For twenty-six years Eric Verhoeven led his company Verhoeven Dust Control with passion. He now hands over the helm to two young, enthusiastic entrepreneurs: Johan De Bruyn and Frederic De Schepper.
A customer-oriented click
After several years of experience in production, sales and as a manager in the dedusting techniques department, Eric developed the ambition to start his own company, which he could develop according to his own vision. In 1995 he realized this ambition with the establishment of Verhoeven Dust Control. “In the first few years it was not easy to get orders in,” says Eric, “but by building trust, both with customers and suppliers, the company has gradually grown into a great company.” VDC is now celebrating its twenty-sixth anniversary and is a reference player in the environmental sector.
Verhoeven Dust Control is synonymous with a solution-oriented, honest and flexible approach. “I try to think along with the customers and be fully transparent about any concerns or problems. Thanks to an extensive network of trusted subcontractors and suppliers, I can offer a tailor-made solution for the customer,” continues Eric.
This customer-oriented approach was therefore high on the agenda in Eric's search for a candidate buyer. “From the first conversations there was a click with Johan and Frederic. We share the same vision of a customer-centric approach and they came up with some innovative ideas,” Eric says. “We have also cleared out as much as possible in advance, so that the transfer can take place in a smooth and structured manner.” Eric therefore confidently hands over his company to Johan and Frederic.
An (eco)logical choice
Starting entrepreneurs Johan and Frederic know that sustainable entrepreneurship is the future. “Sustainable entrepreneurship has moved into higher gear in recent years. Controlling dust and noise emissions will play an important role in this. Not only in terms of achieving certain standards, but companies also want to create better working conditions for their employees.”
The choice to take over Verhoeven Dust Control fits in perfectly with this vision. In addition, Johan and Frederic consciously chose to take over an existing company, instead of starting their own company from scratch. “We looked for a company with a modest size, a varied product portfolio, but also the possibility to develop new products and solutions ourselves,” says Frederic, “Verhoeven Dust Control met all these requirements. After a constructive first acquaintance with Eric, the acquisition was actually a logical choice.”
Johan and Frederic had both had the itch to start up their own business for some time, but it was only when they got to know each other that this dream took shape. In the meantime, they work like a well-oiled tandem and the division of roles is clear. Johan has many years of experience in the industry, he started in the engineering department at Umicore Hoboken in 2010 and later on progressed to become Maintenance Manager. Engineering and optimization of industrial installations are a real passion for him, he will therefore take on the day-to-day management of Verhoeven Dust Control. Frederic's entrepreneurial spirit was triggered when he followed a Vlerick training in 2017, his focus will be on the further digitization and growth of the company.
Growing the team
“We are certainly not going to change course,” emphasizes Johan, “we want to build on Eric's many years of experience and everything he has built up in recent years. What we do want to do is take a fresh look at things.” Digitization is the first item on their agenda: “Acceleration can be taken to thoroughly digitize a number of things. This frees up more time to support customers and focus on core activities.”
We strive to offer a total solution to our customers. But in order to grow smartly, additional expertise is needed, both entrepreneurs acknowledge. Namely an expert group that masters all facets of project work and emission control. “The goal is therefore to recruit a group of about four employees over the next three years, in order to be able to offer a larger portfolio to our customers,” says Johan.
Eric will remain on board until the end of 2022 to ensure continuity for his customers. “A trajectory has been drawn up to correctly estimate the finer points of designing, elaborating and analyzing the problem definition of customers. We also plan many customer visits so that I can introduce myself as the new face of the company,” concludes Johan.