René Pingen assumed the role of Utilus’ new CTO at the beginning of the year. While this promotion primarily recognizes Pingen’s professional accomplishments, establishing the CTO position was a necessity to keep up with Utilus’ rapid growth. The new CTO sheds light on his career path and how his ambitions align with Utilis’ strategic vision to expand its business and workforce in 2023.
The CTO Academy
In an overburdened labor market, accommodating Utilus’ growth is a significant challenge. ‘Especially if we want to maintain our high level of quality. Scaling one’s workforce isn’t just about offering the highest salaries in the market.’
According to Pingen, it’s about building relationships and finding exceptional professionals – individuals with the right skills and mindset. ‘Recruitment plays a crucial role in finding them,’ says Pingen. ‘We further distinguish ourselves in the labor market by emphasizing content, entrepreneurship, and ambition. Working for Utilus means being content-driven, eager to learn, and capable of handling responsibility swiftly.
‘To foster long-term commitment among professionals, we’re developing what we call the CTO academy. This educational program is designed to assist technical experts and solution architects. The academy empowers our team members to develop themselves along three key pillars. The first focuses on personal development, including leadership and communication skills. The second pillar aims to enhance IT skills through learning sessions, expert webinars, and certifications. The third concentrates on the skills required for Utilus’ project approach, such as stakeholder management and project scaling. This program will enable our architects to continually learn and evolve into even better architects, potentially advancing to future CTO positions.’
‘The CTO Academy is part of a broader scale-up plan that Utilus is currently developing,’ adds Pingen. ‘Similar initiatives are in the works for our project managers and project owners. In 2023, we’ll expand our team with skilled and ambitious individuals in line with our business philosophy.’
Balancing Technology and Business
Pingen’s qualities and career trajectory set the benchmark for Utilus’ professionals. He combines technical expertise with a broad understanding of business. Now 36, he studied software engineering at the TU in Delft. ‘I gained valuable knowledge, and after obtaining my master’s degree, I wanted to do more than just code. I had promised myself that I would explore various business sectors and engage in commercial IT projects.’
True to his word, Pingen took a position as an IT consultant at KPMG. He worked tirelessly, juggling multiple assignments, from software projects to building data platforms and overseeing high-level strategic reorganizations. Pingen explains, ‘At KPMG, I evolved into a versatile IT professional. After nine years of engaging projects for various clients, I felt it was time for the next step.’
‘Honestly, I hadn’t heard of Utilus before, but I knew Tobias Kuipers (CEO) and Rolf Bonninga (Partner) by reputation, primarily due to their previous involvement with the Software Improvement Group, a prominent company specializing in software quality. I wrote my thesis in that field. After years of assessing other companies’ quality, Tobias and Rolf decided to build their own software. They founded Utilus to address business challenges by delivering high-quality IT solutions.’
‘What struck me most was that, despite being a startup at the time, Utilus had positioned itself to undertake strategically important software projects for major companies. The blend of a startup culture and the ability to tackle strategically vital projects convinced me to accept Utilus’ offer.’
Pingen’s journey at Utilus began as a Solution Architect. ‘I started with a highly ambitious project. Energy supplier Eneco tasked us with creating a virtual power plant, essentially building software that balances electricity from wind farms, solar farms, and traditional power plants in real-time. The system responds to events and market requests. What a challenge!’
This assignment perfectly balanced technology and business, precisely what Pingen was looking for. ‘Focusing on developing IT solutions for complex business problems and exploring new business areas is my forte. Utilus offered me the chance to lead a major ambitious project, and I seized the opportunity without hesitation.’
According to Pingen, Utilus’ approach to its employees is fundamental to its strength. ‘Quality doesn’t solely derive from a predetermined methodology; in our philosophy, as said, it stems directly from the quality of our employees. At Utilus, employees have the opportunity to work on ambitious projects and quickly assume positions of responsibility. However, they must be prepared for the challenges. It’s not for everyone, but if you’re driven by content and ambition, Utilus is the right place.’
Plans for 2023
Creating the CTO academy is one of the top three priorities for the new year, explains the new CTO. The other two are:
Building a skilled team of architects and engineers
Ensuring consistent delivery of high-quality solutions through the Utilus software delivery method
If you’d like to learn more, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us!