Last month we received the sad news that Pieter Punter has passed away on the 14th of March 2017 at the age of 70. We never anticipated on having to say farewell to this energetic and sharp minded man so soon. A man that not only played an important role in the national and international field of Sensory Research, but also in the history of EyeQuestion Software and therefore, also in the personal life of both myself and Rignald.
Now 17 years ago, Pieter became our very first client. We became acquainted with him as Research Director of his company OP&P Product Research through a mutual friend. We scheduled a meeting to tell him about the software ideas we had and our plan to start a software company. The first thing we noticed when we visited Pieter at his office, was him walking around in his office without any shoes. We immediately understood that this was a man that just did what he thought was right, regardless what others would think or say. He told us about a business we never heard of before: Sensory Research. We tried our best to show him our creativeness and pragmatism regarding software development and online questionnaires, while also telling him that we just quit our jobs and started to work from our garage.
Pieter’s open mind towards younger generations trying to achieve their goals made it possible for us to get an opportunity to flourish as business owners. He invited us to open an office in one of the available rooms in his company to start creating software specified for sensory research. OP&P Product Research became our first ever customer an has been part of our journey ever since.
For 3 years, we had our office within the OP&P Product Research building in Utrecht, close to the beautiful Wilhelmina Park. We worked on our software, tried out our product in OP&P’s daily practices and had enjoyable lunches every day with Pieter, his wife and business partner Aimée and all their employees. We learned to know them very well and quickly found out that Pieter was an intelligent, warm and humorous man with a strong, often thought-provoking opinion. We also found out that he was mostly right, as the countless talks with him helped us to shape our software and cement our place in the world of Sensory Research.
Obviously, we did not only learn from him about the world of Sensory Research, but also a lot about food in general. We can look back to having shared numerous meals with Pieter, during those he always had something interesting to say about the food in front of him.
The years spent at OP&P were pleasant and memorable. We learned, we grew, expanded our customer base until we finally moved to our own office. Although we did not see or even speak to each other on a daily basis anymore, our connection with Pieter and OP&P remained strong in the years to come. We often traveled together to various events and on numerous occasions shared booths at symposiums and conferences throughout the world.
I remember us being at a symposium in Spain where we told Pieter and Aimée how much money we had to pay extra for flying with our large, odd sized suitcase containing our stand and commercial material. Their instant reply was: “Oh we traveled by car this time, so just put the case on the back seat of our car and we will drive it back to The Netherlands.” The large case was almost too long for the car, but we managed to get it in. Pieter and Aimée drove our stuff back from Spain to Holland just to save us some money. It was a perfect example of how Pieter was; he always generously shared knowledge and means with others. We are very happy to have had the opportunity to know Pieter, to work with him and enjoy his company.
Pieter, thank you for supporting us all these years. You have paved the way for a friendship between our companies that still stands the test of time. We will miss you greatly.
Gerben & Rignald
You can leave your personal memory about Pieter here