When the Republic of South Africa went into full lockdown during the pandemic, and the government instructed businesses to close, Pieter de Vries went above and beyond the call of duty. Not only did he step up in times of difficulty, but he led by example by being very hands on. Is it any wonder he’s being recognized as a #PPGProud Hero?
10 African Countries? No Problem!
Our nominated hero, Pieter, rejoined PPG in 2014 and is currently the Architectural Coatings (AC) commercial director responsible for AC sales, marketing and technical, in South Africa. His role sees him looking after 10 countries in Africa.
Since joining the company I have made it my mission to get closer to our customers and to understand their business.
Pieter has been one of the key players spearheading the strategy for our PROMINENT PAINTS® brand. Not only did he help deliver on the 2019 plan, he made sure it went beyond expectations.
Pieter’s contribution helped us start 2020 very positively, although COVID-19 has definitely changed that picture for almost all businesses.
Marcin Rusiniak, PPG market director Prominent Paint and general manager South Africa, AC EMEA – region AFOS
Demonstrating Inspiring Passion in Difficult Times
On March 20, 2020, many business functions came to a halt as COVID-19 took grip in South Africa.
Without hesitation, Pieter offered to take responsibility as the PPG South Africa manager on duty in the premises and immediately established initiatives to ensure the AC sales team stayed engaged.
Pieter did this by setting up WhatsApp groups for the sharing of ideas, Zoom calls for weekly meetings and creating LinkedIn campaigns and profiles for sales staff. He even created sanitizing playbooks for applicators and project owners, and got the returning workforce protocols planned out! The list goes on.
I am lucky and #PPGProud
to have a team of people who carry the same level of passion for the brand over into our market.
The team is very close and supportive of each other. The constant communication during these unprecedented times has only made us stronger.
Pieter has always believed in planning and leading by example. He also applies this forward thinking to his key customers.
In order to help customers to shorten their time in full lockdown as well, Pieter applied for an essential services governmental certificate and showed them how to do the same. This made us one of the few paint companies that did so.
Pieter helped to demonstrate to customers how much we care. He was a true role model, staying on the premises every day and ensuring we deliver on what we promise.
By helping us to restart faster than other international companies, this meant we could utilize our sales and technical team in the most efficient way and assist customers with their specifications.
Muscling in on Better Business Outcomes
During this time, Pieter made himself responsible for choosing which orders would be deemed ‘essential services’ and, therefore, approved during the lockdown.
For one ‘essential service’ order, Pieter delegated many of the tasks to himself. The customer, who knows him from business meetings, found it very funny to see him managing the entire hands-on process himself. The physical nature of the work has also resulted in a healthier physique, which he admits being rather proud of.
I’ve always believed exercise to be the best medicine for stress. I also love cycling, the routine of the training and the excitement of participating in races.
A Passionate Warrior of The PPG Way
If it means staying on the premises every day and ensuring we comply with all regulations, then Pieter does it without question.
The initiatives he helped establish started paying off from day one of re-opening. Despite being under the restrictions imposed by the government, the results have already exceeded what had been expected.
By demonstrating this passion and leading by example, he has helped to make PPG secure and stable for both pandemic and post-COVID times.
Pieter is one of those people who lives his passion for this company all day, every day. His warrior mentality means he is always ready to protect the company, his staff and his customers. And if you asked his team or his customers, they would attest to this fact.