Family within a family business: Kasper Olimulder and Sebastiaan Vlierman

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’s the turn of brothers-in-law Kasper Olimulder and Sebastiaan Vlierman.

Friendly recommendation

Some people only remember important milestones in their lives, while others remember every little detail. For instance, Kasper Olimulder (40) knows the exact date he started working for Heuver: 1 December 2004. He works as Manager Operations, where he is responsible for the Logistics and Procurement department. His sister is married to Sebastiaan Vlierman, who now also works for us thanks to Kasper. He actually had the courage to recommend his brother-in-law. But he is also known to recommend other people to Heuver! Particularly people from Geesteren: “Coen Heerdink is now Key Account Manager, but I initially spoke to him on a Saturday evening during a party at the CSI. He actually needed a dissertation project. I enquired about the possibilities at our company, and this resulted in a happy career at Heuver. Charel Nijhuis, who is now Branches Manager, is someone I played football with. He is also someone I recommended.”

Passing on the baton

Naturally, Kasper first thinks long and hard before recommending family and friends to his employer. After all, you cannot do it for everyone. “You have to carefully consider the situation. If you have doubts about people, then you can’t really recommend them because, if things go wrong, it will reflect badly on you.” His brother-in-law, Sebastiaan Vlierman (39), agrees: “For example, I also took everything into account before presenting Bert Vreys, who I already knew through my work and is now our account manager for Belgium and Luxembourg. But I recommended him because I really had faith in him. In a way, it’s like passing on the baton.” And these friendly recommendations make it easier for us to come into contact with potential new employees. So if you know of anyone…

Trust from the top

Kasper believes the way in which he ‘recruited’ his brother-in-law Sebastiaan typifies the family business: “Just before I went on holiday, one of my colleagues suffered a long-term illness. So something had to be done. In the evening, I was in the pub watching the Dutch national team playing at the 2010 World Cup. My brother-in-law was also there, together with my sister. I knew he was looking for work and trusted him, so I interviewed him on the spot. Thankfully, the position really appealed to him. I then discussed everything with our director, Bertus Heuver, the next day and he had faith in my judgement and the qualities of Sebastiaan. And so he was able to quickly get started. This can mainly be attributed to the short lines of communications within the company. And the emphasis we place on the personality of the people we employ.”

Challenge overcome

The holiday period went well for Sebastiaan. He made a good impression, so we wanted to keep him! But when doing so, Kasper clearly stated that his family relationship should not get in the way of his position of authority in the work place. So Sebastiaan applied for a position in agricultural sales, which meant the brothers-in-law could go their own way at Heuver. Kasper: “I am impressed that Sebastiaan has been able to quickly master this sector, which is the most difficult of all to understand. He saw all the different options in this segment as a challenge; one that he has managed to overcome.”

Complete surprise

Sebastiaan started working for Heuver in 2010, when his brother-in-law Kasper introduced him to the family business. Sebastiaan likes how this came about: “I did not know Heuver was looking for new people, so it came as a complete surprise to me. And the next thing I knew, I suddenly had a new job! Initially, I mainly felt the urge to perform well for Kasper because he is family and introduced me to the company. But I stopped feeling this many years ago, partly because I now have a completely different position. I have developed myself and found my own place within the company.” 

Move to southern Germany

After spending a few years selling agricultural tyres, Sebastiaan joined the sales team in northern Germany. But a vacancy then became available for the same position in southern Germany and Austria. So the family decided to seize this opportunity and go on an adventure together. In 2017, Sebastiaan and his family moved to southern Germany for their next successful step within the company!

Separating work and private life

Despite being family and working at the same company, they do not really spend much time talking about it. “We can keep our work and private lives apart,” says Kasper. “But we do talk about work, like you would talk about your job to other people. Sebastiaan now lives further away, so some of the developments can pass him by. But I give him an update now and again.” Sebastiaan: “We talk about the most important issues, but quickly move on to other topics.”