Personality Profile – Theo Cornielje

Stainless Steel Magazine spoke to Theo Cornielje, Regional Director EMEA for Hypertherm. Theo has worked for Hypertherm since 1999 and for the last seven years he has been the director for the EMEA region. Theo came to Hypertherm from the welding and cutting distribution business and has more than 25 years of experience in the industry. Theo lives in the Netherlands, where Hypertherm’s headquarters for EMEA is located, and is married with three children.

SO, THEO, WHAT’S YOUR STORY?

When I joined Hypertherm, almost 18 years ago, this was a dream come true for me. I had been working in welding and cutting distribution for a German company that was expanding into the Netherlands, but I was looking to work more internationally. Hypertherm has a fantastic brand name
and is known as a very good company to work for, so when I was approached to join them, it didn’t take long to decide! I was hired as regional sales manager for North-West Europe, but got the opportunity to further develop within the company. I became the Regional Marketing Manager, followed by Sales Director for the OEM business and for the past 7 years I have been responsible for the EMEA region in the role of Regional Director.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE PART OF YOUR JOB?

I am absolutely a team player and enjoy engaging with the team to improve our results, year after year. I always say that our region stretches from St. Petersburg to Johannesburg and this comes with a great variety of cultures which I very much enjoy. I love spending time with our customers and field-based associates and try to stay connected with every part of the territory.

WHEN HAVE YOU BEEN MOST SATISFIED IN YOUR LIFE?

I am in a very good place right now, with a wonderful family and a challenging, but very rewarding job. I don’t have a lot to ask for other than what we have today.

WHAT THINGS DO YOU NOT LIKE TO DO?

As much as I like being out in the market, I don’t like many of the “administrative” tasks that come with a role like this. It is of course unavoidable, but Excel sheets and PowerPoint presentations will never by my favourite part of the job.

WHO IS YOUR ROLE MODEL, AND WHY?

I can’t say that I have a role model, but I admire people who manage to stay humble under all circumstances and have an open eye for the world around them. As a matter of fact, our founder, Mr Dick Couch, is a very good example of this. He has dedicated all his career to the development of the Hypertherm organization and, even more so, to the associates who make it happen every day. The fact that Hypertherm is a 100% associate owned company says it all.

WHAT IS THE MOST IMPORTANT LESSON YOU HAVE LEARNED DURING YOUR CAREER AND PERSONAL EXPERIENCES?

If you work hard and believe in yourself, you can get far! When I was young I wasn’t very interested or focused to go through formal education, but fortunately everyone gets chances, and you need to take them when you can.

WHAT IS SOMETHING NOT MANY PEOPLE KNOW ABOUT THEO CORNIELJE?

I am an open book, with not many secrets. Something interesting might be that both my wife and I love South Africa and plan to spend a lot more time there in the years ahead.

WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN YOU AREN’T WORKING?

Although I have travelled a lot in the last 18 years, my wife and I still love to travel. I have recently also discovered golf and love to be out of the golf course on a sunny day.

IF YOU WERE TO CHOOSE AN ALTERNATIVE LIFE, WHAT CAREER WOULD YOU HAVE FOLLOWED?

At a young age I was thinking of becoming a teacher, but that obviously never happened. I think I still would enjoy working as a coach or consultant in International Sales & Marketing.

WHY STAINLESS STEEL?

Working in the world of cutting; stainless steel is a very dynamic and interesting area. With the recent developments in plasma cutting (Hypertherm recently launched the X-Definition™ Technology) this is becoming more and more interesting, since the productivity of plasma cutting is now combined with laser-like quality. As market leader in Plasma cutting, we see it as our mission to show the stainless steel world its capabilities.

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