Sjoerd Blüm joins Schiphol Aviation Solutions

He already announced it on his personal LinkedIn profile but now it’s official, Sjoerd Blüm has officially started at Schiphol Group Aviation Solutions. We couldn’t be more excited to have him on board. He is regarded as a thought leader in the airport & digital domain and he’s an incredible colleague to work with. It’s a good time to ask him a few questions, before he’s off talking to other airports about the value that our products bring to AMS and how other airports can also generate this value.

1. Sjoerd, do you prefer to stay up late or to wake up early?

I prefer to do both – sleeping is boring!

2. Name a role model who has inspired you in your career?

First off, I have been inspired by numerous colleagues, both who worked in my teams and who I reported into. They all have been role models to me.

But given my new start at Aviation Solutions, here are two role models who we all can relate to:

  • I admire Steve Jobs for how he had this ability to spot what people needed – before we were even aware these needs existed.
  • Another person I admire is Ralph Hamers who, as CEO of ING Bank, made the statement: “We want to be a tech company with a banking license.”

I will be trying to take their lessons into my work as of today.

  1. To help find solutions for airports, for needs they didn’t think existed, but are now a possibility because of the technology.
  2. To transform our airport industry so that we all treat IT & Data at the very core of the quality we offer to our passengers, airlines and other stakeholders.

3. Tell me something you learned from the first job you ever did?

That’s the lesson: “Don’t be shy. Your opinion is worth to be heard. Fresh eyes can make a difference!”

4. Describe one of your favourite work memories?

I love to think back to the very first “brainstorming session” that I organised in Greece while working there for ING. I completely messed up….

The learning from the failure was super valuable: I approached the session assuming that “the Dutch way of working” would work anywhere. During that session, I learned the hard way that -when you work internationally- you should always have your eyes, ears and heart open to find a way of working that suits both your personality and the international context you are working in.

5. What’s the best advice someone has ever given you?

The advice that has brought me the most was given to me in 2014 after 10+ years in the tech & data field in the financial services industry. Someone said “Join the aviation industry – it’s the best industry for the combination for tech & data magic!” I haven’t regretted the move for a single day and that advice still holds today.

6. Ok, last question, what is it that excites you about joining the team?

In my 7,5 years as digital leader in the airport IT domain, I often realised that collaboration in our sector could greatly benefit other airports, passengers, and airlines. Instead of all trying to find our own solutions to airport specific problems, we can work together to increase the rate of innovation.

It’s my craving for innovation that makes me so excited about my new role. In my career as CIO I spent a lot of time contributing to the world IT standing committee of the ACI. We help our industry in setting standards through ACRIS, sharing best practices in domains like cybersecurity twin transition and digital transformation. But a thought that never escaped my mind was “How can we take this to the next level? How can we make this even more tangible”?

Well, that’s exactly what I’ll be doing with the team of Schiphol Group Aviation Solutions. The team has made great progress in 2022: several innovations created and used at Schiphol can also be used at other airports and we are collaborating with startups to test new ideas. I’m very curious about where we stand in twelve months from now.

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