Stuttaford Van Lines is exceptionally proud of its staff’s commitment to delivering service excellence to clients, and our Cape Town branch has awarded two of its employees with over 50 years’ of experience between them. Well done to Naas Vermeulen and Andrew Stallbaum!
SVL Cape Town’s branch manager, Mike Kitshoff (far-left), and SVL Director Charl Pienaar (far-right), recently presented long-service awards to Naas Vermeulen (second from right) and Andrew Stallbaum (second from left) in recognition of their respective 35 years and 20 years of service.
Given their rich work experience, it is fortunate that they are sharing their skills with future generations of staff: Naas through his position as SVL Training Manager for the Western Cape, and Andrew as operations assistant at SVL Cape Town.
Naas’ first job after leaving school was on a farm in Grabouw, where he was impressed by the imposing trucks that served the region. Naas recalls, “When I saw these big vehicles driving past me on the road I said to my dad, ‘I’d like to drive one of these big trucks one day.’ He said to me, ‘Here on the farm we have a Code 11 [heavy] truck, and if you want I’ll speak to my boss for you.’”
That set the wheels in motion (literally), and two years after joining a Stuttaford Van Lines group company he was appointed as a long-distance truck driver. Naas spent the next twenty years travelling South Africa’s length and breadth, which laid the foundation for what came next: one of the company’s directors approaching him with the challenge of training and multi-skilling staff.
“In those years when I first started there was no training at all in the removals industry. They’d just employ drivers and give you the key and say, ‘There’s the truck,’” explains Naas. “Today we multi-skill our employees and constantly assess them on the work they are doing, with dedicated training facilities and all the equipment necessary to improve new staff’s competency.”
Andrew joined Stuttaford Van Lines in 1994 as a workshop assistant on a casual basis – he modestly refers to this phase as being a ‘grease monkey’ – but it wasn’t long before he was appointed permanently as a regional driver of SVL Cape Town’s removal trucks.
After 11 years behind the wheel (and an additional two years as a messenger), Andrew then joined the branch’s operations department as an operations assistant / board planner – a role that he still contributes his wealth of practical experience to.
“Mr Marais was the manager at the time I started,” recalls Andrew. “I am grateful to him for giving me the opportunity to work for such a well-established company, and for the advantage I had for going forward: I would work for another twenty years if I could. Thank you for the opportunity.”