February 17, 2023

Introducing: Gerk van der Wal, the new managing director at Backupned

From service engineer at Hewlett-Packard (HP) – one of the big players in the tape world – to managing director at Backupned. “And so we have come full circle,” says Gerk van der Wal. At Backupned, we are very pleased to have Gerk van der Wal join our team as managing director since November 1. Want to know who Gerk is and what he will be involved in at Backupned? Gerk is pleased to introduce himself to you.

A technical people person

Ever since my first job, I have been working in the “hard” side of IT. After studying Telematics at the Hogeschool Utrecht, I went to work as a service engineer at Hewlett-Packard. During the years I worked at HP, I gained most of my technical knowledge. Moreover, in terms of customer contact, I learned a lot here: from making and keeping service appointments to dealing with customers. I discovered at the time that there was no hardcore techie in me. I am more of a people person and like to achieve something together with people, for people. Reason for me to start providing part-time training. Here I learned to really listen to what people need on a functional and technical level.

Heart for ICT

Communicating and collaborating with diverse colleagues, partners and people from a large network runs like a thread through my career. After establishing and successfully building my own training company, I started exploring the real estate world. Here I focused mainly on starting up and realizing business incubators. The experience in this complex, competitive world made me realize that my heart was in business process optimization after all. As a freelance manager, I have done various assignments for ICT organizations with the icing on the cake being the creation of a European partnership for the Network Academy: a community to support students and teachers.

Setting course for the museum world

Effective use of ICT as an integral part of the daily business process was now a reality for the vast majority of commercial companies. A good time to set my sights on the nonprofit sector, which was encouraged from the government to digitize the national cultural heritage. I stepped into the museum landscape at culture house CODA (library, municipal archive and museum all in one) in Apeldoorn.

In my role as strategic information manager, I applied various ICT methodologies (such as Lean) for the renewal, improvement and automation of business processes within various non-profit organizations. The fun atmosphere, creativity and diversity that lives within the museum world appealed to me greatly. And so the commissions quickly followed one another at a series of museums, including the Museum Arnhem, Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, Het Nieuwe Instituut, Mauritshuis and finally the Scheepvaartmuseum.

Gerk: “What is and remains important to me: supporting business processes, improving them and doing this at a high level of quality. I would like to do this professionally and also achieve results.”

Coming full circle

In my most recent position as chief operating officer, I was faced with solving a ransomware attack. In determining the backup and recovery strategy for the museum, the following question came to mind, “Who do I need to improve backup and recovery?” The answer: Peter Benedick of Backupned. Peter and I first met when he offered Backupned’s services 27 years ago at the SEP, later turned into TenneT, today’s grid operator in the Netherlands. I was on secondment there from HP at the time.

For a while I felt perfectly at home in the nonprofit sector, but in the meantime the way I worked began to bother me. In this sector, there is somewhat less emphasis on the importance of business processes and ICT as a means of ensuring business continuity. I am a true generalist, someone who likes to get results. Just at that moment Peter told me that there was a great challenge at Backupned, where I could optimally combine my vision, entrepreneurship and broad ICT knowledge.

Attention to the customer, technology and quality

The position of managing director at Backupned brings together the commercial aspect, operations and helping to build the online backup and archiving environment. That appealed to me a lot. As well as the pleasant informal atmosphere and the small, enthusiastic team who do their work with enthusiasm. Moreover, I live in the region and can occasionally take my bike to work. Reasons enough to get started at Backupned!

From a generic management position at Backupned, I will autonomously drive the process. In the short term, I am focusing mainly on the infrastructure of our new online backup and archiving service in the new facility in the north of the country. Not just on the technical ICT level; it also includes certification, security and quality assurance. I look forward to working with the team to make this online and off-grid service a great success.

In addition, my focus in the coming period will be on getting to know the clientele. For both existing and new customers and the technology suppliers, I want to develop into a good interlocutor: listening to their needs and finding appropriate solutions. In this way, we at Backupned keep moving with developments within an ever-changing digital landscape.

If you have any questions for Gerk van der Wal, please feel free to contact him at:

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