Strange send-off in an empty office

Holland Fresh Group's Ger van Burik to retire on 1 December

Ger van Burik began his career in the fruit and vegetable sector in 1983. That was at the Dutch Fruit and Vegetable Wholesale and Brokers Industrial Board. In 2006, he entered the international fruit and vegetable trade shows' world for the first time. In recent years, Ger has enjoyed organizing the orange-themed Holland Pavilion at various trade fairs. He's worked with multiple Dutch companies to ensure this stand's success. These include interior landscapers, Zuidkoop, and Young Events, a catering company.

A long career in the fruit and vegetable sector
As mentioned, Ger started at the Industrial Board. That was in its Registration / Membership Administration Department, on 1 March 1983. He was responsible for the company register. Ger also kept a close eye on all news items. So, he was up to date with new market entrants or company developments. You could always count on a phone call from Ger, asking you to register with the Board. For many in the sector, Ger van Burik is an 'old acquaintance'. And that certainly didn't change when he moved from the Board into the world of trade shows.

"In July 2006, I went to the PMA in America," says Ger. "It was my first trade show. They needed someone, at short notice, to manage things. I know the members well, so I packed my bags and flew off to America. I'd never been so far away and spoke poor English. So, it was a little scary. But I think I did a good job. Because I've organized many more events since then."

Trade show organization has fallen under the Holland Fresh Group Foundation since 2014. This foundation was established after the 'Industrial Boards' era ended. Ger has organized the Holland Pavilion at five trade fairs. These are Fruit Logistica in Berlin, the World Fruit and Vegetables Show (later the London Produce Show) in London, PMA Fresh Summit in the USA, Asia Fruit Logistica in Hong Kong, and Fruit Attraction in Madrid. 

Fruit Logistica is a unique event
Fruit Logistica in Berlin is one of the largest trade shows Ger has put together. "I did this for the first time in 2008. Over the years, the halls have become increasingly full. Holland Fresh Group offers its participants an all-in concept. That means everyone's taken care of, entirely. You book a stand of a certain size at Holland Fresh Group. We design the floor plan, and Zuidkoop takes care of the stand construction."

"They also make sure everything is delivered, as desired, the evening before opening. Caterer Young Events has been taking care of all the catering for years. This total concept is a success," says Ger. In 2008, Holland Fresh Group had 50 participants in a 1,550m2 hall. In 2020, that was as many as 120 participants. They took up a total floor area of no less than 3,700 m2.

Introducing: Ger's successor, Yvonne Wigchert
"Yvonne Wigchert started at Holland Fresh Group and GroentenFruit Huis on 1 December 2019. From1 December, she'll take over all the trade-show related tasks. Unfortunately, I haven't been able to introduce Yvonne to everyone yet. There were few trade fairs this year. That's thanks to COVID-19. But I can assure all participants that Yvonne is a good successor. Last year, we worked closely together. And I've passed as much of my knowledge as I could to her. Yvonne is experienced in organizing fairs in the fruit and vegetable sector too."

Ger's farewell message to Yvonne is, "Just do your own thing. Be yourself and do what's good for our members. And above all - enjoy it."

A cocktail party for Ger in Berlin
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, a farewell party hasn't (yet) been arranged for Ger. "It's regrettable to say goodbye like this, but there's nothing to be done. The only fair that's taken place in 2020 is the Fruit Logistica in Berlin. There, several exhibitors put me in the spotlight." Ger turned up, none-the-wiser, at the Holland Pavilion one evening during the event. "I was surprised with a nice cocktail party, even with music. And I was summoned to the stage. I was overwhelmed that a few good friends put that together for me. If I may say so, in cooperation with Messe Berlin."

You can read about it (in Dutch) on AGF.nl: 'Ger van Burik met 'Dutch Borrel' in het zonnetje gezet op zijn laatste actieve Fruit Logistica. 

Where do you know Ger from?
Ger wasn't only responsible for the Holland Pavilion. Some people might have met him at the HortiVERSum in Zoetermeer, the Netherlands. He was the caretaker there. Ger delivered the mail to all the companies every morning. He managed everything in and around the building. And he regularly climbed on a ladder to replace a fluorescent tube. Ger also took care of the Holland Onion Association's onion listings for many years.

Members, participants, business partners, and friends - thank you
Ger is retiring on 1 December 2020. He'd like to thank everyone for their confidence over the last 38 years. "I loved everything I did. I can reflect on things positively.  I wish you the best," Ger concludes.

Do you have a message for Ger?
Ger has worked with many people in and outside of the fruit and vegetable sector over the years. Would you like to say hello to Ger? Do you have a message for him? If so, please pass it on via burik@hollandfreshgroup.com. Ger will definitely appreciate it.

Everyone at GroentenFruit Huis greatly appreciates Ger's years of positive commitment and enjoyable working relationship.


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