Marcel Riemslag of Dutch crane sales and rental company Hovago is retiring after 35 years in the crane business.
Riemslag began his career as a technician in the district heating industry, later joining the International petrochemical engineering contractor M.W. Kellogg, where he worked all over the world including a spell in Australia.
While working in Amsterdam at the end of 1985 he was approached by a temporary staff recruitment agency looking for someone for the crane industry. He thought he would give it a try and ended up joining the Caterpillar distributor Geveke, (which had recently lost the Grove crane distributorship to HDW, following the merger of Grove Europe and Coles) which was in the process of acquiring the Manitowoc and Krupp crane distributorships from Polytex. He recalls that his first ever crane sale was a Manitowoc 4100 crawler crane.
Then in 1989 Ralph Helm of Manitowoc recruited him as a sales engineer for its new European operation, Manitowoc Europe, based in the Netherlands. He was then promoted to sales manager and stayed with the business for more than 10 years, leaving to become sales manager for Hovago at the start of 2000. Then in 2017 he was promoted to general manager. See: Hovago adds to management team.
As he approaches the age of 67, he feels it is time to start doing all of the many things he has not had time for in the past. Although he is quite clear that there was not one day in the last 35 years where he did not look forward to going to work, “there has never been a dull moment, and I don’t regret for a second taking that decision to become involved in the crane business. After working for so long in this business, I can hardly imagine not to be involved in cranes anymore, but I am going to give it a serious try.”
He will start by teaching mathematics, on a part time basis - he has a 17 year old daughter - while also restoring an old camper van he has purchased and then travelling with it. As a motorbike lover he is also keen to find an iconic Harley Davidson WLA ‘Liberator’, that were built for the US Army during the war years. He also has a new Santos long distance touring bicycle that he hopes to use for its intended purpose.
Finally, he adds: “I would have preferred to say goodbye to all those wonderful people I have had the good fortune to do business with over the years, who have become friends as much as customers or suppliers, but the present Covid crisis circumstances make that impossible.”
He officially retires at the end of the month, with international sales manager Tiemen Reitsma taking over his remaining commercial responsibilities.