Edwin is one of our loyal employees and has worked in the production department at Gpi De Gouwe for many years. In 1993, he started working for Machinefabriek De Gouwe (as we were called back then) as a sheet metal work/welder, and learned his trade on the work floor. Just like the company, Edwin has also developed over the years.
“I learned about the vacancy at Machinefabriek De Gouwe via one of my father’s contacts. I was working as a sheet metal worker in the metal industry and was looking for something new” explains Edwin. “Working with stainless steel was completely different than slamming a hammer against a piece of metal, as I was accustomed to doing!”. He was recruited and trained internally to become a sheet metal worker/welder for – as he calls them – the more difficult jobs. As a result, he developed into a specialist within the company when it came to creating high-quality stainless steel process tanks.
Because he possesses a lot of knowledge and experience in terms of creating process equipment for e.g. the food and cosmetics sectors, besides his colleagues in the production department, he also interacts with other departments at Gpi De Gouwe. “The interaction between our Engineering department and the work floor makes my job so enjoyable, and we continue to learn from each other. Things can look suitable and feasible on drawings, but that is sometimes not the case in practice, or vice versa. And it is great when we can assist one another in this regard.” says Edwin. When he looks back over the years, he sees that Gpi De Gouwe has developed from a ‘tank builder’ to a company that produces the ‘crème de la crème’ of process equipment. “This is great to see, and fills me with a sense of pride”.
No two days are the same
As cooperating foreman, he experiences different things almost every single day. “Besides welding, my activities also include dealing with the planning for the production department. This involves checking whether a project can be started. Or if all components needed to start a project have actually arrived. And if something is missing, it must be taken care of as soon as possible. I assign the various projects to colleagues, follow up how these projects are going, and also perform the required checks and supervision,” adds Edwin. He also performs a final check before projects are presented for the quality inspection. “My work thus also involves production, organisation and inspection. And this diversity is what makes the job so enjoyable”.
Besides all these tasks, he finds plenty of other challenges, feels appreciated as a colleague, and is very committed to Gpi. In addition, he is also very pleased to play a role in the opportunities and support offered within the organisation. For instance, despite his busy schedule, he likes to give tours to secondary school children and makes sure that interns feel enthusiastic about the profession when their time at the company comes to an end, in the hope that they will opt for a career in the metal sector. “I really enjoy doing this, and good welders and sheet metal workers will always be in demand!” says Edwin with a huge smile.
More than stainless steel tanks and process equipment
Edwin is also actively involved in other areas at Gpi. He is a member of the Works Council (WC) and is also an in-house first-aider at Gpi De Gouwe. “I believe it is important to be like a connecting layer between management and the work floor. Within the WC, we review the decisions made by management while also supporting people on the work floor”. His desire to be an in-house first-aider typifies Edwin’s social commitment. “You can play a crucial role by immediately helping colleagues who are in need. Although I am not very medical-minded, you want to offer people effective support if something happens to them. I’m sure this is something everyone can appreciate!”