Back in the days
- By Joep Hopman, April 7
In this blog, I would like to head back and talk about the very beginning of Heinen & Hopman. It all began in the sixties with a few limited tools in a bedroom.
Since 15 years, I'm on the board of Heinen & Hopman and since about 10 years I am the CEO of Heinen & Hopman. I grew up in a family of six with two brothers and one sister. I am the eldest son of one of the founders of Heinen & Hopman. My father grew up in a fisher’s family with three brothers and one sister. He was the only one in the family who attended the MULO (similar to a school type between lower and higher general secondary education) and also the only member of the family who had the chance to go to college. After that, my father worked with Mr. Heinen at large installers.
In the mid-sixties, a major revolution took place when the first gas fields were discovered in the Netherlands. And: I was born. This became the establishment of Heinen & Hopman. Before the gas field discovery, every family used oil stoves and coal stoves to heat their homes, so it was quite a revolution that we all suddenly got a natural gas connection! It was even possible to place a boiler. You can imagine this was much more comfortable than such a dirty and stinking stove oil or coal. So, my father and Mr. Heinen started making heating systems for home use. On a small scale, of course. Our first ‘garage’ was an improvised working place in the bedroom with just some simple tools. At that time, an office was completely unnecessary; a tool box and a little storage room was all they needed and in the evenings they hit the books. Materials that we did not have in stock, we ordered at a former wholesale in Baarn. After this improvised work place, my father and Mr. Heinen moved their activities to a little shed which they hired from a contractor. A few years later, they were finally able to buy land and build an actual warehouse made of concrete. It was small, but big enough to start supplying yachts with climate control systems.
How I took over the baton? As a child, of course I was more a getting in the way than actually contributing to the company. When I grew up, during the holidays I helped with assembling and every Saturday morning I kept the workshop clean. Even after school hours, I was at the workshop. In my early twenties I finished school which made me able to really start contributing to the company. At first, I started as a draftsman and later on I got the chance to live and work in Scandinavia. That’s when my career began. Of course, as a youngster I also had other plans for the future. Once. Working at the stock market as a stockbroker for example. But hey: my birth was in sync with the gas bubble in the mid-sixties. I've been labeled from birth to tackle this. I guess there isn’t a brighter future!
Joep Hopman | CEO
Joep Hopman is the CEO of Heinen & Hopman. As the eldest son of one of the founders of Heinen & Hopman, he has been involved in the company since the early days.