PVC pioneer Lauman dies at 89

Heinrich Lauman

Heinrich Laumann, the founder of Veka, has died aged 89.  Dave Jones, Veka MD,  says that the window industry has lost one of the most distinguished entrepreneurs of the last 50 years.


Jone says: “I was moved to hear of the passing of our founder Heinrich Laumann; a real gentleman, a family man and a true pioneer of our industry. His business vision shaped the industry on an international scale. His core value was putting people first and this will be his lasting legacy at Veka subsidiaries across the globe.”


Lauman was 40 years old when he took over at Vekaplast, based in the German city of Sendenhorst. He started out with a team of just eight people, and over the next 49 years the company became a global leader in PVC-U evolving into an internationally renowned business that now employs around 5600 people in 35 countries.


Jones says “I had the pleasure of working with Heinrich early in my career and I found him to be an inspirational man, with an impressive level of technical expertise. While he wasn’t always the loudest person in the room, his vision when it came to fenestration and the future of his company was impossible to ignore. His drive and quiet determination was wonderful to witness, and a privilege to be party to at the start of my Veka career.


He was one of the pioneers of PVC-U as a window and door material. In 1993, when he helped set up the first closed-loop PVC-U recycling plant he paved the way for how we not only produce this material but also reprocess it responsibly.


His keen sense of social responsibility was also demonstrated by his involvement in charitable causes and in 2008, together with his wife Rita, , he established the “Heinrich and Rita Laumann Foundation” committed to helping the elderly and infirm in their region.


Heinrich was made an honorary citizen of the town Sendenhorst and was a recipient of the German Federal Service Cross of Merit Award. He received this honour for his entrepreneurial and business achievements in Sendenhorst as well as ‘for his outstanding personal contribution to society and personal engagement for people and nature.’


Heinrich’s German obituary read: 'his friendly and always down-to-earth, natural way of dealing with people, his ability to act successfully, and at the same time remain focused, made him into the outstanding entrepreneurial personality that he was.' I believe that’s something that we can all learn from, no matter what our line of business.


Heinrich never failed to consider everyone in his company, whether there were eight in the team or, more recently, over 5,000. And, as Veka heads towards its 50th Anniversary next year, it is these family values that will be his lasting legacy, just as much as the way he shaped the fenestration industry we know today.”