INNOCY colleague Marissa Prins is Dutch gliding champion

  • 23 May 2024
  • 5 min

Every weekend, she glides majestically through the sky with masterful control. She can tell from the clouds what kind of weather is coming. In a thermal bubble, she manages to get her plane well centred upwards. On weekdays, the asset management consultant has both feet on the ground at INNOCY, part of ICT Group. 


Dutch gliding champion Marissa Prins (32) manages to combine work and sport with equal passion.

At INNOCY, Marissa and her team work on major infrastructure projects. Currently, that is on behalf of construction consortium ALSÉÉN (Ballast Nedam and Fluor Infrastructure), who are working for Rijkswaterstaat on the widening of the A27 motorway between Everdingen and Hooipolder. "A huge project, because it includes two new bridges, additional lanes and rush-hour lanes, and we are renovating the Hooipolder junction," Marissa explains.

Learned young

Next to her job at INNOCY, Marissa can often be found at the gliding club. Marissa's grandparents were already avid glider pilots. Her parents met at the club and when Marissa turned 14 she was 'finally' also allowed to fly. And history repeated itself. "I also met my husband while gliding!"

Gliding is quite technical, so it was quickly apparent that Marissa wanted to do a technical further education after high school. It became international maintenance management, technical business administration with an international focus. "A nice balance between engineering and business management," says Marissa.


It may seem like she sits still in her plane, but actually she is constantly monitoring, analysing and making choices. "It's no different at work," she says. "Even then, I am constantly monitoring internal and external factors to ensure that we ultimately achieve our goals. Both in my daily work and while gliding, I am busy with all kinds of things at once. I dedicate myself 100% to keeping all the balls in the air. Balancing risks also plays a role in gliding. If I make a mistake in my plane and can't find the next thermal bubble, I'll be in the farmer's meadow in no time," she laughs. "And just as I carefully analyse the data on, say, breakdowns in an infrastructure project, I do the same after my training sessions and races. Nowadays, there is all kinds of software available where I can upload my flight into it and I am then presented with all kinds of useful data. I can learn a lot from that. Did I make the right choices? Did I make mistakes and what effect did they have? Did the competition do better in certain areas?"



Without hesitation, she considers her best gliding achievement to date to be winning the Dutch championship in her aircraft class. "In 2022, I was the first woman to become a champion. You have to complete several courses in a couple of days. Whoever does that in total in the fastest time wins," Marissa explains.

The next step is to win a European Championship or World Cup. "After the birth of my baby daughter last year, I am back in full training for the World Cup in the Czech Republic in 2025. I am in the air all day almost every Saturday. When I fly, I feel one with the plane, one with the currents in the air. How many people in the Netherlands or in the world experience this? Seeing the world from above every weekend. Yes, then I do feel privileged."

Flexible employer

Fortunately, Marissa is able to combine her work well with her busy training schedule and participation in national and international competitions. "I can buy additional holidays. So I am able to participate in all important competitions. Of course, I do make sure that my work does not get in the way and that the project and my colleagues are not inconvenienced if I am not there for a while. My employer is very flexible, which allows me to give my work, but also gliding and my family an excellent place in my life."

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