Interview Kees - Productie manager and recycling expert
Kees (55), also called Keesje, was born and raised in Tilburg, a true Tilburger! When you ask how Kees ended up at Wolkat, he will answer: "I lived opposite the Wolkat factory and as a young man I went to granny Toos to apply for a job. But she decided that I was not old enough to work in the factory at that time. I tried again a year later and this time, fortunately, Granny Toos accepted me.”
As a 17-year-old boy he started at Wolkat which was a small family business in those times. He gradually got to know all the processes and activities within the company and literally and figuratively grew along with Wolkat.
From dryer in the dyehouse to production manager
In 1983, Kees worked as a dryer in the dyehouse. "I often stood there daydreaming, because I felt I wasn't being challenged enough", he said. Philip Boumans, the manager at the time, noticed this and involved Kees in the ideas he got during his trips around the world. When he came back from a trip from India he talked to Kees about his plans for recycling textiles. Kees took on the practical implementation, from chopping fabrics to sorting them by colour. During the process he learned everything about the materials, the production process, the purchase of materials and the logistic process and he was able to do the preparatory work for the first factory in Morocco. Kees really enjoyed the multi-faceted work and he was even given the opportunity to work in sales.
Today, he is responsible for monitoring the entire recycling process and he runs his own successful factory in Morocco since 2010. But does Kees speak Arabic? No, but he does understand it! That comes in handy when you are a production manager and have to keep 145 employees on the job.
In his factory in Morocco, the textiles are sorted, cleaned, milled and then spun into new yarns and even delivered as a new product. By sorting recycled textiles, Kees ensures that second-hand textiles get a new life.
‘There are production managers and there is Kees'.
He takes that as a compliment. "My best skill is my ability to be close to the employees.
I don't make things more complicated than they need to be. I have been doing this together with them successfully for 10 years, they have just as much knowledge as I do. Good craftsmanship and expertise don’t need any decoration."
Kees is an experienced production manager and an indispensable link in all kinds of ways. And we at Wolkat are very happy with that!
Kees, thanks for your years of commitment and we hope to have you at our side for many more years to come!