Celebrating a century: the De Rooy family reflects on 100 years

Celebrating a century: the De Rooy family reflects on 100 years

Time to celebrate! This month, our transport company marks an incredible 100 years in business. Graad de Rooy founded the company way back in August 1923. Fast forward to 1965, his son Jan took the reins, and the company saw exponential growth: from fourteen trucks to a staggering 400. By 1997, Jan’s children, Gerard and Anneke, also stepped into the family legacy. Together with Jan, Gerard, and Anneke, we look back on the past 100 years and into the future of this exceptional family enterprise.

A pillar in the world of transport

After a walk through the busy business park in Son, past the Dakar trucks and the workshop, you arrive at Jan de Rooy’s office. He spends his days at the desk, behind his phone that is neatly placed on a stand. Because although he is no longer concerned with the day-to-day state of affairs, he cannot completely distance himself from the company, both literally and figuratively.

“I leave the daily comings and goings to them”, he says, gesturing to son Gerard and daughter Anneke, who sit next to him. “They’ve proven their expertise, and I couldn’t be prouder of them. But vehicles are still a passion of mine. That’s why my office is right next to the garage – I’m involved in the construction of our vehicles, and everything related to that. I enjoy doing that.”

High-and-heavy transport

It isn’t very surprising that Jan remains involved in De Rooy. Because under his fifty years of guidance, the company made great strides. For example, when he started, De Rooy still transported different types of cargo. Now, only one of those remains: high-and-heavy transport. Apart from that, he boosted the company from a fleet of just fourteen trucks in 1965 to 400 trucks today.

Do what you excel at

Under Jan’s leadership, De Rooy grew into a very successful company. How did he manage that? According to him, the key to success is doing what you are good at. He says: “Transport is always necessary. That will never change. The trucks that we transport will therefore always be needed. That’s why we focus our strengths on what we’re good at. That way, amazing opportunities will inevitably come our way.”

Partners, not just clients

Son Gerard, who, together with his sister Anneke, is now in charge of De Rooy, adds: “We invest in relationship management. We don’t just have clients; we cultivate partnerships. There are only a handful of players in the market that need our transport. That’s why we prioritize sustainable relationships with existing partners, rather than recruiting new clients. This approach is really what sets us apart in the transport sector.”

100 years of special customer relationships

And because those partnerships are so tight, special customer relationships are forged. A good example of such a special relationship is the bond between De Rooy and de DAF Company, from Eindhoven. The relationship between these two companies dates back to 1954, almost seventy years ago. And not only did the two companies grow together, but Gerard also grew up with this collaboration. And so, he has many childhood memories of DAF.

“There are several DAF locations in Eindhoven. The fourth location, DAF-4, was jokingly the pub where management and employees would come to drink a beer. I remember that when I was little, I tapped beers for them. Some of them still recognize me from that time”, he chuckles. “And the DAF management came to our mom’s birthday. For us, that was the most normal thing in the world – that’s just how the relationship between DAF and De Rooy was.”

Childhood among the trucks

Just like Gerard, his sister Anneke fondly recalls her childhood among the trucks. She says: “I found those trucks immensely interesting. As a child, you couldn’t wish for a better playground than such a vast business park. I always played here with girlfriends; I thought it was super fun.”

Gerard adds: “For us, taking over the company felt natural. A long time ago, I occasionally expressed a desire to be a skipper. But I quickly abandoned that idea; I was more drawn to the trucks. At school, I was mainly interested in subjects related to transport, like geography. I managed the rest with a modest grade of six – that was enough for me.”

Proud father

Did Jan always hope that Gerard and Anneke would one day take over the company? “Of course, I dreamed about that. But as a parent, you can’t force your children to share your passion – I’m fortunate they do. Sharing such a passion with your children is special. They’ve been at the helm for about five years now, and I’m very proud of how they’re handling things.”

A baptism of fire

But those early days for Gerard and Anneke weren’t without challenges. Gerard recalls: “The chip crisis, COVID-19, the war in Ukraine – these were significant hurdles. In such times, it’s crucial to stay grounded and not give in to panic. Our motto has always been: less talk, more action.”

Anneke chimes in: “I’m proud of how we managed. We faced one challenge after another, but ultimately, we emerged stronger. Our position in the market is even more robust than before. That’s quite an accomplishment.”

A reliable team

In challenging times, a strong team is essential. Gerard explains: “The business landscape has changed over the years. In the past, you could handle much of the work yourself. But as the company grew, having a dependable team became crucial. We’re fortunate to have such a team – from our bookkeepers and planners to mechanics and drivers, and everyone in between. Each person is an expert in their domain.

As a team, we tackle every challenge head-on. Taking over a company is always a bit nerve-racking, especially when your family name is on the line. But when you also have to deal with such situations, you just need a reliable team. We are therefore extremely grateful to them. We wouldn’t have made it without them.”

The next generation De Rooy

What about the next generation of De Rooy? Anneke and Gerard exchange smiles. Gerard shares: “We aren’t sure yet. My daughter is currently on a nine-week summer break so she’s helping a bit with the administration – just to keep busy and earn some pocket money. Will one of our children eventually join the company? We’d be thrilled. But what’s most important is that they do something that makes them happy.”

Working at De Rooy

Interested in joining this unique family business? You’re in luck! Check out the job openings on our website and apply directly.

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