Meet the people behind Stafier | Rudy van der Kracht

30 Mar 2023

‘They kept coming to me asking if I wanted to take it to the next level’

When Rudy started at Stafier, he didn’t expect to enjoy working somewhere for so long. And now he is the longest-serving colleague at Stafier, with his retirement in sight. How has he survived for 45 years? That was a piece of cake, according to quality controller Rudy. In this interview, he tells you all about it!

Although Rudy has been with the company for 45 years, Stafier was not his first employer. After completing his education in metal engineering, he started at the shipyard in Lobit. At the time, it was a logical step for the hardworking Rudy, because many peers were doing the same. “The shipyard in Lobith always needed people. I wanted to start working as soon as possible and they enabled that. I followed a work-based learning programme. In the two years that I worked there, I mainly learned technical drawing for the shipyard.”

Finding happiness at Stafier

After that, Rudy felt it was time for the next step. “I started working as a hodman at a cable-laying company. I did that for two years, but it didn’t quite suit me. Then I joined a company that made aluminum clamp constructions. Unfortunately, they went bankrupt after six months. That was a pity, because it was fun work. When I started applying again, Stafier crossed my path. Here I started as a production employee and now I have worked in all departments.” Before Rudy started working at Stafier, he was not unfamiliar with the company, he says. “I already knew Stafier thanks to a company visit during my education. The company already appealed to me and as expected: I immediately liked working at Stafier! That was partly because I did very varied work at the time.”

The longest-serving employee

“I have gone through many developments during my time at Stafier. Not only professionally, but also personally. I started as a production worker in various departments: plate, wire, and stamping. Then I progressed to machine setter. After that, I became assistant foreman, grew to become a team leader and have now been working as a quality controller for 14 years.” According to Rudy, he partly owes his growth within Stafier to himself, but also to his colleagues: “Having ambition is important when growing, and of course, knowledge also plays a role. They kept coming to me asking if I wanted to take it to the next level. So I didn’t have to ask for it myself.”

45 years full of developments within Stafier

When we ask him about developments within the company, Rudy tells us enthusiastically: “It’s a world of difference compared to when I started. At that time, we needed five machines to make one product. Now, the machines run independently and do most of the work. This means that the work layout is different now. We make the same products, but more automated.” The expert has also seen a growth in demand for products. “When I started at Stafier, the demand for our products was lower, and fewer people were needed. Now, we have grown in terms of quantities, so despite all the automation, more people are needed.”

Colleagues who feel like family

Rudy’s ability to stay 45 years at Stafier is not just thanks to the work, he says. “The atmosphere at Stafier is pleasant: we are one team and there is no clique formation. It actually feels like a big family, in which everyone can address each other and where there is no hierarchy.” He never expected to stay this long when he started at Stafier, he admits: “When I started, I didn’t expect to stay so long, but that’s just how it turned out. When I started working at the shipyard, I thought, ‘if I have to work for 40 years, that’s going to be a long time,’ but all those years have flown by now. I have now been with Stafier for over 40 years and I still enjoy it.” Rudy is now almost ready for his retirement, but he admits he will miss his Stafier family. “When do I retire? Maybe at the end of next year. But one thing is for sure: I will come back regularly to have coffee with my colleagues!”

Do you want to have the opportunity to develop yourself and grow within a company, just like Rudy? Check out our current vacancies, there may be a suitable position for you!

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