Richard Kokhuis (IEM'88)

Enschede has been home to Richard for many years now, since beginning his studies in Industrial Engineering and Management at the then THT in 1983. In the early days, Richard commuted back and forth between his hometown of Almelo and Enschede, but he soon swapped his parental home for a room on the top floor of a mansion on Twekkelerveld.  "The retired master of law who lived there rented out the top floor to us: for the money, but also for the fun!”.  That fun side of student life was also important to jack-of-all-trades Richard; he was an active member of study association Stress, took part in taekwondo with Arashi and was a fanatic member of Euros rowing club, which took him to all kinds of places around the Netherlands during competitions (see photo for Richard's rowing team; he is in the middle of the back row).

Besides all these fun activities, there was also a lot of hard studying to be done:  “It was technical business administration, but technical with a capital T. Especially in the first year, we had many mathematics and physics subjects such as Stochastic Processes and Thermodynamics.  I really had to work hard at that" This technical approach did come in handy when, after graduating, Richard started working at high-tech company Thales. During that same period, however, Richard developed a keen interest in consultancy and subsequently moved to PNO consultants, a well-known spin-off of  the UT.  He worked there for nine years, before deciding to work at Balance & Result and later for the Municipality of Enschede.

The latter in particular was a major career switch, which resulted in many interesting things, including strong ties with the UT. ''I accompanied the Rector Magnificus of the UT and a delegation to China, where we signed many contracts, including one for collaboration with a renowned Chinese University for student and teacher exchanges. That was fantastic. That relationship is still very valuable."

A few years ago Richard started his own company: AmperaPark. This company converts parking spaces into renewable energy sources by installing solar charging stations.  These stations produce solar power at existing car parks, the energy is subsequently used, among other things, to charge electric cars. AmperaPark recently installed a solar charging station, the AmperaPort, at the UT (see photo).  The best thing about this is that his company is working together with researchers from the UT to make the energy storage and supply at these solar carports 'smart'.  This obviously uses batteries.  “So there is a real technical challenge in that,” says Richard. Richard is clearly still very involved with the UT.  “I also regularly have university students visit my company, which I think is really cool. The UT is in my DNA, if you like.”