Project and Utility Manager Arno van Ravestein is one of the original team members at Pivot Park. His career started at Organon where he spent twenty years in the labs. Then, just a couple of years before the mass redundancy and transfer of R&D to America, Arno moved into a facilities and services role.
Our strength lies in the services we offer to our clients
After Organon left, Oss Life Science Park established a small facility management team to set up a new centre for pharmaceuticals within the existing infrastructure. Arno was hired to join the team. “Back then, it was like a ghost town. We had six nearly empty buildings and a handful of tenants. In those days, my main role was dealing with repairs and maintenance of installations that were part of the onsite buildings, but also lab renovations. It’s comparable to a family
moving into a new house and immediately renovating the bathroom; nearly every new tenant wants the lab to fit their specific needs and requirements. So we take care of it, and I like it. I learn something new every day by engaging with our tenants and solving problems.”
But Pivot Park is more than property management. “Our strength lies in the services we offer to our tenants. We do more than ‘manage’ the property, we take care of permits, train employees in first aid qualifications and manage the onsite restaurant. We also offer various services that are valuable to companies. A good example of this is CryoBank, installed by Pivot Park. Tenants can store their cell lines at -180 °C. Something like this is financially out of reach for individual companies, but as part of our infrastructure, it is viable and value-added. This is a community, and it is what makes our offering attractive to start-ups and also established companies. The growth has been a lot of work, but we have become more streamlined in our processes. We are no longer reactive to situations but proactive. So even when the new buildings are complete and capacity has increased, even as Pivot Park continues to attract bigger companies and more tenants in the future, it doesn’t matter that our team is small. We will manage because we have the procedures in place, and we are agile.”
Arno is very down to earth about his role at Pivot Park. “I’m under no pretence that my work is significant in improving global health. That’s what the tenants do. What I do try and do every day is to support those companies in the best way I can.” Another quality that describes Arno in his professional role is flexibility and a “let’s get it done” attitude. “We are not a large operation, and I can’t hide behind a big anonymous company with hundreds of employees and pass on responsibilities to another department. There are seven of us in Operations, and we hold each other accountable for getting things done. I don’t believe in a narrow job description, if something needs to happen, then we get it done, and I enjoy that team mentality.”
So what lies in the future?
“Since the foundation of Pivot Park, we have focused on ventilation and air treatment. Unfortunately, these are also our highest energy consumers, and as we are all very aware right now, we must save energy. Last summer, we completed the technical installation of one of our most significant projects. By converting the cooling and heating of the RK and RX buildings to Aquifer Thermal Energy Storage (ATES) with heat pumps, we saw an immediate impact on the electricity consumption in these buildings and the facilities also became non-dependent on natural gas. Where we previously experienced a considerable peak due to the cooling machines’ electricity consumption, the peak did not occur at all. Cold water sourced from deep underground provides the cooling now. It has been a big investment, but I’m very pleased with the result. Of course, we have more properties relying on natural gas, so there are still plenty of challenges.”
A small agile team behind the scenes of a growing Pivot Park
Pivot Park has become an essential location for biopharmaceutical innovation and drug discovery in Europe. The latest addition to Pivot Park is an eight-floor multitenant office and lab space, and the shell of the next building is already up. This additional accommodation is a testament to the steady, continuous growth of Pivot Park.
Behind the scenes is a small but agile team of Operations that has helped companies drive the development of innovative medicines and move forward in their work.