Geert Van Nieuwenhuyse consultant for Roxell’s sales team
In July, Geert Van Nieuwenhuyse retired after 42 years of service at Roxell. However, that doesn’t mean that he will be leaving Roxell behind completely. His knowledge and experience as a Regional Sales Manager is hugely valuable to Roxell and its distributors. For this reason, Geert will be working as a part-time consultant for Roxell.
It’s probably unsurprising to hear that Geert has had a long career at Roxell, as some distributors have known him since 1978. Although, back then he was not yet a sales representative. Aside from his latest role, he also has worked in the maintenance, R&D, planning and internal sales departments. It’s not easy to condense a 42-year career into a brief summary, but we’ll do our best.
Geert was working as a substitute teacher when he saw an advert in Maldegem’s local newspaper for a job at Roxell as a maintenance mechanic. He was able to start work the very next day, at the tender age of 21. He made molds and repaired machines, and after six months was given an opportunity in the R&D department.
However, he aspired to work in the planning department, because it would allow him to put his ‘technical planning’ diploma to good use. He subsequently worked in planning for 12 years. From this period, he remembers the extensive card catalogs they used before computers came along. Everything — stock management, drafting plans etc. — was all done by hand. Patience and precision were always his strengths.
As Roxell’s work became more international, Geert was interested in the potential for adventure. He wanted to move to a sales position, but he realized he would need additional training and to prove himself. As a trial, he was sent to India for three weeks. “I have both good and bad memories from that trip,” says Geert with a smile on his face. But he withstood the test.
He was allowed to go prospecting in the recently collapsed Soviet Union. Without speaking the language, he tried to make his first contacts at trade shows. He succeeded in laying a foundation that would later allow Roxell to open an office in Moscow. He did the same in South America and became acquainted with Asia. Looking for new distributors is the aspect of his work that he loves the most. It is also the point at which his career at Roxell now comes to a close.
Forming relationships and ensuring mutual trust and respect are Geert’s fortes. It’s clear to everyone that he took pride and pleasure in his work. He recalls his experiences in Korea, Taiwan, Japan and Russia with particular fondness. For example, when he learned to bow with respect in Japan, or when he drove a Lada through the snow-covered countryside of Russia. Geert has so many great anecdotes.
So, we conclude by saying thank you to Geert, but not quite goodbye, as he will be working with us for a little while longer.