Experience in getting stuck processes and projects up and running
Sometimes I think it's my destiny to get into extreme situations. But the feeling I get from successfully turning things around gives me huge satisfaction!
My role as an entrepreneur
In 1995 I took over the company from my father, a boiler and appliance factory. The company was in big trouble at that time. So I quickly learned things the hard way. I was 31, very combatable and focussed on only one thing: toprevent the family business from going under. It was far from easy, but with a good team we managed to get through the difficult years. At that point it was unimaginable that things would ever be different. After all, we now knew what to do and we were on top of our game, so we would not let the business slip out of our hands!
Nothing could be further from the truth. In 2001 hard times hit us again. I was the one who always had to keep the engine running and stay positive, people trusted in me. With heavy funding on my neck and added pressure of liquidity, I had to keep up with all the usual daily concerns. And what often happens when you find yourself in such a situation, everything turns from bad to worse. My best man quit and I had to deal with a complicated warranty case on top of that. So I had to keep my head cool in very turbulent times. I often wished for someone to just take over my thoughts and put everything clearly into perspective. Unfortunately, that someone didn't exist. I had to do it myself and get through this alone.
Fortunately, after the rain came sunshine. In 2008, after 14 years of being in charge of the company, I decided to get out.I intended to use my knowledge and experience in other ways going forward.
My role as commercial manager of greenhouse horticulture
In 2011 I got a job at Zeeland Seaports and started working as a commercial manager of greenhouse horticulture. It was a difficult time again. Due to the economic crisis, investment activities in glass horticulture had been very low for years. My primary task was to find new gardeners for a residual heat project. My knowledge and experience regarding the glass horticultural market came in handy, as well as my perseverance and my optimism. Currently two-thirds of the area has been filled with greenhouses (100 ha).
My role as statutory director of WarmCO2
Since December 2013, I am the statutory director of WarmCO2, an energy company that supplies heat and CO2 to the greenhouse industry. Here, too, I did not exactly land in a comfortable spot when I started. There were major concerns because there was too little glass (i.e. revenue) to supply heat and CO2, while 75 million Euros had already been invested in the system. With a good team we fought to make the project a success and since December 2016 an upward trend can be seen:two-thirds of the area is now filled with greenhouses.