Two captains on one ship: entrepreneur Ester van Spijker sees that as a big plus. Together with her brother Alfred, she has been running their family business Van Spijker Infrabouw in Meppel since 2012. A company that realizes infrastructural construction works, from drawing to completion. "Our bond of trust provides a safe basis for discussion. There is equality and we sharpen our outspoken opinions to each other. That's how we come to the best decisions."
A business partner does not necessarily have to be family, although Ester realizes how unique and especially how familiar it is to do business with her brother. "We reinforce each other. The special thing is that we are completely on the same page in where we want to go with the company. Only sometimes we think differently about how we are going to achieve those goals. But: without friction there is no shine. That's why we are such a powerful duo."
Just one year after taking over the helm from their father, brother and sister Van Spijker took on a major challenge. "We seized the opportunity in times of crisis to grow and broaden our market. As a new generation, we set our own course and grew from less than 40 to 65 people. A time of hard work, focus and rapid change." Although the growth spurt in size and revenue was successful, the entrepreneurial duo realized that they did not want to get too big. "Natural growth is part of a healthy business, but we wanted to keep the SME character of our family business. We succeeded, in part by conducting the job interviews ourselves and being close to our people."
In order to grow, funding was needed. In view of the crisis, it was not a good time to turn to banks. Certainly not as a construction company. Ester and Alfred van Spijker searched the market for another party. In 2015, Van Spijker Infrabouw partnered with NOM. "With them we found a fine cooperation," says Ester van Spijker. "They think along and assist with advice and assistance. NOM is also part of our Advisory Board, which is nice. Moreover, NOM's involvement gives our company a positive image."
Without friction, there is no shine
Sustainability and innovation play a prominent role in the approach at Van Spijker Infrabouw. According to Ester, that - by keeping an eye on future generations - is inherent in both a family business and in the business. "We have a heart for civil engineering because we are really creating something visible and lasting in the world. That requires future-proofing. We therefore work according to the CO₂ performance ladder, but also add our own sustainable initiatives to projects. Innovation is related to this and often arises from the drive to win tenders. As a team, with each new project we consider which approach fits best. And again, without friction there is no shine."