Systemat sa

I'm 10 miles south of Brussels near the small town of Lasne and it's great cycling around here thanks to the hilly terrain and country atmosphere. It's not too difficult finding the head office for Systemat thanks to the big blue, street-level sign bearing the words "Systemat Computers" next to the road. Systemat, with revenues of 296 million Euros, operates in seven countries and employees over 1,000 people.

The two-story red brick building has a 1980's- look to it and reminds me of golf clubhouse. On display in the lobby are four old IBM computers and though by "old" I mean only maybe 15 years but, in the world of computers that's a dinosaur. Looking past the reception desk and through a large window at the rear of the building one sees an expanse of well-manicured grass–similar to what one sees when teeing off on a golf course. The view out the rear window and the fact this building reminds me of a golf clubhouse makes me wonder if that's what it's suppose to make people think.

The receptionist checks to see who ended up with my letter of introduction mailed a month earlier to CEO Jean-Claude Loge. Oh-oh, it seems nobody knows anything about the letter of introduction. But, everything turns out okay thanks to personnel in the Marketing department agreeing to field my questions. My thanks for the input of the five people, with only two getting recognized here because they're the only ones who had their business cards handy (Flora Basta, Senior Marketing Officer and Pascal Vinclair, Marketing Project Coordinator).

When told that about 200 people work here I look up in disbelief because this two-story building (built in 1989) isn't that big. It turns out there's a cluster of buildings in a modern office park next door and Systemat occupies four of the buildings. It's a mixed-use area with employee parking free and plentiful, there's no formal dress code, no company cafeteria, smoking isn't allowed in the workplace and meeting rooms are numbered. It's about a mile and a half to the nearest freeway, 20 minutes to Brussels airport and Systemat has no corporate aircraft. Any unusual employee perks? No.

I don't get to see CEO Jean-Claude Loge's office (which overlooks the well-manicured lawn) or the boardroom.

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