Jac Linssen has been technical director of Linssen Yachts since 2011. He is a member of the management team, together with his cousin Yvonne Linssen and Ed Houben. As such, Jac is responsible for Purchasing, Development (together with Ed) and Aftersales. Jac studied Technical Business Administration and joined the company in 2005, right after graduating. Jac: “My first job was in the Back Office (Engineering). I then went on to the Purchasing Department, my father’s department. I liked that too. My father and I are quite different, but we are both strong negotiators with wide technical knowledge. You have to have that for Purchasing too.”

Third generation
In 2010, the second generation of Linssens decided to step back and make way for the third generation. Jac joined the board at the same time as Yvonne and cousin Ruben and became a joint shareholder. Jac: “There are eight of us third-generation children. At that time, any of us interested in taking up a position within Linssen Yachts had to undergo an extensive assessment. So becoming an actual board member was not a foregone conclusion. The assessment turned out well. Each of us also preferred a different area of focus and so we weren’t in each other’s way. It was great that we were given this opportunity and confidence.”

Quiet force
Jac is not a man who enjoys the limelight. Just like his grandmother Anna-Maria, who was behind the scenes making sure the home front was well supplied and her husband Jac. Linssen Sr. could do his job, Jac also prefers to be a quiet force in the background. Modest and quiet. Jac laughs: “I prefer to leave it to Yvonne to work under the spotlight. Yvonne, Ed and I complement each other very well in that respect. Each of us does what he or she has the qualities for. This works very nicely.”

Family on the shop floor
Jac’s wife, Wendy Linssen-Stoffels, also works at Linssen Yachts, not to be confused with Jac’s cousin Wendy Linssen who works in the company as Marketing Manager. And the fourth generation, though still somewhat young, is also slowly starting to warm up. Jac: “We have two sons, Maurits (12) and Laurens (10). Maurits also wants to ‘come and build boats’, while Laurens wants to become a vet. Of course, we leave them a completely free choice in that regard, as my parents always did. Of course, it would be great if there were a few from the fourth generation of Linssens who can and want to continue our family business. I’m happy to give them that chance, just as I was once given it myself.”

Jac’s sister Paulien doesn’t work in the family business, but is also a successful entrepreneur. She runs her own womenswear shop in Maasbracht, Paulien Linssen Mode. Jac: “Yet she is indirectly linked to our company again. In fact, her husband, my brother-in-law, Noël Laumen, is on the Linssen Yachts Supervisory Board.”

Boating holidays
As a child, Jac often went on boating holidays with his parents. Now he does the same with his own family on their ‘Anna Maria’, a Grand Sturdy 34.9 AC. Jac: “The sense of freedom that having your own yacht gives you is great. If I didn’t have a yacht, I wouldn’t feel complete,” he says with a laugh. “Coming home after a stressful day and then going out in the evening in good weather is just wonderful. And then mooring somewhere to enjoy a snack and a drink. Slow down, as we say at Linssen. Next summer holiday, we will be sailing around the Netherlands for three weeks. Which route it will be?
No idea yet. This freedom, that’s the beauty of boating. You can decide at the last minute which way you want to go.”

Customers and employees
For Jac, the Linssen family also emphatically includes all employees, customers and suppliers. Jac: “Traditionally, many Dutch boat builders are family businesses, but a lot of them have now been taken over. Things then become less personal anyway. Maintaining good relationships with employees, customers and suppliers is what is most important to us. They also know that, as a family business, we value continuity. We’re not going after short-term profits, but want to stay healthy and continue to invest in our business and innovation. In the background, for instance, we are engaging with developments in electric propulsion and the Internet of Things (IoT). We also owe it to our reputation to do so. Customers expect that from us because we are called Linssen and are the market leader.”

Healthy pressure
Finally, the question of whether Jac feels extra pressure as director because his surname is Linssen?
Jac: “Let me call it healthy pressure. Of course, you do feel the pressure to at least maintain what our parents and grandparents achieved and preferably build on that. That’s a serious challenge. After all, you have about 100 employees and their families in your care. I am committed to this every day and proud of the achievements we make together, even in more difficult times, within our beautiful family business.”

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