1 April was Gabriel van Oostenbruggen's (59) last working day; after 18 years, he left his familiar workplace at PDI. He held the position of financial controller here and was also a co-shareholder and board member. In the years that Gabriel was with us, the company pretty much doubled in the number of people and turnover.
Gabriël turned out to be the right man when, in May 2003, we were looking for someone for an immediate financial position. He could start immediately and we clicked right away. Gabriel says: "One of the great things about PDI is that you they place a lot of trust into you. You see the same pattern with almost everyone in the company: once you get in and get a taste of the PDI (working) atmosphere, you never leave”.
Before joining us, Gabriël worked at an accounting firm, at Priva and finally at Dinfa; a Priva subsidiary specialising in metalworking. Some things have remained the same in all these years, but certainly at our company, a lot has changed in the past two decades. The numbers may have remained the same, but digitisation has certainly changed the work. There is much more insight now, and in the process, PDI has become much more global.
Thanks to our participation in Dynatrade, a South African horticultural supplier, when he was just starting out, we gave Gabriël the opportunity to go to South Africa to take over part of the company. He was up for that! From then on, he visited every year to check the books.
Both highs and lows
Besides the many highs Gabriël has experienced with us, he has also experienced lows. For instance, take the death of fellow board member René de Koning in 2017, which had a big impact on us as well. Gabriël and René had a special bond.
Gabriël says that, besides the focus on quality and innovation, the personal way of approaching staff has been a highlight of his career with us: “PDI is a social company. They are good to their people, organise fun parties and spoil their employees during the holidays. And even when things are not going so well, there is still personal attention and interest. That's really nice to see”.
Meanwhile, Gabriël has sold his shares, and the golf course, travelling, his house, bike and whatnot await him. He will give that some thought in the coming time.
Gabriël's successor, Leon Delhez, has already been groomed over the past few months. On the last working day, everyone raised a glass and we thanked Gabriël for all his services. Now he can enjoy his well-earned retirement!
Pictured from left to right; Jan Vellekoop, Peter Dekker and Gabriël van Oostenbruggen