MEA-nl’s Team of Professionals

The power of MEA-nl lies in our team. We are passionate and dedicated professionals from both the scientific, NGO, corporate and technical sector. Our knowledge, expertise and skills are available to assist you with research and innovation. Let us introduce ourselves further…

Etienne Brutel de la Rivière MSc

Etienne Brutel de la Rivière MSc

Managing director

Working on solutions on the cutting edge of marine biology and technical innovation. Solutions that help both the shipping sector and governments to protect the marine environment. This requires innovative test methodologies, in which systems are tested under the most challenging circumstances. Developers and manufacturers must be challenged to the upmost to continuously optimize their systems. This embodies the vision of MEA-nl. As managing director, Etienne has the task to keep MEA-nl focused at this point on the horizon, at everything MEA-nl is involved in. After finalizing his study maritime corporate management, Etienne has been active for 20 years in different management jobs at ship-owners and the Royal Association Of Netherlands Ship Owners (KVNR). As one of the founding members of MEA-nl, he is a ‘conductor of a unique ensemble of specialists’ from many different expertise areas. Contributing to the preservation of our planet and its oceans for future generations is his continuous objective. Etienne is also part of Netherlands’ delegation to IMO.

Frank Fuhr Dipl. Biol.

Frank Fuhr Dipl. Biol.

Scientist / Operational director

What is the best way to test the effectiveness of ballast water management systems? To be a pioneer in this ground-breaking area, is what motivates Frank. He has finalized his study in biology and fishing in 2000. After that, he has participated in various scientific research projects all focused at the human role and impact on the marine ecosystem. Frank has been involved in the ballast water issue since 2001. As researcher, he was involved in 14 type approval projects for ballast water management systems. In 2002, he became one of the founding members of MEA-nl. At MEA-nl he carries out research focused at the effectiveness of ballast water installations. As executive director, Frank ensures the technical feasibility of all of our operations and tests.

Aart Wijker

Aart Wijker

Project manager / Superintendent

Aart has worked his entire life as marine engineer. After following nautical college in Den Helder he started working as mechanical engineer at the Royal Navy. He followed several in-company trainings at the Navy. Subsequently, he worked for several years at the submarines department, followed by providing training and working in inspection teams. In his final years at the Royal Navy he has sailed on several frigates. The sea kept calling, and Aart became head marine engineering on the Three Master ship ‘Clipper Stad Amsterdam’. For a five year period, Aart worked ashore as quality controller at a stairlift manufacturer. He returned to sea by becoming marine engineer at the three master ‘Eendracht’. He finalized his working period at the Eendracht as superintendent. Since 2017, Aart teaches on a part-time basis at the maritime academy of Enkhuizen. Aart fully endorses the on-going emphasis on environmental regulations and MEA-nl’s objectives. With his knowledge and broad working experience, Aart is of great value for MEA-nl’s team.

Astrid Hoogstraten

Astrid Hoogstraten

Scientist / Project Manager

Using science to make a difference and protect the planet, that was always Astrid’s main goal. Duringher marine biology study at the University of Groningen, where she developed a keen interest in phytoplankton and marine chemistry, she joined several scientific cruises and field studies that took place all around the globe. The love for the oceans never went away resulting in researching the effects of increasing carbon dioxide concentrations on marine phytoplankton. After focussing on her family for a couple of years she started looking for a new position in which she was able to contribute to environmental protection. At MEA-nl, she has found her new spot and the opportunity to further develop her knowledge and skills.

Ruud van den Berg

Ruud van den Berg

Operations engineer

Making sure that everything works well on board of the MEA-NL-innovator. This is the challenge of ‘Handyman’ Ruud van den Berg. Ruud was educated for the food-sector and he has worked in the catering industry. When he accepted a summer job at MEA-nl, his passion for technology grew. Furthermore, Ruud has currently started an education for mechanical engineer. But, his most prominent learning spot is MEA-nl, so says Ruud himself. ‘At MEA-nl, I can learn first -hand from the very best in this profession’. Combining his technical work with marine biology considers Ruud as an extra bonus. ‘At MEA-nl we do research that saves our oceans and seas. I think it is terrific that I can do my very best to contribute to this important work’.

