Heinrich Laumann obituary

The founding father of Veka, 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.

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 PVCU, employing around 5,600 people in 35 countries across the globe.

Heinrich was described as a person whose vision, courage and passion grew Veka to where it is today. Together with his employees, he led the company to extraordinary domestic and international success.

Heinrich was one of the pioneers of PVCU as a window and door material and, in 1993, when he helped set up the first closed-loop PVCU 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.