TOP mechanical engineer looks beyond borders

As a mechanical engineer you want to make the world better, more beautiful and more pleasant with machines, devices and entire production systems. Revolutionary inventions and sustainable innovations get the hearts of most engineers racing. But before you, as a technician, let your creative brain get excited about tackling the next challenge, it is advisable to take a step back. Let reality sink back in for a moment.

What is the added value of the innovation? Do people really need it? Are we better off? Are there no other problems/challenges that should be solved first?

When I ask myself these questions, it is perhaps no wonder that I ended up at a very creative, diverse, broad, practical and innovative company that mainly deals with one of our basic needs; food. Innovating with TOP is great, but this “perspective giving reality” keeps coming back.

Yes, improving current situations is a good thing. In our western world these are things like making food healthier, longer lasting and much more accessible. But when I look at the whole world, not everyone has come that far. In the Netherlands, for example, there is a challenge to retain more vitamins and taste in products that have a shelf-life of 3 weeks. While there are also many countries in the world where the challenge is to produce or import enough food to feed its own population.

A lot of knowledge and experience is available in the western world. Therefore I challenge you to share this more with the rest of the world. There are many countries in the world that can use your knowledge, experience and skills in the rebuilding and development of their country. If you are looking for a big challenge (engineer or not) where you can make a big impact, then I advise you to look for challenges in countries that are not yet as far as we are.

I myself started to help rebuilding a small community in Kono in Sierra Leone 2 years ago. Meanwhile there is a small primary school with over 80 pupils who yearn for more classrooms and ten additional farmers have been farming. (More information can be found on

What will you do – as a person, as a company – to make a significant positive impact on this world?

Jelco Jousma