Peter Appelman

Peter Appelman

Lab technician

During his chemistry study, Peter has followed a traineeship at a water cleaning company. Here, the spark of enthusiasm was lit for biology as well as chemistry. Initially, Peter followed his head and chose chemistry as his specialism. However, his heart kept beating for biology as well. Plant and animal life has kept him occupied in his leisure time ever since. In the meantime, his work at three manufacturers in the plastic industry and dental ceramics solidified his chemical experience. At the last mentioned job, Peter has worked thoroughly on issues like quality control, R&D and quality systems. As a professional person, Peter can be described as a specialist with a keen eye on social skills and personal development. Within the MEA-nl team, Peter is very happy to work at the intersection of chemistry, biology – and – quality control. Here, his passion, experience and skills are combined in the best way possible.

Linda Douwes

Linda Douwes

Lab technician

Linda has chosen her study as chemical laboratory assistant because of her interest in biology and chemistry. After graduating in 2004, she starts her career in the cosmetic and the pharmaceutical industry. Linda has specialized herself in the field of spectrometric methods. However, her interest in biology remained. In 2013, Linda meets her perfect challenge at MEA-nl: assisting scientists in laboratory tests and marine biological analyses. By following internal training and courses, she develops herself further in areas of phytoplankton, bacteria, micro-zooplankton, and physical water parameters. Also, Linda has followed a course about ‘internal auditing’. This has enabled her to carry out such audits herself. Working at MEA-nl offers new challenges each day. Linda enjoys all this to the upmost and carries her camera everywhere she goes. You can see the result of this on this web site: many of these pictures are shot by Linda.

Alexander Kesteloo

Alexander Kesteloo

Lab technician

Alexander has studied chemistry at the MBO Nova College in Beverwijk. After that he spent several years working at different companies in the food and pharmaceutical industry. Alexander has found a variety of new challenges at MEA-nl. Being interested in marine life, every day is a day full of new experiences. Working at one MEA-nl’s fundamental branches, the laboratory, is very full-filling for him. Because of his working experience, he can bring a lot of fresh and new ideas. In his private life, Alexander enjoys playing Judo and Dart and breeding the cat species Main Coon.

Janneke Pietersma

Janneke Pietersma

Lab technician

After secondary school, Janneke was occupied in the care for the elderly. Like her professional approach, she did so with all of her heart and soul. During this busy job, she had a lot of focus for ‘the personal touch’. This also illustrates Janneke’s dedication as lab assistant and micro-biological analyst at MEA-nl. Her interest in biology and life forms already started at primary school. After, and during, her lessons in biology she already drew pictures of birds and immersed herself in studies at anatomy and pathology. In MEA-nl’s laboratories, with an emphasis on the micro-biological lab, she fully thrives. To quote Janneke herself: ‘The Laboratory Is My Second Home’.

Inge Zomerdijk

Inge Zomerdijk

Lab Technician

Inge grew up on a farm very close to the MEA-nl premises. As a child, the day-to-day practice of the agricultural existance coloured her daily life. Her real interest for a profession, however, focused on micro-biology. Logically, an education in Life Sciences in Leeuwarden, Friesland followed. Inge’s interest, education and skills are a ‘perfect fit’ for the laboratories of MEA-nl. Analysis of plankton in sea, marine and brackish water and – the much smaller – bacteria and viruses are all part of her important tasks at MEA-nl.

Thomas Oudeboon

Thomas Oudeboon

Data Controller

Thomas followed and completed his teacher training geography in Amsterdam. Biology also drew his attention but geography appealed to him as a smarter option. During teaching, Thomas discovered that the subject matter he taught motivated him more than the profession of teaching itself. During his job as facility employee at the energy center ECN in Petten his attention shifted towards other fields of natural science. Energy generation and, later on, geology captured his attention. At the engineering company Terrascan he carried out soil and water surveys and designed 2D geographical maps and images. During this job, he obtained several certificates for these work areas. Finally, his attention was drawn towards biology. He is very content to work on one of the key products and processes of MEA-NL: reliable measurements and data streams.

Nicole Rienstra-Smit

Nicole Rienstra-Smit

Office Manager

Nicole has studied at the Fashion Business School in Heemstede and has followed general business studies. Before that, she has worked many years in the fashion industry, at local press organization and a printing office. Nicole excels when the pressure rises, like she states herself. Together with Erzsebet, she holds the ‘administrative steering wheel’ of MEA-nl. Arranging and organizing the many aspects of her daily work, fits her like a glove. Outside of working hours at MEA-nl, Nicole is active in a variety of activities for kids and youngsters. She is a handball coach and accompanies various activities at school.

