Working together as grandpa, father, and son. How do you all experience that, despite your different ages?
Grandpa Gé: “It’s a lot of fun!” Grandson Rico: “Yes, definitely fun. It feels familiar and amazing.” Son Ronald: “There’s a 62-year gap between my father and my son. The collaboration is going really well. But you also see differences between the generations. I grew up with a father who was always working. For our generation, that’s just normal. With Rico, I notice that leisure time is also important.”
How did you end up working together?
Grandpa Gé: “Ronald was ten years old and used to come along to the auction with me. You need to feel at home in this world. You need a certain mentality, and he got that from an early age.” Ronald: “I liked this environment. And when you like something, you don’t leave it quickly. So, it made sense for me to work in this world.”
Pa Arkesteijn had always worked at the auction and joined Sions Plant (formerly Zyon) in 2009, the organization where Ronald was working. This marked the first collaboration between father and son.
Born in 2006, Rico is currently in school and initially had a different summer job. His father brought him to Zyon. “Come and see for yourself, then you can decide if you like it.” Rico says he’s not sure if this world is for him. Perhaps he will pursue his future elsewhere. Ronald looks surprised and playfully tries to convince his son. Grandpa points at Rico: “You’ll regret that, young man.” Luckily, Rico isn’t tired of it yet, as he sees various things he wants to improve and tackle. As he says himself: “We can expand and make some money.”
Can you give examples of moments when you’ve learned from each other’s generations?
Rico laughs: “Grandpa and Dad didn’t know that you can automatically print labels with the handheld scanner.” Ronald: “Rico has significantly expanded his knowledge about plants. Additionally, we’ve helped him feel at home here.” Gé adds: “In this fast-paced world, it’s important to stand your ground. We’ve taught him to be stronger.”
Are there specific moments or projects you look back on with pride as a grandpa-father-son team? Grandpa Gé: “I’m proud of the whole affair.” Ronald: “What we can achieve with a relatively small team. We can’t do it with just the three of us, but with the whole team, we can. We’re all different, but everyone respects and accepts each other. At the core, everyone approaches things in the same way.” Rico adds: “There are people from many different countries working here. It’s quite remarkable how well it works.” Gé: “Everyone finishes their work. No one shies away from their responsibility.”
During the interview, the men speculate about the future. Grandpa is 80 years old but has no plans to stop. He loves being around people and enjoys his trips to various growers. Rico fantasizes about robots. “How cool would it be if we could automate and mechanize more, so the work gets done faster.” Ronald agrees: “We want to remain a reliable supplier. If we make even fewer mistakes, we can undoubtedly attract more business. We want to provide more customers with our beautiful products.”
They hardly have disagreements or conflicts among themselves. Ronald: “Due to the same upbringing, we don’t have problems. If there are any, we solve them. It’s really pleasant that we get along so well.”