At Boortmalt we care about our people
Fernand Da Silva, on hand at Gembloux for 31 years already
Do you have a question about our malthouse situated in Gembloux (Belgium)? Fernand Da Silva (61), Maintenance Manager at Gembloux, will be glad to answer it with full knowledge of the facts. He has been on the job for 31 years already!
Fernand: 'Even though I am just 3 years away from retirement, I come to work with enthusiasm every day. My working life is inextricably linked with this malthouse. I was working here even before it was taken over by Boortmalt - ﬁrst as a technician, then as maintenance manager for Belgomalt. I am in charge of overseeing the total maintenance of the site, while my colleague Henri
Malcourant is responsible for production.’
Many things have had to change through the years ?
Fernand: ‘That is correct. When I arrived at the malthouse, the machines were already relatively old. The mechanical parts dated from the 1950s. I witnessed the development of automation in its entirety. The arrival of computers – and the indispensable training that went with them
In the olden days, when there was a problem at the malthouse, they called me at home. Then the mobile phone came along. From that moment on, I could be reached at all times everywhere (laughs). Today, technology is so advanced that the computers warn us when there is a problem in the malthouse. All I have to do is log on from home to see what is going on and what has to be done. Talk about advancement!’
What will be your fondest memories when you retire ?
Fernand: ‘I am delighted I was able to contribute to the development of the Gembloux malthouse. I have had moments of doubt also – I am thinking in particular of the bankruptcy and acquisitions – but on the whole, I learnt a lot and helped get things moving forward. What is important at Boortmalt is the respect and consideration shown to clerical employees and blue collar workers. I can contact Yvan Schaepman at any time. He is always ready to lend a listening ear to the problems I raise. I
think that there are very few companies where such straightforward and direct contacts with the CEO are possible. And I like that a lot.’
Congratulations on your retirement, Rudy Clynhens (62)
Rudy Clynhens was given the red carpet treatment in Antwerp this year: after a career spanning 32 years at Boortmalt, he embarked on his well-earned retirement. But he will not be leaving our company entirely ...…
Rudy : ‘I started working at Boortmalt in 1983. At the time, it was still a small family owned and run company, situated next to the church in Boortmeerbeek (Belgium). I have had a wonderful career: operator, foreman, production team leader, then moving to the plant in Antwerp as production and quality supervisor … I have run the gamut of experience. And from 2006 to the day I retired I oversaw the qualitative conversion of barley to malt as production manager.’
What did you learn during your years at Boortmalt?
Rudy : ‘‘ learned that Boortmalt is a company that has always reacted rapidly and accurately to a constantly changing world. And I was able to grow along with the company from day 1 -- ﬁrst, in the Belgian family owned and run company, then thanks to the further growth through takeovers, ﬁrst by Epis Centre and subsequently by Axereal. These growth processes were not always self-evident, but where there’s a will, there’s a way. On a personal level, the company stimulated me to develop further, thanks to he training courses on weekends and in evening school. Combining work, studies and my personal life was a delicate balancing act at times, but I am glad that I did it, because it made me a better person.’
What will you remember fondly?
Rudy : ‘Oh, there are so many memories. The good feeling you get each time you ﬁnd a solution to a problem, for instance. Barley is a living crop which cannot be turned into the malt you want just like that. But when your approach produces the desired result all of a sudden, then it’s a fantastic moment each and every time.’
Now that you are retiring, how ar you going to spend that free time
Rudy : ‘With classic activities such as walking, cycling, gardening, enjoying a drink at an outdoor cafe and angling. I am a keen angler. But what I am really looking forward to, is becoming a grandfather for the ﬁrst time!My ﬁrst grandchild is due in June.’
And in spite of your grandfatherly duties, you are not going to leave Boortmalt completely, are you?
Rudy : ‘That is correct. I will continue to work a few days a month as a consultant. I like to share my knowledge, so that the current team can become even better, and my experience can be preserved.