Family within a family business: Gerrit and Marjan Jonker

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. Gerrit Jonker and his sister-in-law Marjan tell their story in this edition.

Applying for the social contact

Marjan Jonker (51) works at Heuver as a back-office assistant. She is married to Wim Jonker, who is Gerrit’s brother, and Wim and Marjan have five children and one grandchild together. Wim and Marjan have their own business, which supplies seamless aluminium gutters. And although Marjan did the company’s bookkeeping, she still missed contact with colleagues: “Our office was based at home, which meant I missed out on social contacts. I initially worked in the healthcare sector and had no administration-related qualifications. Gerrit thought I would be a good candidate for Heuver, and put my name forward at the end of 2012. I worked for the customer services department and did some of the bookkeeping for Profile Heuver during the tyre-change periods. And I really enjoyed it. They asked me to fill in from time to time, and this eventually resulted in a permanent contract.”

No conflict of interests

Gerrit Jonker (57) is Agricultural sales manager at Profile Heuver. Gerrit also spends one day a week at the head office in Hardenberg, which means they sometimes bump into each other. But he spends most of his time on the road, when visiting customers and supporting the six employees that work under him. He immediately thought about Marjan when he heard that Heuver was looking for someone: “I immediately phoned her from my car and she was very enthusiastic. I then took a step back because I wanted to avoid all conflicts of interests. Because once Marjan was appointed, she joined the team I was managing at the time.”

It never feels weird

Gerrit spent a short while as Marjan’s supervisor. He was actually manager of the department where she initially started working. But he still had no regrets, he says: “From the very outset, I heard my colleagues say positive things about Marjan. So I never had any regrets about my recommendation.” Marjan: “We never thought working together was weird or awkward, and neither was him being my supervisor. During meetings, I would simply see him as my manager and not as my brother-in-law. We can still draw a clear line between our work and private lives.” The commitment of the Jonker family is clear to see. During the family day that Heuver organised in October 2018, Gerrit and Marjan both gave tours to part of their family - that shows how many of them attended!

40 years

But both actually have double family ties. Marjan’s brother is married to the sister of Gerrit and Wim. As a result, Marjan has known Gerrit for almost 40 years. During the holidays, they would come from the north of the country (Bedum near Groningen) to stay with Ina, who is Gerrit and Wim’s younger sister. Marjan: “So we would always have an irritating little kid in our home, haha!” Talking about ‘home’… Marjan actually briefly lived with Gerrit’s family after the birth of their second youngest son. “He had to stay in a hospital in Amsterdam because he was born prematurely, and Gerrit’s wife also needed treatment and time to recover. But I could help them during this difficult period because I hadn’t yet started my studies as a mid-wife. This involved me cooking for Gerrit and their three children. I was there every day to start with, but this decreased over time. So we know one another really well.”