Solvus Resource Group

One of the main streets near downtown Antwerp is a mess as trolley line tracks are being dug up and replaced. When finished this wide tree-lined boulevard brimming with gorgeous turn-of-the-century buildings sporting ornate facades will be back to normal. It's along here that I find Europe's 5th biggest temporary staffing company. Founded back in 1963, Solvus Resource Group operates in 10 countries, employs 3,200 people and revenues in 2004 totaled 1.5 billion euros.

There's no Solvus name atop the modern eight-story, glass facade but over the entrance there's a sign with "Creyf's", the name the business is operated under. Checking in with the receptionist I note the bowl of M&M's candy on the counter. The waiting area consists of eight blacks chairs around several smoked-glass coffee tables.

Katrien Verbeke, Corporate Communications & Marketing Assistant, answers my questions as we sit in the lobby. She's just now finding out about my unusual odyssey as she hadn't seen the introduction material mailed a month earlier to Managing Director Alain Dehaze.

About 100 people work here. Smoking isn't allowed in offices, there's no company cafeteria but employees have use of a break room with kitchen. There are no onsite recreational facilities, employees enjoy free parking, there's no formal dress code, those who commute via bicycle enjoy covered parking for their bikes and there's a shower. It's five minutes to the center of Antwerp, five minutes to the nearest freeway and a 45-minute drive to Brussels airport.

I can't see Managing Director Alain Dehaze's top floor, middle office because "he's in it". The view out Dehaze's window? Usually I'll be taken to a nearby office on the same floor to get an idea of the view. Nope, not this time.

Company website: