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Geert van Veen, Prins Group
From beef to beefsteak tomatoes
Geert van Veen, CEO of Prins Group, had very different plans for his future. In his spare time he preferred working with a cattle farmer in Wateringen. "I thought that was fantastic, I was very fond of those cows. That became my passion." When he got older, he found out that it was very hard to make a living that way. He switched to plan B. His father had a company in screening installations and air mechanics. Geert often worked there during the holidays. And that is where his future in horticulture finally started.
Initially Geert started his own company: Vesotec. He soon sold this to Prins Dokkum. Prins wanted to become a full-fledged greenhouse builder who could deliver turnkey. With the takeover of Vesotec, the name was later changed to Vepritec - Prins obtained screening installation and air mechanics and Prins became a turnkey contractor. Geert continued to work for Prins. And one thing led to another. Soon he became responsible for the Dutch greenhouse section of Prins. Prins worked via dealers for projects abroad. When Geert was present at trade fairs, he got more and more complicated questions. Geert: "We got together to share our knowledge. After all, the Netherlands was a forerunner in horticultural technology. The cooperation was already very good, but this way it became even closer. And as a result I became ultimately responsible for the entire greenhouse sector of Prins, so both at home as well as abroad."
The greenhouses were produced in Dokkum. This company also had other kinds of activities. In the meantime, the greenhouse construction has been taken over by Prins Group. The engineering, drawing and development is and remains in Dokkum. Geert: "We are not going to change that. Kwintsheul is our head office and also the production of materials and dealers are supplied from here."
"In 2000 Prins Group started with the production of aluminum greenhouse roofs and gable systems. At the time, it was started together with Herman Batist. And Prins Group is still doing that. So everything is now under our own management."
Geert has bought himself into the company bit by bit. Geert laughs: "Yes, things can go unexpectedly, you see. And it's so nice to do this. You can do so much with a good team. I'm very happy with that. I have good people around me." Two persons who started with Geert in 1988 are still working there: Fred Wennekers, service technician and Ruud Bol, mechanic and supervisor. Geert: "Next year on April 1 it will be exactly 30 years ago. So that should be a special day for the three of us."
Separate business, close-knit club
Prins Group already has a longstanding relationship with many dealers and business relations. Geert: "I think we have a special company. It is a very close-knit club. We have loyal customers, business relations and our own people, which I think is valuable. The result of all this was that during the difficult horticultural years we just had our work. We had continuity."
Geert concludes: "For me it's not really about money. It's about who you are. If you promise something, you have to do it. If not, you have to say so. I opt for transparency. And for the rest... I'd rather take a loss then give the impression that I’m up to something. Prins Group is a strait-laced company."
For more information:
Geert van Veen
2295 RZ Kwintsheul
Telefoon: +31 174 52 68 80
Fax: +31 174 52 68 81
Publication date: 12/22/2017
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