Looking Back, Gazing Forward: One Year as CEO of Satellic

Kurt Cornelis, CEO Satellic


Satellic’s commitment to 'Tolling made easy' is reflected in their determination to provide a seamless journey from start to finish. Kurt Cornelis, who took over the reins as CEO one year ago, talks about his ongoing commitment towards the company’s vision and mission while forging an organisational culture that fosters sustainability and empowers the company’s most important assets: the team members.

Can you briefly introduce yourself?

I am Kurt Cornelis, the CEO of Satellic. I joined the company in 2015 after a career in the consumer electronics sector, particularly in the customer relations and service domain. Transitioning to the tolling industry was a significant shift, as it not only operates in an entirely different sector, but the tolling business was also still very new and unknown. However, I was eager to take on this interesting opportunity and was hired as Head of Enforcement Services. During this time, I established the department and transitioned it from project mode into daily operations. I had the privilege of working with the Enforcement team for seven years. Last year in June, I was appointed as CEO.

Can you explain Satellic's vision and mission?

Satellic is a Belgian company founded for a unique mission: to establish a tolling system for heavy goods vehicles and efficiently collect tolls across the three Belgian regions. Our vision is to become a comprehensive one-stop shop for road users using the Belgian road network, delivering hassle-free solutions specifically tailored to the Belgian market. In the past year, we’ve made sustainability an integral part of our vision and mission and all aspects of our operations.

Which initiatives have you taken to align the company with its vision and mission?

Our employees are our greatest asset, so we invest heavily in our human capital and foster an atmosphere where we care about the individual. Their well-being and engagement are vital to our success. We have launched several initiatives to first understand the needs of our employees and based on that, launched actions to serve them better. We organise regular events to bring employees together and stimulate personal contact, which, after COVID and increased teleworking, reduced. We organise regular activities such as the Belgian waffle truck, compliments day (card & flowers), dessert afternoons, ice cream truck, our sustainability kick-off event where we planted 2000 trees together with our employees and their families, our suppliers, and our clients, etc. On a bigger scale, we're redesigning our offices to support activity-based working and social interaction. The new layout will feature silent rooms, brainstorming areas, project rooms, and lounges to promote a flexible work culture. The project is currently in the design phase, and we’ll start rebuilding it at the end of June.

Sustainability is another key focus area we've implemented. Social responsibility is now at the core of our organisational philosophy. A series of environmentally responsible measures were integrated into our processes. The core of our activity also induced a greening of the truck fleet thanks to differentiated tariffs based on the vehicles’ emission class. And we’ve drawn up a CSR charter that guides our decisions and processes at every step.

How do you differentiate Satellic from its competitors?

In addition to calculating and collecting the toll, we are also operating the control and enforcement part of the system, ensuring compliance with the system. We firmly believe that a fair and equitable approach requires contributions from all stakeholders. In addition, by harnessing the data within our system, we provide the Belgian Regions with valuable insights that enable them to enhance their mobility policies and allow us to develop tailored services and share our learnings to further improve the system and set the standard of tomorrow.

What notable achievements has the company reached over the past year?

Despite the complexity of the system, we take great pride in maintaining the highest stability records in the industry. Since our inception, we have not experienced any outages, an accomplishment attributed to the collective efforts of our dedicated employees and strong management. To achieve these results, motivating our employees is paramount. Their drive and commitment are instrumental in our success. I am proud of my and the whole management team’s achievement in inspiring and rallying the team on a daily basis.

What are your goals and aspirations for Satellic in the coming months?

First of all, our successful office redesign will improve productivity and collaboration, while our engaging social media campaign and refreshed corporate branding will strengthen our internal and online presence and identity. We continue to prioritize customer service, optimising our services for greater efficiency and user-friendliness across government entities, regions, and end-users.

How does Satellic 'compete' in the war for talent?

We believe in the value of our people and prioritize their engagement to promote retention. However, sometimes we need to bring in new talent. Since the skills and knowledge we require are very specific, we mostly adopt an in-house, on-the-job training approach. We invest strongly in development to facilitate continuous learning and growth. We provide the necessary support, both in terms of financial resources and professional guidance.

How do you foster a strong organisational culture?

One of my priorities has been to establish a system that cultivates consistency and fairness, ensuring everyone feels valued and treated fairly. In addition, we actively listen to our employees and adopt an open approach towards communication, encouraging an information flow that is both a top-down and bottom-up flow. Open communication creates an interesting and dynamic environment, encouraging proactivity and creativity, two very important elements for growth. Further, we conduct surveys on various topics to gather feedback. We then communicate the results and share our strengths and areas for improvement openly, as it fosters trust among the team. By sharing key facts and figures regularly, we ensure that people remain engaged and interested.

Satellic operates in a rapidly evolving industry. How do you ensure the company remains adaptable?

Our constant focus is on enhancing our services for our customers. We prioritize efficiency, both for ourselves and our customers. Our slogan "Tolling made easy" embodies our commitment to providing a streamlined journey from start to finish. By implementing new features and services in collaboration with our clients, we strive to deliver exceptional experiences and remain future-proof.