Alweco is a real family-owned business
The company’s founder, Leo Alsemgeest, initially led Alweco to specialize in the installation of climate screens. Now, his son Stephan is taking his father’s vision further and together with the Management Team they are expanding the Alweco footprint into international markets.
Our in-house team has years of experience
Leo and Stephan Alsemgeest now sit opposite of each other in a large conference room. This particular room was constructed at Alweco’s second location in Honderdland with the specific purpose of meeting with foreign guests. The room is a modern necessity more than half of the turnover is earned outside The Netherlands. Nico Niepce and Jeroen van Gaalen also sit at the conference table during the conversation.
Nico is director of export and Jeroen is responsible for sales within Europe.
Leo Alsemgeest started the Alweco adventure 34 years ago. "In 1987, we were primarily a greenhouse builder who also did screen installations on the side," he says about the beginnings. "After the takeover of screen installer Luc Aalbrecht, about 28 years ago, we started to specialize entirely in the design and construction of screen installations. It requires a lot of knowledge, and our in-house team has years of experience. Over the last few years, greenhouse technology has advanced and is on par with other industry disciplines, such as heating, irrigation, lighting, and misting."
The best solutions for the grower
Cees den Boer is also seated in the large hall. He started Svensson in the Netherlands forty years ago and Alweco has been a customer of Cees since the beginning. Both know each other well.
"My relationship with Ludvig Svensson and Cees stems from those early days," says Leo. "In those early years, we only used screens to save energy. A step later was to control the climate. In the meantime, the screen has become a control tool and a fully-fledged part of The New Cultivation. We adapt ourselves completely to that development. For example, when working with a double pack of screens, we use vertical fans. The combined knowledge enables you to arrive at the best solutions for the grower."
Working on all continents
Due to their history of expertise, Alweco has become a real global player and Nico Niepce is a big part of that. "Design, installation, renovation; we have a solution for every construction, anywhere in the world. We work with partners on all continents who think and work in the same way as Alweco," explains Nico.
"Where haven't we been? Here in Maasdijk, the projects are designed and fully customized. We work with small teams, which keeps the lines short and enable us to pivot quickly. We then use containers to ship the entire installation to the customer, where our local installer assembles it. It is worth mentioning that we always perform a final check in the Netherlands. We never, ever want unsatisfied customers. Thanks to this way of working, we have strong relationships that have spanned decades."
Involved in increasingly large projects
In the large assembly hall, which also serves as a warehouse, you hear calm music playing. Two mechanics are working with large sawing machines to cut a few aluminum profiles to size. Stephan explains that in the offices above the hall, engineering usually takes place in 3D.
"Here, we prepare everything for transport to customers in the Netherlands and abroad," Stephan says.
"Everything is efficiently packed so that the technicians can get to work right away. We are involved in complexes of sometimes tens of hectares due to the scale of greenhouse horticulture. In the past, you sat at the table with the horticulturist, now meetings include investors from large financial corporations. Those investors, in turn, hire consultancies that invite us. It means that sometimes a lot of 40-foot containers leave here for projects abroad."
"By combining knowledge, you arrive at the best solutions for the grower."
Friday afternoon drinks between staff and subcontractors
Alweco invests in its staff at the head office and lets installers from local partners get into the school to maintain its reputation. "It's the only way to add value," says Nico, standing next to Stephan in the hall. "Experience of doing it in practice is important to us. A career from the field to the office is very normal here." Nico stops briefly and mentions the need for Friday afternoon drinks between staff and subcontractors.
"Very important for the exchange of knowledge. New ideas are born here. We do it together."