I was raised with a keen awareness of business. One of my earliest memories was going to dad’s work to see his silver recovery machine, which gathered silver leftover from photo processing. In high school, I gave a demonstration speech on dad’s densitometers, which mathematically calculate color to ensure consistent and accurate print processes. In the years between the silver recovery machine and the densitometer, my dad had become a world renowned expert on color measurement and management, creating products which revolutionized the color industry.
My dad’s work is the reason Coke red is Coke red, home stores can match paint to household items, we can color manage computer screens to ensure professional photo labs deliver prints that match, and so much more. Our family vacations often included visiting photo labs to check in and see if dad’s equipment was in use on the premises— and it usually was.
Dad’s work took him worldwide, but most people didn’t see my dad at home. In our early years, money was tight with five children. But dad came from a family of 12 siblings, the grandson of poor immigrants from the Netherlands, and hard work and pinching pennies was the norm.
My mom had a severe ankle injury when I was nine which led to multiple surgeries and extended periods of bedrest. My dad dug in at home, and organized his 5 kids to keep our family running. My responsibility from the age of 9 was to do the household laundry and iron my dad’s work clothes, for which I earned $5 a week— and is probably why I still hate ironing!
Dad’s job fed us, and his hard work and passion paid off as he helped grow his company to be the world leader in color management, serving as Vice President of Engineering and Chief Technology Officer (CTO). After “retiring”, dad returned as a consultant and Systems Engineer.
Dad also had a passion for missions, and the gift of generosity, through which he blessed and helped so many. After I left home, Dad helped my sister raise her 5 children when she fell on hard circumstances, all while continuing to lead his corporation.
Today, in Allendale, I enjoy seeing ads for X-Rite Pantone on GVSU buses, knowing the grit, hard work, and history of my dad and others who built the company. Dad retired this month at 79. Dad still enjoyed taking products from mediocre status and bringing them to a performance standard of excellence. It was his passion.
With 9 sisters, dad had high expectations of all of his children, and instilled in his daughters we could accomplish whatever we dreamed of. When God led my path towards working with families in crisis in foster care and special needs adoption, dad recognized that calling as significant work and fully supported my investment in the lives of children and families.
After having my boys and starting my own business, I enjoyed some overlap with dad’s world of color with my photography and design business. Today, in my work of advocating for the people in cultural and political arenas, I bring with me foundational truths and invaluable lessons dad laid in my life.
Faith is our cornerstone. Life is tough. People need Jesus.
Businesses feed families. Jobs are essential.
Work brings fulfillment and social uplift.
Think outside the box. Dreams are built by exploring new ideas and creating new things.
Pursue excellence. Outwork your competition, and enjoy doing it.
Peoples’ hard work, innovation and grit build businesses, not the government.
I have a deep respect for business and ingenuity. Like my dad, I love to figure problems out. To take the mediocre and bring it to a standard of excellence. I am excited to continue using my gifts and talents to serve the people in Ottawa County.