Prize Wout Theuws / Prof. Leenaerts

BEMAS, the Belgian Maintenance Assocation, yearly organizes a competition for students in the final year of vocational and technical high school education, who write a thesis or  an internship report on the subject of maintenance or reliability


Manager en ingenieur

In Flanders, the competition is called Prize Wout Theuws where in Wallonia it runs under the name Prize Professeur Leenaerts. With this prize, BEMAS wants to inspire young people in technical education to start their career in maintenance, just like Wout Theuws and Professor Robert Leenaerts, with the ambition of further developing themselves into a real high-level industrial leader. 

Why participate?

The Prize Wout Theuws / Professeur Leenaerts puts students who stand out, together with their school, in the spotlight. Participating in this competition is an extra motivation to make a fascinating thesis about maintenance, or to make an excellent internship report about experiences in maintenance. For the winner it is also a nice reference to put on his or her CV. 

There are also real prizes to be won: there is a cash prize for the finalists, and a special prize for the school that submits the winning thesis: an ultrasound machine from the SDT Ultrasound Solutions range for use during practical lessons.

  • For the winner:
    • a cash prize of € 300
    • certificate
  • For the winner's school:
    • an SDT ultrasound machine
    • certificate
    • press coverage
  • For the 2 runners-up:
    • a cash prize of € 100
    • certificate

How to participate?

  1. Students and/or a (technical) responsible person will register his/her students via the Dutch form / French form or by mail to  -  DEADLINE: Friday 24 February 2023
  2. The school/student sends the selected final work (thesis or internship report) to  -  DEADLINE: Friday, April 14, 2023 (after this date, a final update of the previously submitted work can be provided)
  3. The professional jury will select the three finalists from all the entries.
    They will be announced at the latest on 26 May 2023
  4. BEMAS will contact the 3 schools of the finalists to ensure that a member of the BEMAS jury can attend the oral defence of the thesis or internship report at the school.
  5. A representative of BEMAS will be present during the proclamation/graduation ceremony for both the winner and the 2 runners-up to present the award to the student and the school. 
Wout Theuws

What's in a name?

Wout Theuws, born in 1953, studied car mechanics and started his career in a garage at the age of 16. Through hard work, a great curiosity and evening studies, he was given more and more responsibilities. Thanks to his experience and practical knowledge, Wout Theuws was able to start at Fisher Price in 1975 as a toolldesigner and was promoted to plant engineering manager. In this capacity, he was responsible for the design and realisation of new production machines. He also set up the entire maintenance management system. 

In September 1986, Wout Theuws joined Bosal in Oevel as Technical Engineering Manager. Just like in the early years, he continued to 'learn for life'. In 1991 he completed the "Master in Integrated Maintenance Management" course at the Hogeschool Gent. In 1996 he obtained a post HBO, Business administration and organisation, at the Hogeschool Eindhoven. At Bosal, Wout Theuws has since put high-performance and result-driven maintenance management on track, crowned by the title of Belgian Maintenance Manager of the Year in 2000. This prestigious award was conferred on him by BEMAS on the basis of his excellent dossier, his correct defence and the high score achieved during the on-site audit.

Prof Leenaerts

Professor Emeritus Leenaerts was the inspiration and first president of BEMAS.

Robert Leenaerts graduated as an engineer in Liège in 1959. He then worked as a development engineer at UCB in Ghent. He also became an assistant at the Catholic University of Louvain-la-Neuve. At the age of 40, he concentrated more on maintenance. In 1978, seeing how things were going in Belgian companies, he organised a symposium where he brought together some 200 maintenance professionals. This was the first breakthrough for maintenance in Belgium and paved the way for the creation of BEMAS. On 20 March 1989, together with Jean-Pierre Schellekens, he founded BEMAS vzw-asbl. Professor Leenaerts was also the very first president of BEMAS.  Read here about the history of BEMAS and the role played by Professor Leenaerts.

Professor Leenaerts passed away in October 2021 and BEMAS will continue to dedicate itself, as its founder did, to inspiring the Belgian community of maintenance and asset management professionals. To honour its founder, BEMAS has decided to launch this award to encourage technically trained young people to start their career in maintenance, just like the Professor, with the ambition to become a true industry leader at international level.  The Professor Leenaerts Award will be the first marker on the CV of the winning student.

Uitreiking Prijs Wout Theuws 21-22

Winners of edition 2021-2022

The winner of the past Flemish edition ('21-'22) is Robin De Clercq, pupil in the 6th grade of Electromechanics at Bernardustechnicum at Oudenaarde, who worked out a thesis on a Kuhn silage feeder. In Wallonia, the Prize Professor Leenaerts was won by Anthony Vanhufel, a student of the 7th grade Qualification Technician in Maintenance of Industrial Automated Systems at ITN, Namur, with his dissertation on "The realisation of maintenance procedures (IMA).

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