Cheers rang out as Arthur Nederlof took the podium to announce that the fast-growing Dutch company the VANAD Group had chosen Gainesville as its U.S. headquarters on Friday (June 24).
“Wow. What a warm welcome,” he told community leaders who welcomed him and VANAD in an event at the Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce headquarters.
Nederlof said he visited the Greater Gainesville Area earlier as the company narrowed down its search for an American anchor. “It was an easy decision after all,” he said.
What crystallized the choice – which in the end was between Gainesville and Atlanta – was the enthusiasm of everyone he met here.
“I want to give a huge applause to the people who made a great impact on this decision,” he said.
The recruiting team was well-represented Friday – including business leaders, city and county commissioners, and representatives of the University of Florida, Santa Fe College and CareerSource North Central Florida.
Rory Causseaux, chair of the Council for Economic Outreach’s Chair and chamber board chair-elect, quoted Nederlof’s father and longtime successful entrepreneur, Ad Nederlof, as saying: “Life is too short to be in the wrong place.”
As the VANAD team mingled with the local group, Arnoud Munneke, who co-founded VANAD, said the Gainesville office will focus on the company’s main proposition – providing information and communications solutions aimed at delivering customer satisfaction.
An example is Alahoa, a constantly-evolving technology that responds to the needs of the employees of a customer-contact center, he said.
Brian Raincloud, the company’s vice president of marketing and sales for the U.S., said he was enthusiastic about moving to Gainesville to lead the local office. “The talent is here for the picking,” he remarked.
Les Giddings, who introduced VANAD to Gainesville and who is vice president of professional and implementation services, said serving as matchmaker went smoothly. “The community sold itself,” he said.
The first UF graduate to join VANAD, Shantanu Kande, was smiling about being able to stay in town upon completion of his master’s in entrepreneurship. “I love Gainesville and all the young people,” he said.
The company culture focuses on serving customers and embracing employees as true partners, Nederlof said. “We want people who feel at home with us, and who see our vision as their vision,” he said.
The company designs and implements a wide variety of cloud-based customer service technologies. Its pitch to U.S. prospects will focus on its responsiveness and emphasis on human engagement, Nederlof said. “We are the owners, so we can make whatever changes we need to,” he said.