This week we welcome Freerk van der Laan to our growing Agent Network.
Get the full low down on who Freerk is and the territories he’ll be covering in our latest interview.
Can you tell me a little bit about yourself?
Freerk: I am Freerk van der Laan. To my family, friends, and customers, I’m Fred.
I have an electro-technical background and have subsequently enlarged my knowledge through the years in economics, leadership, process control, and quality management.
The industries I have the most experience and knowledge are:
I am already three years into my new venture as an independent entrepreneur, consulting with corrugated companies to improve operational efficiencies.
Furthermore, I am an agent in the same industry for chemicals and recently also for machinery and spare parts.
I have extensive experience in supporting corrugated companies from all over the world. I have also worked in-house for Kappa (Smurfit Kappa) and BHS Corrugated.
Currently, I am living with my Spanish wife and unborn child in the beautiful area of Galicia, Vigo, Spain. My two sons from my previous relationship are living in The Netherlands. In Vigo, I also have a motor rental company that, for me, next to the business, is more a hobby:
Next to work, I like to enjoy myself and take care of my family.
What categories and territories will you be covering as our agent?
Freerk: My focus will be Europe and America (North, Middle, and South), but with the internet, the rest of the world is close too.
What attracted you to join Machine Compare?
Freerk: Benjamin Findlay. His enthusiasm and “human” mentality. I’ll never forget when Ben and his brother Eric introduced the project idea (announcement coming soon….) more than three years ago. The industry certainly needs and is ready for it.
What do you love most about our industry?
Freerk: The paper and board industry gets you and never lets you go again. It’s a worldwide industry that is almost everywhere. The process looks basic, but it isn’t at all. That simple hygroscopic product is fooling a lot of you.
If the machine sings the whole day, it’s a good day.
Is there anything you’d like to change?
Freerk: I would like to travel less and do more from a distance. I’ve enjoyed being at home in Spain during the lockdown as I’ve done so much travelling over the years.
It feels like overnight, the world has changed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Do you think there are positives to come from the crisis in a business sense?
Freerk: Yes, we’re much more aware of the value of clean air and getting to spend time with family and friends. Our environment needed this pandemic.
It’s sad of course that so many had to die and will continue to. But we must all be so much more careful now day to day, re-use materials and don’t instinctively think brand new.
I get the sense you’re well-traveled thanks to the industry we’re in. Where has been your favourite place to visit on business?
Freerk: I have been to some really beautiful places across every continent. Sometimes the poorer areas are where you find the friendliest people who offer more than they can afford. I could write a book or two about this.
My favorite place however is where I live right now. It’s a natural paradise.
And finally, now we know a little more about your work, what hobbies do you enjoy outside of work?
Freerk: I enjoy the endless nature of Galicia and the rest of Spain. I like nature, beaches, mountains and country life. Although I live in the city center, the wild horses are never far away. Also, I love motorcycles, touring, fitness and sauna. When I was a little younger I loved football, ice hockey, judo and taekwondo.