(contribution from Roger Loop, BureauLeiding)
Ever heard of the expression “been there, done that”? If there is one man in the plastic pipes & fittings industry in Europe these words can apply to, it’s Roel van‘t Veer. And he mastered “all trades”.
Roel van‘t Veer was active within TEPPFA since the start in 1992. From 2002 until 2007 he served TEPPFA as managing director, but remained active and very visibly afterwards as VinylPlus voluntary commitment coordinator. In April 2018 he officially said farewell to the industry, which he had helped to shape for more than 25 years.
After graduating from Groningen University with a Master in Business Administration Roel van‘t Veer joined Wavin in 1973 as financial controller and dedicated his whole career almost entirely to the plastic pipes & fittings industry. A short overview of Roel’s career will help you understand his impact on the industry.
Wavin allowed him to get experience with almost all aspects of the plastic pipes & fittings industry, first as R&D department manager, then taking a side step, he moved to the membrane filtration business. He became country manager Indonesia (in the early eighties), area manager Far East and finally, general manager Saudi Arabia. Upon return in Europe he shortly joined the (then) Wavin PVC packaging manufacturing in Germany. When the business was divested in 1990, he returned to the Wavin in the Netherlands and became environment & recycling coordinator.
In his latter role, his main responsibility was “to prevent PVC from being banned”. He set up collection, sorting and recycling systems for PVC pipe waste, and put pressure on resin manufacturers to reduce waste/emissions.
Very soon it became evident that a close cooperation with competitors and the various partners within the supply chain was needed to achieve the goal. In 1991 Teppfa was established with CEST (Certification and Standardisation) as its main activity. Roel succeeded in convincing Teppfa members of the need to set up an HSE committee, to jointly work on Health, Safety and Environment issues.
It soon resulted in the development of PVC 3-layer pipes, which enabled the use of recyclate without the risk of legacy substances leaking into the environment.
Lessons learned: trust, cooperation & professionalism
Roel considers himself fortunate to have had such a long and interesting career in the plastic pipes & fittings industry. He has always taken great pleasure in sharing much of his vast experience and knowledge which his career at Teppfa has allowed him to do.
At the Teppfa Forum dinner in April Chairman Maarten Roef thanked Roel on behalf of the members for his invaluable contribution to the industry. Roel used the opportunity to share some ultimate, basic advice for the industry: focus on the 3 key success ingredients: trust, cooperation and professionalism.
Trust both in each other and in the value of cooperation. Cooperate because most of the issues cannot be dealt with on our own; and act with professionalism: make sure that you work with the right experts and acknowledge that some knowledge has to come from outside the industry.
Roel and his wife Marinelle are now enjoying a well-deserved retirement in a small rural village in the Netherlands.