At the end of April Tony Calton retired as the TEPPFA General Manager. Ludo Debever was nominated as his successor.
For the first time in its history TEPPFA has opted for a General Manager that comes from outside the industry.
Ludo Debever served almost 33 years for the listed Belgian PVC window profile manufacturer Deceuninck in various functions at headquarters and abroad. In 2001, he was seconded to EPPA, the European window profiles association, to get EPPA off the ground and be its first manager. At that time TEPPFA General Manager was Roel Van‘t Veer. Ludo Debever, then an office assistant, jointly served both TEPPFA and EPPA.
Why did you choose for the plastic pipe industry and did you not further use your expertise in the window profile industry?
A couple of times a year I kept in touch with Roel. When time was there for a career move I learned of the opportunity at TEPPFA. I first hesitated as I considered TEPPFA as the bigger brother of EPPA. But finally decided to apply. Various positions, I assumed at my previous employer, took me out of my comfort zone and via EPPA as General Secretary and Board member until 2015 I became familiar with the association world in Brussels. At Deceuninck I regularly organised factory visits for national and European politicians, European Commission officers, ambassadors for a factory visit, informing them about the green credentials of durable rigid PVC products. Showing industry reality was often an eye-opener and definitely helped shaping their perception of the recycling practice of rigid plastic building products.
You have a master in applied communications, not a technical or economic degree. How do you tie this in with the various functions you did and still perform?
I indeed graduated from Ghent with a Masters in translating English, German and Dutch languages. I never dreamt of working as a translator. I considered a high-level command of languages as a door opener to build a career. In order to be a good translator of technical, legal, financial, political or economic documents you need to have a wide array of interests, know where to find the information and be able to work yourself into the matter until you fully understand it in a very short period of time.
I consider my good command of the German language and my particular interest for ecology and the environment as a decisive factor – I was present at the opening of the first PVC window recycling factories in Germany in the early 90s - as the basic red thread in my career. On top I enjoy working in an international environment and I love networking, at Deceuninck I was known as the manager with the largest address book in the company.
Your management company is called Castorisaggi. Can you explain what this remarkable name means?
I have chosen the name to make people curious, but I have to admit I got amused while looking for an original name. When I applied I was taking Italian evening classes, which I enjoyed very much. My family name is ‘The Beaver’, ‘castori’ is Italian for “beavers” and “saggi” means smart (think of the French ‘sage’). Nice set of vocals – I love music -, as simple as that.
How do you want to contribute to the success of TEPPFA?
My first priority will be to build a new team. Quite a number of industry experts have retired or will do so in the near future. Further, I will continue to support the good high-level work of TEPPFA’s application groups, working groups and task forces, that build the backbone of TEPPFA. Finally, it is my intention to enhance value for our members and the plastic pipe industry by shifting the focus more towards communication and have TEPPFA’s voice even more heard at the European Institutions and beyond. You can help us achieving our aspirations. Are you already a TEPPFA follower on Twitter @TEPPFA_1991? What about @Ludo_Debever?