Karin Sluis is TU Delft Alumnus of the Year 2021
Karin Sluis, Senior Advisor and former Director of Witteveen+Bos, has been chosen as TU Delft Alumnus of the Year 2021. Rector Magnificus and Executive Board Chair Tim van der Hagen will bestow the title virtually on Sluis during the TU Delft for Life | Xperience Week between 7 and 11 June. Given the corona crisis, the event will be held online for the second time.
Karin Sluis studied Civil Engineering and specialised in Hydraulic Engineering. After graduating in 1989, she started working for Witteveen+Bos as a specialist in urban water management. Over the years, she fulfilled various management positions at the international consulting and engineering company in the area of water, infrastructure, the environment and construction. She became the CEO in 2013. In this position too, she was involved hands-on in projects, as is customary in the company where the shares are in the hands of all the employees. As a project director, Sluis was responsible for Witteveen+Bos’ activities in the massive renovation of the Afsluitdijk (The IJsselmeer Enclosure Dam).
In her years as General Manager, she put her efforts into the further internationalisation of the company so that Witteveen+Bos’s water expertise could be deployed around the world. She also put sustainability on the agenda, linking it to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. Diversity was important to Sluis too. She not only concentrated on the inflow and upward mobility of women, but also on diversity in terms of ethnic background, age and education level. She stepped down as Director in the year that she turned 55, a principle of the company. As a Senior Advisor, she is closely involved in the direction of the company such as in the development of a new business around sustainable investments.
Apart from her work at Witteveen+Bos, Sluis was also a member of the Top Team at the Top Sector Water&Maritime. At present, she is a member of the Council for the Environment and Infrastructure and is on the boards of several organisations such as the Applied and Engineering Sciences branch of NWO (Dutch Research Council) and the Supervisory Board of Saxion Universities of Applied Sciences. Sluis has been recognised for her work several times. In 2015, her professional peers declared her the most powerful person in the infra sector at the InfraTech Fair. In 2018, she was awarded the title of European CEO of the Year 2018, in part because of her efforts to incorporate the Sustainable Development Goals in all Witteveen+Bos’s projects and activities.
The Alumnus of the Year 2021 comes on top of these. “More than well deserved,” believes Tim van der Hagen. “She has contributed significantly to the field of civil engineering. With her vision on the living environment and infrastructure, she has greatly influenced the development of our country and she contributes her knowledge to this through important positions in the public arena. The girl that was once inspired by a poster of the Golden Gate Bridge is now a well-respected role model. She inspires a lot of others in her profession and hopefully encourages many young people to start an engineering degree. We could not be prouder of our Alumnus of the Year.”
Since 2011, TU Delft and the University Fund TU Delft have awarded the Alumnus of the Year title to an alumni who has earned their stripes in the world of innovation and research. The winners get a plaque on the Alumni Walk of Fame in the Mekelpark on campus at TU Delft.