Erzsébet Visser

Erzsébet Visser

QA Officer

Erzsébet loves variation and challenges. Erzsébet has gathered administrative experience at a law firm. At MEA-nl, she started in 2013 as office manager. She fully enjoys this dynamic task. She is eager to learn, effective and flexible. She likes to leave work only when the job is done and is happy to pick up new tasks. Consequently, there is ‘never a dull moment’ for Erzsébet at MEA-nl. At the end of 2016, she accepted a new challenge within MEA-nl as quality officer. Further development in this job is her main priority. Erzsébet does this in close co-operation with Etienne and Rob, and assists Nicole when necessary. Also, she takes care of editing and graphic completion of MEA-nl’s reports. With three children still living at home, Erzsébet is alsohappily occupied outside of her working hours at MEA-nl.

Edo Donkers BSc

Edo Donkers BSc

Business Developer

Since a traineeship for his study Environmental Sciences, Edo has always kept a passion for protection of the worlds’ seas and oceans. After his study, he started working for the Dutch environmental NGO North Sea Foundation. Subsequently, he worked as a an advisor for the director’s board of the Port of Rotterdam. Implementation of the new European regulations for ships’ waste – as well as ballast water – were his main subjects at both jobs. After that, he became a marine awareness trainer (STCW Model Course) at the ProSea Foundation. Air pollution, climate change and alternative (wind-assisted) propulsion have been his major focus areas at subsequent jobs as consultant. At MEA-nl, Edo is focused at market and product development within and outside of the ballast water market. MEA-nl’s test facility and laboratories can be utilised for far more market areas. This widening scope of MEA-nl’s activities, by means of marketing and acquisition are Edo’s main tasks. Development of Ship Compliance tests such as Vessel General Permit testing and IMO scaling tests are priorities for the short and mid-long term.

Dr. Cato ten Hallers-Tjabbes FRIN

Dr. Cato ten Hallers-Tjabbes FRIN

Advisory board

For many experts in the field, marine biologist Cato ten Hallers does not need any further introduction. Her scientific research is primarily aimed at the effects of humans on the marine environment. But, Cato’s work stretches much further. She uses her knowledge to put the threads to the marine environment high on the international political agenda. This is her main occupation in the IMO, where she represents the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). By bridging the gaps between science, industries and politics, Cato is able to activate and alter policy making processes. She does this with the overall objective to protect the marine environment against hazards and harmful effects. Over the years, Cato was responsible for a significant part of the groundwork that eventually led to IMO’s Ballast Water Convention and, some years earlier, the IMO Anti Fouling Convention. Cato sympathizes with MEA-nl, mainly because of its challenging approach and the high level of expertise of its team. With her knowledge of marine biology, her political experience and network, Cato is a valuable senior-advisor for MEA-nl.

Rob P. van Weeghel PhD

Rob P. van Weeghel PhD

QA Manager

Before becoming a Quality Assurance specialist, Rob was involved in the development of a disinfection system for the control of Legionella in drinking water and the development of innovative molecular DNA test methods. Focus areas were the identification of pathogenic bacteria in ballast water and other samples in relation to environmental protection purposes. As consultant and as director of an RvA accredited laboratory, Rob has gained extensive experience in the implementation and maintenance of Quality Management Systems (QMS). Within these work processes, he has co-operated intensively with the US FDA and other notified bodies and national authorities.
Rob is responsible to ensure that the Quality Systems of the Test Facility and Test Laboratory of MEA-nl are properly implemented and maintained. Key point is to assure that methods, validations and results are highly reliable and compliant with all internationally applicable standards such as ISO 17025 (General requirements for the competence of Testing Laboratoria). Rob is excited about being able to combine his ‘land-side’ experience with the widening scope of MEA-nl’s activities.

Cilvani Droog

Cilvani Droog

Trainee – Lab technician

Cilvani is student at the intermediate vocational education (community college) technical and laboratory skills. Within this study, Biotech is his main interest. His first traineeship took place at Floricultura, a company focused at culturing Orchids. For his second and final traineeship, the laboratory work at MEA-nl offers his need for broadening of his scope.

Renée Loozeman

Renée Loozeman

Trainee – Lab technician

Renée studies at the intermediate vocational education (community college) for micro-biological analyst. During former traineeships she worked in the food industry, at the seed factory BEJO. Early on, she realised that our planet comprises of the most part of water and that preservation of biodiversity is an important objective. Designing and performing sound research is her passion. Consequently, it is likely that Renée will follow an extra education after her study. But for the many months to come, she likes to focus on her challenging traineeship at the laboratories of MEA-nl.