10 Apr 2022

Meet our new colleagues!

Meike, Carolina, Niklas and Jeroen joined Team Blonk

Our team keeps on expanding with people who are highly motivated to make the world a sustainable and healthy place. Last month Team Blonk welcomed Meike, Carolina, Niklas and Jeroen.  Meike joins the consultant’s team at Blonk Consultants and Carolina as consultant at Blonk Sustainability Tools. Niklas and Jeroen both join as Data Scientists and Engineers at Blonk Sustainability Tools.

We are very happy to have you onboard! Let’s meet Meike, Carolina, Niklas and Jeroen.

Meike Hopman

Senior Consultant | Blonk Consultants

Last month I started at Blonk as a Sustainability Consultant. For me, this is the perfect combination between sustainability and data driven advice. These two aspects come together in the environmental footprinting projects at Blonk. More and more companies want to become more sustainable, but they could use some support in figuring out what they should do and how to implement this. Due to my background in mathematics and computing science, I prefer to tackle these questions in a data driven way.

After graduating at the Radboud University of Nijmegen I worked as a consultant sustainable logistics at TNO for 6,5 years. In that function, I gained experience in different carbon footprinting methodologies and applications in the transport and logistics sector. I’m looking forward to shifting to the agri-food sector, while still working on similar methodologies and applying them in practical projects.

Besides working at Blonk, I’m really into games and sports. In Utrecht I play soccer three times a week and occasionally I go out for a run or a long-distance walk. I also enjoy meeting with friends and playing (board)games or doing other activities like escape rooms.

Carolina Carrillo Diaz

Consultant | Blonk Sustainability Tools

I find it surprising that most people don’t reflect on the enormous impact food has. We don’t only need it to be healthy, it has a social meaning too: sharing it strengthens relationships, and today, we also know it plays a key role in preserving our planet for the years to come.

I was not always aware of this. What I always knew was that I wanted to help make the world a better place in a practical, impactful manner. Along the way, studying chemical engineering and, later, getting a master in process optimization, seemed reasonable ways of fulfilling my aspirations. At that time, I was living in my motherland, Colombia, where food is a source of national pride upon which a large part of the national industry revolves. Thus, both from a professional and an academic perspective, I got involved with the food industry at the operational and the R&D levels.

One of the experiences I particularly cherish was designing more sustainable food ingredients in a joint project with TU Delft, Cosun and ISPT, while getting my PDEng in the Netherlands.

In the project, aspects like food sourcing and processing and their effect on food functionalities and sustainability, market needs, and consumer acceptability were knit together to conceive a more sustainable food chain. It was then that I realized that structured approaches to sustainability (like LCA) are truly used and valued beyond the academic sphere. And it hit me: I had found the impactful way of making the world a better place I had been looking for. 

My role as a consultant here at Blonk Sustainability Tools is how this comes to practical, planetary level, terms: "At Blonk we want to inspire, guide, empower and enable you and your organization to contribute to a truly sustainable food system." How powerful and urgent that is, and I am fortunate enough to now be a part of it.

Besides sustainability, I enjoy going for bike rides in the nature, board games and getting to know and understand what people think. My hobbies also include jigsaw puzzles, reading and learning about deeper topics like mental health, the purpose of life and faith. All of these I get to enjoy in the beautiful Netherlands except for this last one: contemplating the majesty of the mountains in any season.       

Niklas Tillenburg

Data Scientist & Engineer | Blonk Sustainability Tools

After finishing my Masters in Statistics and Data Science in Leiden, I decided I want to use my newly found knowledge for a cause that supports the sustainable future of our plant. My goal was to find a place that would suit my knowledge and experience in data science, while also engaging in the advancement of a sustainable future and face the challenges of global climate change. I managed to find a company that does exactly that in the form of Blonk Sustainability Tools.

With its extensive know-how in Life Cycle Assessments, as well as the right tools, solutions, and agri-food databases, Blonk is at the forefront of sustainability and food. Well-known throughout the industry and with governments, I am looking forward to working in the Blonk team and supports its clients in developing a sustainable future.

Within Blonk Sustainability Tools, I will work as a data scientist and engineer. In this role, I am a link between our consultants and our tools and databases. I will support our consultants in decision-making with their clients through insights into data and underlying connection. Further, I will support our developer team in improving our product solutions and fill them with “life” in form of data.

In my free time, I like to spend time with my family, girlfriend, and friends. Besides that, I tend to my many plants throughout my apartment or live out my extensive passion for food and cooking.

I am very happy to have the opportunity to join Blonk and excited to share my existing know-how with my colleagues and to extend it with new knowledge, all the while working on a sustainable future for our planet.

Jeroen van Rijn

Data Scientist & Engineer | Blonk Sustainability Tools

Starting March 2022, I’ve joined Blonk Sustainability Tools as a data scientist / data engineer. I’m delighted to join a company that is having a real impact in reducing environmental footprints and to be working with colleagues that care about the cause of the company a lot.

Having completed a bachelor’s degree in physics, I have a strong foundation in mathematics, analytical thinking and programming. While working in data science at drinking water company Vitens after graduation, I realized I enjoyed working in data science to serve society and wanted to combine the discipline with working on one of the most pressing problems of our time - climate change. As a result, I moved to Denmark to complete a master’s degree in Climate Change at the University of Copenhagen. During the degree, my interest in dietary change and agriculture as it relates to climate change was sparked, and as part of the degree I developed a model to calculate transport emissions due to diet choices in Denmark. Simultaneously, I’ve worked as a data scientist at start-up Block by Block to further develop my technical skills.

Besides my work, I enjoy spending time in the kitchen, learning languages, playing music, attending concerts and traveling.