This insight is part of the ‘Victron Energy people: Who is who?’ series of blogs.
For a complete list of Victron Energy people in this series please see:
My name is Richard IJzelendoorn and I live in Muchamiel (Alicante) Spain, with my wife Chantal, son Maxim and daughter Liz. As my name suggests, I’m not a native of Spain.
I was born in the late sixties and raised in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Initially I worked for 17 years in the Port of Amsterdam as a heavy equipment operator, later as a bridge crane operator and instructor for these bridge cranes.
Although I didn’t go to technical high school, it was my introduction to motorcycles in my late teens that got me interested in all things that have an engine and/or electricity. I’d disassemble defective motorcycles, washing machines, dish washers – anything and everything to see how they worked – then I’d try to fix them and put them back together – often successfully!
My first experience with solar energy started in The Netherlands where for years we had a small chalet, in Loosdrecht, with electricity supplied by solar panels, a charge controller and an inverter. In my time there I found out that you can’t connect unlimited appliances to a solar installation and that it all has to be in balance to work well.
In 2003 my wife and I decided to leave The Netherlands and move to Spain. Here I started in the building industry as a construction supervisor. When this market collapsed, around 2010, I got the opportunity to become a member of the Victron Energy family. I did not have to think long before I said yes to the chance. This was my second experience with solar energy and after studying all the products I found out that there is a significant difference between the Victron Energy units and the Chinese products I had in our chalet.
Initially I started as account manager for Spain and in the first year visited many potential customers, who have become good customers now. At present, I’m the sales manager for the Mediterranean area (Southern Europe and North Africa) which includes Spain, Portugal, Greece, Cyprus, Malta, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia and Libya. In these countries I support our distributors when necessary and possible.
The countries in which I work are very different and that makes it very interesting to visit them, especially the African countries. It’s always a surprise if you visit existing or new customers in these countries and it is very varied work, never the same, which makes it such a pleasant job. I visit every customer at least once a year, which means that I travel a lot. I also run our office for Southern Europe in Muchamiel. Here we have a classroom where we deliver training to our distributors’ technicians and/or installers who are active in the Mediterranean area. The repairs for Spain and Portugal are also done at this office which are in the capable hands of Carlos Quiñones, our support engineer.
In my personal life I like to watch sports such as football and Formula 1® on television, but I also like to be outside around the house or at the seaside, which is only 10 minutes from our home. I’m certainly not the type that sits down with a book and reads for hours. Alicante is surrounded by hills and has a kind of microclimate with low rainfall throughout the year, which means you can spend a lot of time outside – and because of that this area feels like the best place on earth.
I hope the above gives a little insight into who I am and what I do.