Janus & Nicole

SINCE 1984


Diesel doesn’t quite run through his veins but, then again, you never know. Driver Janus Vogels (69) from Liessel, North Brabant, recognisable by the red handkerchief around his neck. He has been driving for Legro since 1984 – a job he enjoys immensely and carries out with great passion. Passion for his work, the company and in particular his Scania. A passion he shares with daughter Nicole, who has also been working for Legro for the past fifteen years now. She started out in the transport division back then. How could she not?


Janus is now 69 years old. Despite being retired, he continues to put in twenty hours a week for Legro. “I really can’t do without my work and contacts, and a lot of these people feel the same way about me too,” says Janus. “You build up a relationship and after forty years I’m one of the family. I still remember why I chose Legro in 1984. I was thirty and I’d been delivering vegetables throughout Europe for several years. Belgium, Germany, Switzerland, Austria… I went everywhere and loved it. But my wife Els and I wanted children and that didn’t mix well with me being out of the country the whole week. So, I applied to Legro in Asten which meant I could sleep in my own bed again at night!”


The Vogels celebrated the arrival of a daughter Suzanne and twins Frank and Nicole. Janus: “It’s wonderful especially since the whole family caught the trucking bug. Frank was also a driver and two years ago Suzanne obtained her HGV licence. Nicole doesn’t drive but is just as crazy about the trucking world. And let us not forget about my wife Els. Thanks to her I am able to live this great life, so she has basically put in as many kilometres as I have. She was always encouraging and supportive and this enabled me to do lots of things. I’m actively involved with Truckshow Liessel, for example, and even bought myself a Scania V8, purely as a hobby. I love tinkering on it. I’ve spent hundreds of hours working on it and it just gets more and more beautiful!”


Janus is addicted to that V8 engine: “I can clearly recall that I was allowed to drive the Scania V8 when I began at Legro. Such a beautiful sound and one that still gives me goosebumps even now. When my combi truck was replaced by a Scania 6 cylinder about eight years ago, I felt the pain for at least three weeks. My fondness for combi trucks runs deep. At the same time, I do get it because cost has become very significant. Plain and simple. And on top of the purchase and maintenance, a V8 engine consumes considerably more, of course. But it was very painful saying goodbye.”


Janus drove his Scania for many years throughout the Netherlands and Belgium and established excellent contacts. Janus: “I went all over and met so many people, which has resulted in friendships too. Some customers or suppliers ask, or even demand, to see me when Legro comes to carry out loading or unloading work. I’ve already been invited to lots of birthdays, attended lots of parties, I got 25 crates of beer from a Belgian business contact for my 25th anniversary and have always been able to rely on help if necessary. It was truly a special time. I could not imagine any better company to work for. The Swinkels family are just great people. I get along with them very well and we’ve never had any problems. If you’re honest and do your job, then everything runs smoothly.”


“I completely agree,” continues daughter Nicole. “Because, when you know each other so well, there’s a very strong foundation. My manager at the time, Henk, would come round to our house before I was born. He even held me in his arms as a baby. Over the years, as a family we have really established a bond with the Swinkels family. I was actually already hired before I had even applied. “I know what family you’re from,” it was said. Great that there is so much mutual trust! This also creates a good work atmosphere which I wouldn’t like to be without. If I might also reach forty years at Legro? I don’t know yet, of course, but I wouldn’t be surprised.”


When Nicole began in the transport division at the time, she was entering truly a man’s world. Nicole: “That’s true, but I loved it because it’s an environment in which I thrive. I genuinely grew up with it. If you look in our photo albums, you’ll often see me near a truck or inside one in the photos. Before I started here, my sister also worked here. She did my induction and taught me everything about transport administration. And, of course, I enjoyed getting to see our dad here on a regular basis too. I learnt all the licence plates off by heart and when I heard his Scania V8 arriving, I knew he was nearby!”


Certainly a lot has changed in the meantime. When Janus started out, Legro had four trucks; now they have more than forty. And thanks to various rounds of restructuring, Nicole now works with a great team of colleagues in the Finance department for all Legro companies. Nicole: “It’s grown substantially and has indeed gone through changes, also via automation. But I still really enjoy it here. I now also handle banking and payments and no two days are actually the same. Our department offers plenty of varied work and this keeps it fun. It’s still special, of course, always bumping into each other at work. We’re truly part of the furniture! Seems so strange that, one day, my dad won’t be working here anymore.”


But even when that time comes, the topic of conversation will often concern Legro whenever Janus and Nicole see each other. “That’s also true now,” she says. “And that’s fine because Legro is an important part of our lives. If you’ve been working here for so long it must be a good company, after all! What we love in particular is that it is an accessible, no-nonsense company where people come first. You are listened to properly and the doors are always open. No hierarchy just colleagues – even when someone has a managerial role. What I also like is that I get a lot of freedom in my work. And this is all about trust, of course.”

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  1. Sjef & Lisette
  2. Janus & Nicole
  3. Frank & Anton
  4. Ralph
  5. Arjen
  6. Rob
  7. Bart & Barry
  8. Augustus
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