Please meet...Paul Feenstra, vice president of Fluke EMEA

06 October 2021

Networking+ caught up with Paul Feentra of Fluke to talk life away from work

Paul Feenstra

Paul Feenstra

1. What was your big career break?

Early in my career while working at Philips Consumer Communications, I was trusted with the responsibility for all telecommunication network operators. I had the opportunity to work on the full scope of the mobile phone business, ranging from collaborating with R&D to implementing marketing and sales promotions. My manager at the time provided me with the opportunity to excel in this role at a relatively young age, offered me an MBA and basically set me up for an early career jump. This manager believed in me and trusted me to deliver my assignments. This made all the difference in fostering my ability to learn and grow, ensuring I was well placed to develop a great career path. At Fluke, I experience much of the same opportunities today. I enjoy learning and developing my skills by adding more and more responsibilities to my role.

2. Who was your hero when you were growing up?

My father is my role model. A self-made man. He has always taken control of his own career, making sure to teach me that hard work pays off. Studying in the evenings while balancing work with family life, he taught me nothing is handed to you for free. If you want to accomplish something, invest time and effort and you will get there. A second valuable lesson I learned from him was that starting off with a good education early in life will set you up for success and growth. My dad was a great teacher, a great family man, a hard worker and I still love spending time with him.

3. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?

“Success is a choice”. This is not strictly a piece of advice someone else has offered me, but it is my life’s philosophy for sure. In my younger years, I was quite the field hockey fanatic. I still am an avid sports fan, although I have stopped playing hockey myself. I try to stay in shape by picking up a few other sports now. In the old days, I used to spend five days a week on the field hockey pitch and the more hours I spent practicing, playing and training, the better my performance was. I think this simple example applies to both our personal lives as well as business situations. Success will come if you invest the time and effort to create it.

4. What would you do with £1m?

I would donate this money to the Dutch ‘Hartstichting’, the national heart foundation. Heart disease and vascular disease are currently the number one cause of death. These types of disease unfortunately run within my family. My mother died from a cerebral infarction and my father has suffered up to four heart attacks. My brother, uncle and other family members have all suffered from some form of vascular or heart disease, which has been fatal in some cases. Needless to say, I warmly support the great work the Dutch Hartstichting is doing.

5. If you could live anywhere, where would you choose?

Anywhere warm would be nice! I do love the Netherlands, but I really enjoy the climate and culture in Italy and Spain for example. Great food, great wines, a little more laid-back-living with those warmer temperatures and a little more sun would be very welcome.

6. What was the best thing about lockdown?

I would have to say that the extra time I get to spend with my family has been amazing. Before the pandemic, I spent a substantial amount of time travelling so I was away from home quite a lot. Lockdown has allowed me to spend more time with my children and my wife. We definitely have more opportunities to be together as a family.

7. What’s the strangest question you’ve been asked?

“What do you want to be when you grow up?” This is a strange question to me. It cannot be answered as I feel we never stop developing and learning. I still do not know what I want to be when I grow up and I’m 51-years-old. There is always more to learn and more to discover so I hope I will never really know the answer to this question. It is important to follow your interests and what gives you energy. Surround yourself with people and teams who help you achieve success. This should remain a centric pillar in all that you do.

8. The Beatles or the Rolling Stones?

Without a doubt: The Rolling Stones. As a student I worked in a bar and the Stones where definitely played more than the Beatles. I guess this could be more of an age thing, but it is also linked to a period of my life from which I have good memories.

9. If you had to work in a different industry, which one would you choose?

I like to work in the industry in general and would not want to change. From a Fluke perspective, what we contribute to Industry 4.0 is already substantial. The industrial transformation we are going through now offers the most amazing challenges that really get my business heart beating faster.