Edwin Kiewik leaves SOS

Friday 6 November 2020
Edwin Kiewik bade farewell to his work with SOS International on Friday 30 October. A driver from the Amsterdamse Bergings Combinatie dragged him from behind his desk, put him in his car and winched him, in the vehicle, on to a recovery truck's flatbed, before carrying him off to a new existence. Kiewik was one of the founding fathers of incident management in the Netherlands and, over the past few years, played a central role in the substantive management of Stichting IMN's National Central Reporting Point (LCM).

Edwin Kiewik leaves SOS

Edwin Kiewik in 2014 on the slopes of Sa Calobra

Kiewik is a born-and-bred Amsterdammer and, after a few years in the world of travel, started work for the SOS International control centre on 12 September 1988. His job description was "all-round recovery operative". At the time, SOS was still part of Europeesche Verzekeringen, based in the offices of the insurer on Amsterdam's Keizersgracht. Kiewik developed into an expert in the field of everything relating to the dispatch of recovery operators. Given his background it was inevitable that he would be involved in the process leading to the first tender procedure for recovery agreements by Stichting IMN in 1999, an event that he describes, looking back, as the most significant event during his time in the sector: "a revolution".

In the years that followed Edwin Kiewik became a member of Stichting IMN's advisory committee. In that capacity he drafted the requirements which had to be met in order to work as an IM recovery operator, streamlined the collaboration between Stichting IMN and control centres, and monitored the integrity of the many, often very esoteric procedures surrounding recovery, transportation and storage of vehicles.

Edwin Kiewik is crazy about cars. And yet in 2009 he bought himself a bike and, the same year, cycled up Mont Ventoux and Alpe d'Huez. In the years that followed, he mastered dozens of other European mountain passes; some familiar, others more obscure. Kiewik is also renowned as a story-teller. In his stories he is somehow able to bring back to life people who have long since given up the recovery business, as it were. The one about Piet Catsburg, once managing director of the recovery operator of the same name in Mijdrecht, for instance. This legendary figure rode around in an extra-large tow truck with a sign in similarly large letters that said, simply, "PIET CATSBURG". One fine day, Catsburg had parked this vehicle right in front of Café Restaurant de Eendracht in Abcoude so that he could go in and have a cola.

The establishment is on a narrow, but busy street in the centre of the village and it caused the sort of tailback that aroused the interest of two police officers. They entered the premises, where they found Catsburg and several other gentlemen at the bar. They tapped him on the shoulder and asked: "Whose is that recovery truck outside?", to which Catsburg, if we are to believe Edwin Kiewik, replied: "Can't you read?"

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