From apprenticeship to retirement: Ahrend Pergande leaves CREMER after 46 years

Mr. Pergande, after more than 46 years with the company, you are going into your well-deserved retirement. What do you have planned for the first months without CREMER?

After my retirement I’ll relocate the center of my life to Grömitz on the Baltic coast. We have a few short trips planned for the summer and will go to some family celebrations in different places in Germany.

I’m particularly looking forward to spending more time with my family and especially my grandchildren. This has often been neglected in recent years, as have visits to the theater and concerts, long walks on the beach and much more. It will definitely be a big change for me, but I certainly won’t get bored.


How did it all start back then with you and CREMER?

I started at CREMER as an apprentice after graduating from high school, and was taken on after the apprenticeship.

The entry into the molasses department was rather involuntary and resulted from my refusal to take on a job in Indonesia. That's where the person who had formerly handled molasses went. I was hired to take his place.

Molasses was a two-man department back then and I was number two. After a year I was alone because the trader left. Now I was the whole department. But at least I had some help from two experienced traders in other areas. With the help of our network and a bit of luck and skill, over time I managed to turn a business unit that was barely known in the molasses market into one of the top three in the world.


What positions have you held at CREMER since then?

CREMER had a completely different structure back then. There were five trade departments dealing with different agricultural products. I was in the soy and tapioca department. At the time, both were very large units in which I acquired broad knowledge. After that I moved to liquid molasses. I was able to apply a lot of my knowledge there, but above all I was able to learn a lot of new things.


Was there an event that you particularly remember?

When I look back over this long period, there are countless events that come to mind. But there was a very special time when my department had its own ship. The name of our ship was “Ilona”. For two years the Ilona took our molasses to many countries around the world. We also transported other products, but mainly molasses. Overall, that was a particularly successful period for our department.

With the help of our network and a bit of luck and skill, over time I managed to turn a business unit that was barely known in the molasses market into one of the top three in the world."

How does your start at CREMER almost five decades ago differ from the start of today's young people?

Of course a lot has changed in the past four to five decades. There are issues that play a much bigger role today than they did back then. I'm referring to data protection, quality management and compliance. But there is also the work-life balance that is often required today, an area in which I certainly didn’t always get everything right... 🤔

Of course, the technical conditions have also changed significantly. The much higher speed of information transmission and processing often requires much faster decisions and thus sometimes greater risks.

A lot has changed in the last few decades. From my point of view, what has not changed are the good opportunities that CREMER offers for young people. Success stories like that of the molasses department are still possible today when young people want to use their skills to advance.


Molasses was the material that essentially determined your professional life. Will you continue to take an interest in it?

Molasses has indeed defined my professional life and so I will certainly continue to keep an eye this sweet, sticky sugar syrup, even if the intensity will diminish over time - at least I hope so. 😃


What do you feel more right now, joy or sadness about the forthcoming retirement?

The joy clearly prevails. It is a very good feeling to have built up a large and long-term successful area for the Cremer family. Of course there are also many people who accompanied me - be it as colleagues, suppliers, customers or in other functions - and so saying goodbye is naturally a little more difficult. But I will definitely keep in touch with some of them.