Norman Nieder-Heitmann: From specialist engineer to business developer – full flexibility at Accerion

When South African native Norman Nieder-Heitmann was building on his engineering background and looking for a more customer-facing role, Accerion encouraged him to play to his strengths.

With a degree in Industrial Engineering from Stellenbosch University near Cape Town, Norman has made the shift from specialized engineering into a fully customer-facing business development role.

Norman worked at a packaging automation equipment company in South Africa and enjoyed the innovative and entrepreneurial spirit of the company. It informed his way of thinking. He was looking for a company with a similar culture when he came to the Netherlands.

So, he crafted a description of what he really wanted to do – sales but with technical products, a “sales engineer” – then began searching for the right opportunity. He found it at Accerion, a fast-growing company providing a unique positioning technology for mobile robots.

What really attracted him to Accerion was the innovative products and the dynamic entrepreneurial spirit of the company.

This is a pivotal time at Accerion, he notes, as the company grows into a global firm.

Flexibility, growth and impact

It’s also a time of greater flexibility in roles. Putting the right person in the right position for optimal impact isn’t always obvious. If an employee starts at Accerion as a developer but has the potential to work directly with clients, they have an opportunity to move into a more customer-facing role that still draws on their technical expertise, Norman notes.

“There are a lot of growth opportunities at Accerion. You can gain knowledge through experience and also grow into a role that fits you well. There’s that flexibility here to find your feet,” says Norman.

Making an impact is the essence of Accerion, he added. “You start with ‘why … why does Accerion exist?’ I think it has a lot to do with Vincent (Burg) as a person, his way of thinking.”

Vincent, CEO, and founder Willem-Jan Lamers set out to solve a problem, Norman says, “but it’s also a personal thing. I’ve seen they have a hunger for creating something unique and then push themselves and learn … learn more about what it is they can do with their lives and their time. They want to work with people with like-minded vision and personal growth plans. They want them on their team.

“It’s a very personal mission.”

To complete that mission, everyone brings their whole selves to work and pitches in to work on core responsibilities.

“There’s a little bit of magic with Accerion. You’re not employed as a resource; you’re employed as a person with talents,” Norman says.

“Accerion knows that if they have the right people, the results will come.”

For a young company (founded in 2015), Accerion has gained significant traction in the market. That’s the technical side. For anyone joining the company, “it’s growing and evolving and is very dynamic,” Norman says.

“You have the opportunity to build something new, to be part of a really entrepreneurial, dynamic team taking this vision to the world. It’s the feeling of being part of something significant.”

“What I like best is having the opportunity to work with really innovative and interesting customers and being able to bring value to them. And this is in a very dynamic and supportive environment, working with great colleagues, very competent people.”

If you’d like to join our young, diverse and growing company, check out our careers page for open positions.