The founding father of Veka AG, Heinrich Laumann, has passed away aged 89.
With his death, Veka MD Dave Jones believes the window industry has lost one of its most distinguished entrepreneurs of the last 50 years.
Dave commented: “I was moved to hear of the passing of our founder Heinrich Laumann; a real gentleman, a family man and a true pioneer of our industry. His business vision shaped the industry on an international level, and his core values – putting people first – will be his lasting legacy at Veka subsidiaries across the globe.”
Heinrich was 40 years old in 1969 when he took the reins at Vekaplast in the German city of Sendenhorst. He started out with a team of just eight people, and over the next 49 years – with his guidance – the company became a global leader in PVC-U. From humble beginnings evolved an internationally renowned business that now employs around 5,600 people in 35 countries across the globe.
Heinrich was described as a person whose vision, courage and passion grew Veka AG to where it is today. Together with his employees, he led the company to extraordinary domestic and international success. His peers say he influenced an entire industry with his farsighted decisions and innovations.
Dave added: “I had the pleasure of working with Heinrich early in my career and I found him to be an inspirational man, with an impressive level of technical expertise. While he wasn’t always the loudest person in the room, his vision when it came to fenestration, and the future of his company was impossible to ignore. His drive and quiet determination was wonderful to witness, and a privilege to be party to at the start of my Veka career.
“Heinrich was one of the ‘pioneers of PVC-U’ as a window and door material, when his company first started extruding this material. And in 1993, when he helped set up the first closed-loop PVC-U recycling plant of its kind, he paved the way for how we not only produce this material, but also reprocess it responsibly.
“His keen sense of social responsibility was also demonstrated by his involvement in charitable causes and together with his wife Rita, in 2008, he established the ‘Heinrich and Rita Laumann Foundation’ committed to helping the elderly and infirm in their region.
“Heinrich was made an honorary citizen of the town Sendenhorst and was a recipient of the German Federal Service Cross of Merit Award. He received this honour for his entrepreneurial and business achievements in Sendenhorst as well as ‘for his outstanding personal contribution to society and personal engagement for people and nature.’
“Heinrich’s German obituary read: “his friendly and always down-to-earth, natural way of dealing with people, his ability to act successfully, and at the same time remain focused, made him into the outstanding entrepreneurial personality that he was.” I believe that’s something that we can all learn from, no matter our line of business.
“Heinrich never failed to consider everyone in his company, whether there were eight in the team or, more recently, over 5,000. And, as Veka heads towards its 50th anniversary next year, it is these family values that will be his lasting legacy, just as much as the way he shaped the fenestration industry we know today.”