Onno Westrate – Netherlands
The official starting date of our company was 1st April 2008 and we registered as Turbocam Romania s.r.l. In preparation for our starting date, I leased two new CNC milling machines which, looking back, was a miracle that my bank here in the Netherlands agreed to the leasing of the mills and to having them located in Romania! Today with all the new banking rules that would not be possible so thank you Lord for opening this door.
In addition to the leasing of the mills I borrowed more money by increasing the mortgage on my house to pay for additional equipment that we needed and to bridge the first couple of months before our first earnings would come in. It was a big step for me but I had the backing of our partner Turbocam in the US, although they had no money at that time to invest but we trusted God that this was all in His plan. We were also looking for a space to work from, which we had not yet found. I remember going around Tirgu Mures with Sorin looking at many options – from a pastor’s house garage to a barn and everything in between.
When you start looking for a place you need to have in mind how big you plan to grow the business in the coming years but to be honest…I had no clue! Was 100m2 enough or should we go for 250m2. We finally found a building on a small, privately owned industrial estate that had 400m2 and was reasonably priced for rent. We took it, whilst realising that it was way too big for what we needed then but it was a small step of faith on our part. We were not able to see then that the surrounding buildings – then occupied by other small businesses – would one day be filled with our equipment – a story for another blog!
Equipment arrived on time and after a couple of weeks of setting the whole thing up and testing everything, we were ready to go. Marco Noordhoek did a great job of using his CNC milling experience to train our first members of staff. We had our first customer from the UK come and visit us to qualify us for making their steam turbine blade and the visit went well. We got the approval almost on the spot and our first order was received shortly afterwards. They also mentioned that they had enough orders on the books to keep us busy for the next year and a half (remember this was April 2008). As you can imagine, we were all very excited – a dream was being realised! We had a company in Romania employing five local people who were making high quality parts. Thank you Lord!
However, in the two months that followed, something unimaginable to us then was looming.