with a degree in civil engineering from UCLouvain in 1995, Catherine Van Wouwe decided to focus on the environment, and specifically the structure of waste storage facilities.

This first experience only lasted two months because the soil remediation activity within her entity was growing fast and needed new recruits. Catherine joined in, leading an initial study on behalf of CCB (Chantier de Créosotage de Bruxelles) on the management and remediation of contaminated railway sleepers. Remediation thus became her chosen field.

“The sector was still in its infancy at that point. There was no structure yet, even in legislative terms. Everything still had to be constructed and the market needed real support, in terms of both studies and even sanitation solutions,” she explains.

Over the years, the company and its teams grew as the activity developed. Catherine took charge of preparing tenders and wanted to get involved from an operational viewpoint.

“Although there were still very few women in technical roles in our societies, I became a project manager because I wanted to work in the field. Over the course of the missions entrusted to me, I proved myself to my teams and gained recognition from my colleagues, both by knowing how to handle the tools and by finding solutions when problems arose on site”, comments Catherine Van Wouwe.

In 2005, Catherine was promoted to lead the project department for the Belgian market, going on to supervise the international market nine years later. Today she heads a team of four who are responsible for examining and preparing tenders in Europe and throughout the world, with opportunities to follow their completion in all its complexity.

I’ve been working within this activity for 25 years now. Apart from my loyalty to this company, which I’ve seen develop in the market, I’m fascinated by remediation, which I’ve come to know and to master over all the years and the projects I’ve been involved with, either in development or in execution. I also appreciate how it reinvents itself almost daily to design new solutions as new forms of pollution emerge. There’s no routine – every project is different. I’m learning all the time, which I find very fulfilling”, Catherine concludes.

In 2016, Catherine received a trophy on behalf of the SUEZ Remediation teams in Belgium for their efforts in innovation. This was presented by Kris Peeters, Deputy Prime Minister and Federal Minister for Employment, Economy and Consumers, in charge of Foreign Trade from 2014 to 2019.