Maik van Vugt

Paul en Cathelijne Niessen

 

They share the same surname and a passion for working at the same company: DAF. Given the wide range of positions and professions at DAF and the fact that the company started out as a family business, it is no wonder that many members of the same families are employed at the organisation. A chat with brother and sister, Paul and Cathelijne Niessen.

While working on a temporary assignment in 2010, Cathelijne became aware of a vacancy that had her brother’s name, Paul, written all over it. “I knew that Paul was looking for a new challenge and so I told him about the vacancy. It was a job that matched his previous experience perfectly.”

Since 2011 Paul has been working as a Product Manager for PACCAR Parts, while Cathelijne currently works as a Training & Development manager at DAF. Two completely different positions, which means that they never really cross paths at work. Cathelijne: “I think you are more in tune with the work that I do than I am with your work.” Paul agrees: “Her work has more to do with the corporate training programmes that also affect PACCAR Parts.”

Cathelijne and Paul also discuss their work with each other outside the office hours. “It’s not something we do every single day,” Paul says, “but it’s nice to have someone to talk to about certain situations on the job. It gives us both a better understanding of how things work and if necessary, we can advise each other. That wouldn’t be the case if we worked at different companies.”

“How would I describe Paul? Paul is completely committed to achieving his goals, does his job to the best of his ability and is an excellent networker,” says Cathelijne. “Couldn’t put it better myself!” says Paul. “But you are also very committed to your goals and achieving them together with the people in your team. You know how to set deadlines and firm targets and also how to get things done. Very result-oriented.”

An international firm, but with a local character
Both Paul and Cathelijne agree that DAF is a very international firm, but one that has managed to retain its local character at the same time. “It is a dynamic company, there is always something going on. The atmosphere on the work floor is very informal and everyone is approachable,” explains Paul. Cathelijne confirms this: “The culture is focused on cooperation and getting things done together. Even in difficult situations we remain creative and always manage to sort out problems together or make whatever changes are required.”

It is really no surprise then that Cathelijne and Paul have ended up working for the same firm. “We always said that we would end up doing something together,” says Cathelijne, “and our father used to have two DAFs for his driving school, so we grew up with the brand. And today it is still a beautiful product that sparks the imagination. It’s a cool product. And that feeling is confirmed every time you see one of DAF’s trucks out on the road.”

Maik van vught