Jan Hoekstra started working for Piet Brouwer Electrotechnology 35 years ago after graduating from Junior Technical School (LTS). As a 16-year old boy, he helped fishermen who came to pick up equipment for their vessels. In addition, he carried on attending school one day a week to obtain his electrician’s diploma.
“I will never forget my first day on the job. I was supposed to connect a TL fixture on board the fishing cutter UK 224, which was moored in the harbour of Urk. I wanted to split the cable with my brand-new, razor-sharp box cutter, but in school we had never seen the steel protection in the cable. My knife slipped and I cut straight across my hand. I ended up going to the doctor’s to get stitches.”
After holding a variety of functions at Piet Brouwer Electrotechnology over the years – from assistant mechanic to project leader and draftsman – Jan has been working as location manager in Den Helder for the past five years. In this function he is responsible for all the goings-on in the company, and ensures that the engineers never hit the road without having the right technical data, electrical diagrams and materials. Jan also offers support by phone when clients call about technical issues or failures from at sea or elsewhere.
“A typical aspect of the work in an outer harbour like Den Helder is that many vessels come in experiencing failures which have to be resolved as quickly as possible so they can get back to sea. We’re talking vessels with a wide variety of ship installations, from ancient to ultra-modern. We also encounter materials from a wide range of manufacturers and it is often a big challenge to find the right replacement materials in a short time span.”
The fact that Jan has been working at Piet Brouwer for 35 years is due to the excellent atmosphere within the company, he says. “We have always had an eye for quality when it comes to both external and internal procedures. Even with the increased number of employees in recent years, the contact among the Piet Brouwer personnel remains very amicable, and the staff is very loyal. In addition, our work is varied and interesting. No two days are the same.”
Hoekstra believes that the strength of Piet Brouwer Electrotechnology lies in the relatively young employees, with people who are certainly not afraid of taking on responsibilities and challenges. They are also extremely flexible towards clients and companies alike. “Moreover, we have a management that appreciates and stimulates these characteristics. The fact that the company’s foundation is in fishery installations also plays a part. Those vessels have to perform in the most extreme conditions, and failure of the electrical systems is unacceptable. This is the basis for our high quality standards: aiming for the best is part of who we are.”