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Nick Vreugdenhil, BEngMgt '88

(Computer Engineering)

Bridging the gap between Asia and North America

His interest in understanding both the hardware and software side of the computer world, as well as business, brought Nick Vreugdenhil to McMaster’s newly-founded Computer Engineering & Management program in 1983.

He subsequently added an MBA to his resume and spent six years working for Nortel in Ottawa in sales support and product management roles, before making the leap across the Pacific that has come to define his career.

In 1994, he headed to Tokyo with Nortel, and less than a decade later was serving as president of Nortel Japan.

“Asia is so exiting and dynamic, with huge business growth opportunities,” he says. “I also saw that I could add value by understanding and bridging the business and cultural nuances between North American and Asian countries.”

“And I met and married a Japanese woman, who has been the love of my love.”

Today, Vreugdenhil works for global information technology giant NCR Corporation, leading the company’s services business in the Asia Pacific region.

“Our portfolio of services includes a full range of maintenance, repair, help-desk, managed, and hosted services on both NCR and third-party solutions,” explains Vreugdenhil.

“As regional VP for Asia Pacific, I have end-to-end P&L responsibility for this business unit.  My organization consists of around 4,000 people across the region, including Australia/New Zealand, South East Asia, India, Greater China and Japan.”

Away from the office, he’s made the region his playground, enjoying golf in Japan, a condo in Hawaii and the opportunity to read voraciously and run about 30km a week.

Vreugdenhil’s advice to students is to keep minds and options open.

“Avoid getting slotted into certain types of roles or jobs,” says. “Always look for new experiences and opportunities to change.”