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Home Michael Dijkslag on 20 years of Esdec

Michael Dijkslag on 20 years of Esdec

"I am genuinely proud to be part of Esdec's success"

From a shed in a small township in the Eastern part of the Netherlands, Esdec’s adventure began 20 years ago. Artist easels served as demo roofs and installations were done by brothers Jeroen and Vincent de Vogel and Theo Smit himself. Michael Dijkslag (born in 1989) knows the stories but was not part of them yet. His first working day was 1 August 2009, the fifth person on the payroll at the time, but in 2024, the Deventer native is officially the longest-serving employee. “I am sometimes called Dikipedia for laughs because I know the company from front to back.”

Introduced at Esdec

If it is up to Michael Dijkslag, he wants at least to make it to his anniversary on the condition that enough opportunities come along to cash in. “Not that I was thinking about those kinds of things when I started in the warehouse. I also had no idea what solar panels did, or what the company’s potential was at all. For me it was very simple: I was looking for another job and my former employee introduced me to Esdec. It wasn’t even a real job interview, we got acquainted and they explained the position to me. On my way home, they had already called me to tell me that I had been hired and thus had an income.”

Customized and innovative work

It was at a time when Esdec supplied total packages, not only mounting systems but also solar panels, inverters, and cabling. “It was up to me to collect those packages and ship them directly to the customer. In the warehouse, we made everything custom to size ourselves and a separate office functioned as a test room. Customization and innovations were very important even then, but it was also sometimes improvisation. Without any training whatsoever, I was doing an installation on the roof of a house located in the region, only six weeks after starting. Looking back on that period, I do think that the foundations were laid for what I still partly experience as Esdec’s character: simply do it.”

New opportunities

With the massive growth the company has experienced, especially in recent years, that character is not quite what it used to be. “That was already noticeable when we decided to sell through distribution partners instead of directly to the customer. Indeed, it became more and more of a challenge for Rick Kappert and me to make the right number of packages every time. We did this with undiminished pleasure, but in the end, it was impossible to keep up because the number of orders kept rising. The decision to sell through distribution partners eventually had a huge impact on the company’s growth. This opened up new opportunities for me; those first 12 years went by fast.”

Professional working environment

The helm had been taken over by Stijn Vos in 2015 and with that, Esdec changed rapidly. “That’s when my eyes were opened, and a kind of reality check arrived. From happily whistling through everything, I suddenly had to deal with a professional working environment in which less pleasant things also happened. I saw that around me but also experienced it personally. It also made me think about my future. Working for an international company wasn’t my ambition but I also noticed that I didn’t want to leave. This was partly due to Stijn, who was not only focused on the further development of Esdec but also kept his eyes open for the employees. The atmosphere changed, but I found my joy again.”

Down-to-earth mentality

Meanwhile, in 2022, Harm Haarlink has taken over as Managing Director at Esdec Europe and Stijn Vos is the CEO of parent company Enstall, which also operates in the United States. Esdec’s growth has thus once again taken off. “I am genuinely proud that I was and still am a part of this success. Especially in recent years, I realise more and more how remarkable it is what I have built here. Of course, an awful lot has changed in 20 years and because of that, I have also learned a lot about myself. I still think the best part of my story is that I never got an official diploma for the work I do now. By having a down-to-earth mentality and always staying true to yourself, you will go far.”

20 years of Esdec

In the interview series, we pay attention to the anniversary in various ways. The kick-off was with Harm Haarlink, Managing Director at Esdec since 2022, so he does not know much of the history. He wonders how Michael has experienced the enormous growth of recent years. “Hectic, that above all. It has not always been easy, but I have always watched it with great interest without interfering too much. Of course, I had to get used to the changes, but because of who I am, I can easily deal with it. By nature, I am quite compliant, but always with my vision. So, the choices I made, I made from my position.”

The next candidate is Niels Lubbers, Product Owner of the Esdec Calculator. This online tool is now unthinkable in the work of the solar professional and is still under development for further optimisation. But what Michael would like to know: how did we do it before?

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