“When I was 17 I saw an advert in the Eemsbode newspaper for work at Wagenborg. I needed a job and was responding to every advert, so I applied. After an interview with Bert Wagenborg, I was hired as a trainee administrative assistant, and I started on the bottom rung of the ladder with Mr. Houtman and Mr. Blaauw in charge. It was always very enjoyable! The man with ultimate responsibility for the company’s bookkeeping was J.C. Windt. His instructions weren’t always immediately clear.....
“Many of the people I hired back then are still in my department today”
Following my military service I returned to Wagenborg in 1980 after a short break. Diele Weidgraaf was the boss at the finance department and he decided - despite there being two older and more experienced people - that I should succeed Mr. Blaauw after a two-year familiarisation period. Due to my being ill, that period was in fact a lot less than two years and I was thrown to the lions, so to speak; I had to learn fast.
The years that followed were all about growth – growth of both the fleet and the number of employees. Many of the people I hired back then are still in my department today. Even though we’ve always remained a shipping company, quite a lot has changed. Automation has brought about a transformation and speeded up the financial work.
In my 45 years with Wagenborg I’ve seen a lot happen, but one of the highlights dates from 1990. I was invited by the mate, Guus Wierema, to spend a week out on the North Sea on board the Eemsborg , a 3000-tonner under the command of Captain Hugo Stramrood. My visit to China in 2006 was also really special. I saw a new ship being named and launched there.” γ