Vera De Glas works as an R&D engineer at Sioen Apparel in Ardooie. She was recently awarded an NBN award by the standards agency NBN for her efforts in standards development and promotion. She won this award within the 'large companies' category.
Vera De Glas is committed daily to the development of high-quality protective clothing. She is a member of some 15 European and international technical committees for protective clothing, textiles and personal protective equipment. Moreover, she works as a project leader on ISO 23616:2022, the international standard for cleaning, inspection and repair of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) of firefighters.
'My role at the standards level is a guiding force, with an extra focus on real hazards faced by PPE users and the current state of the art.'
In other words, Vera ensures that standards get the right revision, one that takes into account the current state of the art and needs of PPE users. For Sioen, standards are an important aspect since all produced items are certified to standards.
Vera started in 1996 as Plant Manager of the coating division of Sioen Fabrics, since September 2003 she has been working as R&D engineer at the apparel division of Sioen Industries. Vera was very soon allowed to take over the duties of her technical director, Ivan Deceuninck, on standards.
Vera's position means that norming tasks often involve evening and weekend work. Notwithstanding occasional comments from family and relatives, Vera tries to strike the right balance. She always wants to be well prepared for her work and her participation in meetings, both in terms of standardisation, and in terms of her other duties as an R&D engineer. Her passion to correctly protect PPE users, our customers, is a priority.
Global expert in firewear protection
Some standards that Vera follows are valid worldwide, the ISO standards and the EN standards, are valid in Europe. When drawing up and revising standards, different elements must be taken into account such as climate, different cultures... The climate in Tokyo, Paris, Canada or Belgium is different. As is the culture or technique of interventions. In 2018, we were asked whether we could develop a standard for cleaning the soiled PPE of firefighters. There was insufficient interest in this at European level, but there was agreement at international level. '
It was decided to develop an ISO standard for which Vera took on the role of project leader. This new ISO standard was published in April 2022 with the reference and title ISO 23616: Cleaning, Inspection and Repair of all Personal Protective Equipment.
The standardisation agency NBN gives awards to four categories:
- SME category
- Young experts category
- Non-profit & academic category
- Large companies category
This year an additional award was presented, the Exceptional Achievement Award. Centexbel was honoured to receive it for its cooperation on the Belgian Technical Document (DTD) of oral masks.
From left to right on the picture: Jean Pierre Cnudde emeritus professor UGent - Karin Eufinger Centexbel - Johan Haelterman NBN - Bram Rotthier head of department of energy technology at Odisee University College and technical director at LEVA-E - Vera De Glas R&D engineer SIOEN NV and Jean-Pierre Clairbois Senior Advisor at A-Tech.
Vera did not submit any additional motivation when registering on NBN's portal to claim the award. Yet Vera was chosen out of all the candidates. 'This indicates that NBN, the only standards agency in Belgium, is well informed about the work of their experts. ' Only a week before the award ceremony, Vera was informed that she had been chosen.
Nevertheless, she is honoured to receive this award for her efforts in developing and promoting standards for Professional Protective Equipment. 'I actually couldn't really believe it myself that I had been elected, I stayed at the back of the room until my name appeared on the screen, and I was called to the front.'
The award, a sculpture by artist Edmundo Solari, is now at Vera's home, but Vera stresses that she did not earn this award on her own at all.
'I do the work, but it is the company Sioen that allows me to achieve this work. I would therefore like to thank my employer Sioen and especially Michèle Sioen for giving me the opportunity to specialise, but also our customers for their constant trust. As well as the other experts I can contact around the clock to share thoughts and ideas, those who appreciate my work and motivate me to continue working actively on normalisation activities. '
Vera looks forward to continuing her work in improving the safety of PPE users. Her most essential task is to protect people correctly with good wearing comfort on top of that.
'Throughout my career, I specialised in developing and improving protective textiles. I am especially proud of my former activities as plant manager of the coating department and now of the achievements in the field of firefighters' suits. More than 300 000 firefighters around the world use our personal protective clothing.'
For Vera, being recognised for her contributions and commitments to standardisation by the NBN Bureau is important, but not the most important thing. For me, a satisfied and protected customer is the most important thing, they are the ones who motivate me to continue. It is important that our clothing protects people first and foremost and therefore follows the standards. And for that I don't need an award, because protecting people is worth more than an award.'