Team Interviews: Jarno Van Hemelen

Team Interviews: Jarno Van Hemelen


--Jarno Van Hemelen: Team Manager--


Jarno Van Hemelen is in his final year of his master in Electronical Engineering and is Team Manager at Punch Powertrain Solar Team

Where does your motivation come from to become part of Punch Powertrain Solar Team?
“Both my father and my grandfather are engineers. That might be part of my interest in technology. Because of this I also chose Engineering. We can study that class in all universities, but Campus Group T is Louvain was the most interesting as I can combine this with practical information and entrepreneurship. I already knew the Solar Team through the different Alumni Magazines that my father read. My interest in the team was already there when I started my Bachelor’s degree and has grown ever since. As I had a background as a student council president, I wanted a function in the Solar Team that had team management and marketing in a central position, which was why I chose for Team Manager.”

What do you do as a Team Manager?
“In the beginning it starts with making certain team arrangements. For example, as we are running a small  company I found it very important for the entire team to be present everyday and on time. Apart from this I am responsible for the entire planning of the build of the Solar Car. The whole production process of the Solar Car, from the drawing up of the concept over the production and assembly of the pieces to the testing of the car is in this timeline. It mentions all the different deadlines that the different departments have to make. The planning for the previous years are the basis of the planning, which we continue to fill in month by month with upcoming deadlines. It helps to build on the experience of previous teams. The moulding of our parts is a good example of this as we have to do this with external companies. These companies will always give us a specific day the parts will be ready, but experience has shown us that you better take some margin with these deadlines if we don’t want to get into trouble.”

Apart from the planning, what are the other aspects of you function?
“Together with Joren and Karel, I mainly maintain the contracts with our main sponsors. For all the others we put the responsibility with the team members. They have the post contact with their specific sponsors fort heir department so it is logical that they do this themselves. Apart from this I have a miniature coucil meeting with the three department heads, who keep me informed on what is going on in each department. In this way we have a shorter chain of communications to discuss and approach certain problems that may arise.”

What is the most importan thing that you will remember from this?
“As many of my colleagues must have already said, you get a huge amount of practical information. You don’t just learn how to put the theory into practice, but you get to know so many new kinds of technologies and materials. Things I never even heard of before. Thanks to the close coöperation with many different companies, who help realise this project, you gain a whole lot of tehcnical knowledge that would take much longer to learn outside of this project. At last there is also the team spirit: You work with 15 different guys to reach one goal and everyone goes for it 100%. It’s a great feeling!”