Simac was founded on October 1, 1971 by Mac van Schagen. After a career at Philips, at the age of forty-four he took the step to start for himself. From a bedroom of his rental house in Veldhoven he starts as an exclusive representative for Europe of the American Singer Instrumentation.
To clarify where Simac should be placed in the market, Van Schagen added "Electronics" to the name soon after its creation. Since then, his one-man business has grown into a large, privately owned company.
More than 1300 employees work in offices throughout The Netherlands, Belgium, Luxemburg and the Czech Republic.
The name of the company arises when Mac purchases a telex and the PTT does not accept more than five letters as a reporting name. His "old" secretary doesn't have to think long now: Simac. Si of Singer, the product line they represent, and Mac of, of course, Mac.
On January 1st 1989, Eric van Schagen, son of Mac van Schagen, became co-director of the listed company. On 1 November 1991, at the 20th anniversary of Simac, Mac van Schagen resigned as director. However, he became a member of the Supervisory Board.
Simac in Belgium
In the eyes of the Americans, the Benelux was one country in those early years. But we knew better. The Dutch prefer to buy their equipment from a Dutch company and Belgians prefer to buy it from a Belgian company. So we started a branch in Belgium in 1972.
The first office was located in the centre of Brussels, at Rue du Progrès, near Gare du Nord, which was a fairly shady neighbourhood at the time. No worries, Simac thought. Because that’s why the rent was so low.
The office we rented was long and narrow and was therefore called the ‘Rabbit’s Burrow’. In Belgium, that’s also the name for the long, narrow tunnel for traffic under a watercourse, railway or other obstacles. Another similarity is that there was just as much daylight in the office as in the tunnel: almost none!
In 1985, we moved to Peutie, north of the ring road. It was Jean-Luc Dehaene, who would later become prime minister of Belgium, who opened the building at the time. In 1997, we also start an office in Leuven. The year 2021 is another great milestone in our history in Belgium. This year, we’ll be opening a beautiful new building in Leuven.
The company merged with Netbuilding in 1997, forming Simac ICT Belgium, active in network and system integration. Over time, the company has expanded its activities with professional services, cabling & infrastructure and business management solutions.
Simac’s head office is located in Kortenberg, with extra offices in Heverlee, Pulderbos and Bastogne. Today, Simac ICT Belgium employs more than 250 ICT professionals.
"The family is there for the company, not the other way around."
Simac celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2021. And a few years later, the current CEO Eric van Schagen will step up. To whom? That will become clear in the coming years. All four of his children work in the company, as does a son of his sister. One thing is for sure, Simac remains a family business with optimal focus on its customers and the people who work there.