Family within a family business: Frank Middendorp and Viola van Oldenbeek

Who still works in a family business these days? Well, we do - at Heuver! And we enjoy it too. In fact, there are also many other family relationships in our company. This series highlights these relationships via the personal stories of employees. This time, it is the turn of partners Frank Middendorp and Viola van Oldenbeek.
Family within a family business: Frank Middendorp and Viola van Oldenbeek

Both have climbed the ladder at Heuver

Of the two, Viola van Oldenbeek (36) has been with us the longest. She has worked in the back-office since 1999, she explains: “I was actually very young when I joined the company. And my job involved putting invoices into envelopes, filing documents and simple data entry. I worked my way up through the department as the years went by, and am now responsible for debtor management.” Her husband, Frank Middendorp (31), has been at Heuver since 2011: “I joined the back-office at Heuver as soon as I left school. As is often the case, I then worked my way into another position, namely within the sales office. And I have now been responsible for our customers in Finland, Sweden and Iceland for around three years. The good thing about my job is that I get to spend three or four days in these countries every 5 or 6 weeks. I spend the rest of my time working at the office in Hardenberg.”

Not love at first sight

The couple got to know each other when Frank joined Heuver in 2011. But it was not exactly love at first sight, explains Frank: “Although we have been in a relationship since September 2014, I initially thought Viola was a bit of a pain. Until we spent more time interacting with each other in the workplace. That’s when we learned more about one another and started a relationship.” But the situation isn’t exactly foreign to Viola, because her parents also worked at the same company … “I suppose it runs in the family!” she says with a smile.

Approved by the board

You then suddenly find yourself in a relationship at work... But is that actually allowed? Does Heuver have rules on this front? Viola: “I told Frank to approach Bertus Heuver in order to explain the situation. And if someone had to leave because we were in a relationship, he could start looking for another job, haha!” Thankfully, that wasn’t necessary, although things were a bit tense: “The board was not exactly delighted about us being a couple, but they didn’t oppose it either. They said it was our responsibility to handle the situation in an appropriate manner. And things are going fine because Viola works downstairs and I work upstairs. However, although our paths do cross in the workplace, it sometimes takes our colleagues months to realise we are in a relationship. I think this shows it is not really an issue within the office. People simply don’t notice.”

Not together all the time

The fact they both work in different departments, means Heuver is still a regular topic of conversation at home, says Viola: “Of course, we are very familiar with each other’s colleagues, so we always know who the other person is talking about. We also know what the other person does in terms of work, so we understand one another completely. Other couples don’t have that. They probably think it’s crazy to also be together at work, but we don’t see each other all the time during work hours. On the contrary. In addition, Frank regularly travels for Heuver. I am pleased that he is able to travel, because it adds extra enjoyment to his job.”

The first Heuver baby!

Their son Huub was born at the end of November 2017, making him the first ever Heuver baby. They won’t quickly forget the moment when Viola told her colleagues about being pregnant, says Frank: “I think we had to write off the whole morning! Everyone was very enthusiastic and wished us well. And colleagues from upstairs and downstairs came to congratulate both of us. The news spread like wildfire throughout the company. That was great, and actually typical of Heuver.”