2002 Tea Person of the Year:
Flip Van Rijen
Flip Van Rijen was born May 7th, 1946 in the almost destroyed city of Rotterdam in the Netherlands. Van Rijen started working with Van Rees in Rotterdam in 1963 at the young age of 17. He has spent his entire career in the tea industry working with Van Rees. He spent three years in the tea tasting room in Rotterdam including six months of training with Van Rees London. From 1970-1977, he ran the Van Rees offices in Mombasa, Kenya and Limbe, Malawi where he got the gut feeling for the African trade. From 1977-1986, Van Rijen was the senior trader for Van Rees in Rotterdam. In 1986, he established Van Rees, U.S.A. in New York - formerly De Hope Goldschmidt - and managed that office for four years. In 1990, he returned to the Rotterdam office and was appointed commercial and tea director of Van Rees. In 1998, Van Rijen became vice-president of the Van Rees Group; a title which he still holds today. He still visits all the Van Rees overseas operations and consuming countries once or twice a year. In 2003, Van Rijen will celebrate his 40th year in the tea industry and shows no sign of retiring any time soon.
In between all of his activities with Van Rees, Van Rijen found time to marry his wife Abby and have two sons, Jason and Sean. He recently became a grandfather. In addition to his family, he enjoys tennis, soccer (season ticket Feyenoord Rotterdam), gardening and, of course, tea.
Van Rijen has contributed immensely to the development of the global tea trade. This was accomplished by developing Van Rees to its present position of importance in the world tea trade and by training/mentoring so many people who are now working globally with other tea companies. Daily, he is contacted by world-wide business friends, clients, suppliers etc. for his valued opinion on tea matters/developments. He is respected world-wide for his intense knowledge of tea and the opportunities he creates for both his suppliers and clients. He is always looking for new ways to serve his customers.
Flip was instrumental in helping this magazine set up the Tea & Coffee WorldCup Symposiums & Exhibitions and has been active in all shows as a speaker.
Tea & Coffee - December/January 2002
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