Christiaan Walhof is an economist who was born in the Netherlands during World War II. Mr. Walhof has a strong background in financial services and international trade and has extended that experience as the CEO of K2 Logistics. Mr. Walhof uses his experiences to help him manage a caring and growing logistics company. With a strong background Mr. Walhof is able to do everything from maintaining relationships with management and logistics teams, to working on the front lines of the company and answering calls and sending emails. Mr. Walhof earned a doctorate in economics from Groningen University, a National University in the Netherlands and he is a former member of the Rotary International Club. In his over 20 plus year career, Mr. Walhof has represented the Solomon Islands at the United Nations as a trade representative to aid the economic development of the South West Pacific Area. He hopes to help expand K2 Logistics and continue to help others through K2’s various programs dedicated to helping numerous charities in the upper-Midwest.
Mr. and Mrs. Walhof are longtime sponsors of animal rescue and rehabilitation programs and now have organized their own Animal Rescue and Rehabilitation program under the name ANIMIS Foundation a 501 3 (c) corporation in Ocala Florida with activities in the US and France.
When it comes to delivering immediate results in a timely manner, K2 Logistics employs a team of skilled workers trained in all facets of transportation logistics. At the very helm of the company is Dr. Christiaan Walhof, an expert in economic trends and operational management. Before relocating to the United States, Dr. Walhof studied global financial forecasts in Holland and collaborated with economists throughout the world. He also taught courses on economics to students in graduate programs and was involved with industry focus groups. The CEO of K2 oversees the consulting, supply chain, transporting and freight forwarding services in the import and export of goods. As a third-party logistics manager, the company handles full distribution, packaging, crating, order tracking and delivery of all domestic and international shipments, ensuring that clients receive optimal customer service at all points of the transaction.
Although large-scale projects are included in the scope of K2’s capabilities, operations are tailored to suit each client’s logistical needs regarding cargo and container specifications, distribution options, and order fulfillment. Dr. Walhof functions as a negotiator in many instances, parleying with industry connects to establish pricing and ensure the quality of delivered services. By evaluating a client’s current practices and streamlining its processes, he and his team of knowledgeable professionals help to improve organizational structure and increase profitability for the companies on their roster. Dr. Walhof maintains relationships with management personnel and team members in various departments, closely identifying where progression and expansion are necessary.
The former member of Rotary International and savvy businessman previously represented the Solomon Islands trade community in front of the United Nations to aid in the economic development of the Southwest Pacific. His familiarity with foreign and domestic markets is integral to his success in various parts of the world, which is partly the result of his winemaking endeavors in France. Future plans for the animal enthusiast include increasing his company’s bottom line and expanding its operations throughout the United States.
CAMBRIDGE WHO’S WHO: What characteristics help to separate you from your competitors?
CHRISTIAAN G. WALHOF:
We work with formulas that are highly customized, and employees of our company work on complete outsourcing programs in the facilities of our clients. This means that we have the ability to perform overseas acquisitions and verification services for companies that produce in the Far East. We have the ability to execute customized arrangements with clients that are in areas outside our direct line of activity, such as information technology. In the three fields of procurement, outsourcing and applications of technology, we are highly customized.
What motivates you?
The motivation is to be the best, and it’s a yardstick for all of my employees. It’s a matter of teamwork, pushing the limits of our abilities higher and higher. We want to focus on quality and excellence all of the time.
What short-term and long-term career goals are you currently pursuing?
Multiplying the size of the company in all of its facets within the next five years.
How do you plan to achieve these goals?
Through internal growth and acquisitions.
What is the most difficult obstacle or challenge you have faced in pursuit of your goals?
The key to internal growth is always to find and organize the proper sales force; acquisition depends on how you select your targets. We are highly selective and we talk to a lot of potential opportunities before we make a decision.
What is the most significant issue facing your profession today?
Commoditization. Everything is measured by dollars and cents per square foot, per ton, per unit. A commodity is basically a good without any specific recognition, but it’s a crippling force in this industry. It gets rid of customization and tries to manufacture products at the lowest price.
What are some questions that an individual interested in your services can ask to ensure a more productive relationship?
They should ask us to come in and do an analysis of the situation, so we can come back and give proper advice on what we can or cannot do for the client.
Did you ever consider pursuing a different career path or another profession? If yes, how did you end up working in your current field?
No, but my passion is running a family foundation that cares for animals in need. We have a wildlife and farm animal rescue program in Florida and in France near Limoges. We have a good staff of people there, and my wife and I have financed the entire operation through donations to the animal world.
What do you find to be the most rewarding about your profession?
The most rewarding is to find and organize solutions that are difficult to resolve, and to find the right people who are motivated and willing to learn. A handicap nowadays is that a lot of young people don’t want to learn; they just want to get a check and go home. Eagerness to learn is the basis for our type of service. If we don’t want to learn what the client wants us to do, we can never perform a good service. It’s unfortunate and difficult for us to educate people who come in from the outside wanting to make a career in our industry. It turns out in many cases that they are not willing to do that.
What is your favorite or least favorite work-related task to do and why?
The least interesting is the routine work that I do every day.
What advice can you offer fellow members or others aspiring to work in your industry?
Always look for quality and the bottom line, never for volume (of sales).
Who have been your mentors or people who have greatly influenced you?
Professors of economics in the Netherlands were very aware of the bottom line and the need to create quality control. I follow the old school of quality control and organization of the 50s and 60s because I am a product of that. I would say the other [teacher] is simple experience and being around many different cultures in my work at the United Nations. Through contract work and traveling, I have worked with many nationalities in many companies.
What changes have you observed in your industry/field since you started?
I have seen primarily the role of technology in our industry drastically increase, and the systemization of our industry into a professional way to do business.
How do you see these changes affecting the future of your industry?
Increasing systemization of the business will ultimately lead to more commoditization, so the trick is for entrepreneurs to use systemization to increase and improve the process of customization, and to not let themselves lose control to commoditization. Once you are in the volume business, you lose all control and are 100 percent dependent on market price around you; you hardly have any more power to influence the bottom line of your business. I know that many people would be happy to do large volumes or billions of dollars in freight transportation, but if they don’t make any money, it doesn’t make sense.