In Memoriam | René Vlemmings

Last Sunday, January the 12th, René Vlemmings passed away. He had been ill for a considerable time. René worked as a policy officer at TU/e’s Service for personnel and organization (DPO) since March 1998.

For years, René had been the contact person at DPO for what we would now refer to as ‘business intelligence’ or ‘business information.’ His motto was: ‘Information is information only after the underlying data has been given meaning.’ And this act of giving meaning is exactly what made him distinguish himself positively.

When someone turned to René with the question ‘I need numbers,’ his first response was usually: ‘We need to talk for a moment: why do you need to know this? Because the answer to that question determines which numbers we will obtain from the system, which analyses we will carry out, and how we present the results.’ This way, he raised his work to a higher level and made a significant contribution to the quality of our information.

In his field, René was far ahead of his time. At a very early stage, he built a so-called ‘data warehouse’ for DPO, known to everyone under the name P.I.M. And to this day, DPO is still fortunate to use this application.

Both within DPO and outside, René was known as ‘the best Executive Board watcher ever.’ Throughout the years, he managed to predict the reactions from several colleagues to the board and the developments within and outside the university with unprecedented accuracy.

As a human being and colleague, René distinguished himself by his strong involvement. He put forward his ideas on the development of the service until the end. He had the ability to put things into perspective, a broad general knowledge and a pleasant sense of understated humor. When he stepped away from his spreadsheets and felt talkative, he would go on for quite some time. During drinks with his colleagues from DPO, he would usually sit on a side of the room holding a beer, with a sparkle in his eye, enjoying himself.

René knew about his illness for a considerable time. He deserves much respect for the way he handled the situation. And he managed to prolong the time given to him at the diagnosis by a much longer period than expected. Until the curtain eventually fell last Sunday.

His colleagues at DPO remember him with much warmth and fondness.

On behalf of everyone at DPO, Mariska Brzözek, director.

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