20. Aug 2021
Surrounded by mountains, beaches and outstanding nature, Tropica North America works every day to make Tropica’s aquatic plants available in Canada and the USA. René Rixe, General Manager at Tropica NA, talks about the team, working life and everyday life in Vancouver
A brilliant team
In Europe, as our working day is ending, the working day is just beginning for Tropica North America. The time difference between our offices in Europe and the office in Vancouver in Canada is nine hours. René therefore starts his working day at 07:00 local time (16:00 in Europe), so he can talk with the employees at Tropica in Denmark, if necessary. René joined Tropica North America as the general manager in the summer of 2020. Before that, he worked a couple of years at Tropica in Denmark. This means he is already very familiar with the Tropica culture, plants and vision. One of the major focus points for him is to now incorporate the routines and traditions at the office in Canada. “The Danish and Canadian work ethic is very similar. So there isn’t much of a difference there. I also have to say that I have a brilliant team of reliable and loyal employees, who have really welcomed me and who are always ready to go the extra mile when things get hectic,” says René. Even though Canada and Europe are very similar in many ways, there are also differences. René has brought with him from Tropica Denmark the approach that there must be a good work-life balance. “For me it is really important that my employees are able to have a good work-life balance. I believe that it makes employees happier and more dedicated,” explains René.
René Rixe became the General Manager at Tropica North America in 2020. “We have a dream team! I love that I’m allowed to work with them every single day. We meet new challenges and learn something new every day. It makes it fun to work here,” says René with a smile. When René is not working he enjoys Vancouver’s many delights: “I have travelled a lot but there is nothing that compares to this wonderful place. For example, in the spring you can drive down to the beach and sunbathe because it’s over 20 degrees or you can drive up to the mountains and ski. It’s completely unique!".
Working life in Canada
At Tropica’s headquarters in Denmark, there is a huge production setup, which requires that all of the employees are specialised in their particular area, from research and development of the aquatic plants, to cultivation, packing and sending, and just as importantly, administration, sales, marketing and logistics. The working day at Tropica North America looks a little different. The team consists of René, Kyle, Lourie, Michelangelo and Mahsa. “Because there are so few of us at the office, it’s necessary that we can all multitask. My entire team are always ready to help each other, even if the task is not really part of their responsibilities in relation to their position. They just do a wonderful job!” says René proudly.
The small team of five employees work in a targeted fashion, selling and sending aquatic plants to dealers in Canada and the USA. The office in Canada is not able to produce all of the aquatic plants on its own. There is a nursery room, where 1-2-Grow! Plants from Denmark grow under LED lighting for 3-4 weeks In Vancouver in Canada, the team work every day to increase people’s knowledge of Tropica in North America. From left: Mahsa Darkaleh, Lourie Bodden, Kyle Deane, René Rixe and Michelangelo Mirabella. June 2021 JPS Journal 11 until they are ready to sell. They are also dependent on shipments from Denmark and production at their local partners. This means that their busiest hours tend to fall later in the week than they do in Denmark. “In Denmark, the busiest day of the week is a Monday, when we have to process the orders made over the weekend. For us, we don’t get really busy until Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, because we have to receive the shipments from Denmark first and collect the plants from our local nursery,” explains René. Previously it was chiefly on a Tuesday and Wednesday when the office was at its busiest. Since René has arrived, Thursday has also become one of the busy days, because sales just keep on growing.
At the office in Vancouver they have warehouse space to store and pack the aquatic plants for the dealers. “Our sales are increasing all the time, so there are weeks when our warehouse faces challenges. Sometimes we cannot get all the plants into our goods vehicle and so we need to make two trips to the nursery. It is quite the luxury problem – that sales are so good that we run out of space now and then,” says René with a smile. He considers it a very real possibility that in the future, they may have relocated to larger premises, so they can come closer to reaching their goal of becoming self-sufficient. Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays are especially busy days with packing and shipping the aquatic plants from the warehouse at Tropica North America. “We get so much delivered that we run out of space in the warehouse. When that happens, everyone is kind enough to offer a helping hand so that we can quickly get the packing done and ship the aquatic plants,” says René.