Since its founding in 1979, Wiertsema & Partners has firmly established itself in the top 3 geotechnical engineering firms in the Netherlands. To ensure long-term continuity, NOM recently took an equity stake in the Tolbert-based company.
'We specialize in mapping the properties of soil and ground,' says Duco Kriele, general manager Wiertsema & Partners. 'In the urban area, but also at dikes in the context of water safety. We do that geotechnical research in the form of fieldwork, such as making probes and borings, monitoring displacements and vibrations in the subsurface and measuring groundwater levels.'
Wiertsema & Partners works for a variety of clients. For governments, contractors, water boards, engineering firms and architects, among others. For them, a good understanding of soil and ground properties is essential for designing a construction. 'Based on the research results, we advise clients on decisions or measures to be taken before or during construction work,' says Kriele, who forms the management together with Kees-Jan van der Made. 'What kind of foundation piles should be built on? What drainage must be used? Or where in the project should temporary inner-city structures of sheet piling be installed?'
Wiertsema & Partners has become a prominent and prominent player in the national geotechnical industry. And with some 100 employees, the company is also an important employer in the region. 'We have achieved this through autonomous growth, hard work, inspiration and the enthusiasm of our people,' says Kriele. 'But also by taking the right strategic decisions in changing market conditions. For example, for a long time the vast majority of our sales came from construction. In the past decade we have also started to focus more explicitly on other sectors, including infrastructure. That decision to expand has ensured that we came through the crisis unscathed.'
Wiertsema & Partners obviously wants to maintain that strong position and improve it wherever possible. For many companies it is then tempting to look for a strategic takeover candidate. 'But that has never been an issue with us,' Kriele emphasizes. 'We are traditionally a family business and want to continue to operate independently in the future.' However, to ensure the long-term continuity of Wiertsema & Partners, investments are needed for further growth, innovations and the strengthening and expansion of the existing service package. The Tolbert-based company therefore sought contact with NOM. 'That immediately felt right,' says Kriele. 'It was evident from everything that NOM was not sitting at the table for profit, but really wants to support companies that add value to the Northern Netherlands. As we got to know each other better, we became more and more enthusiastic. It was no different for NOM. That resulted in the development company recently acquiring an equity stake in Wiertsema & Partners, in combination with the provision of capital.'
Directors Kees-Jan van der Made and Duco Kriele are both 58 years old. Therefore, it is good to start thinking now about future succession. 'We are going to look at how we can make the management even stronger, so that others can take over Kees-Jan and Duco's tasks in a number of years,' explains Ruud van Dijk, Investment Manager of the NOM. 'In addition, collecting and unlocking data is becoming increasingly important. By making targeted investments in ICT, the company wants to improve even further in this area. Together we are making every effort to ensure that Wiertsema & Partners continues to perform as well in the future as they have over the past 40 years.'