Frank Van Wezel

FRANK VAN WEZEL was born in VLISSINGEN, THE NETHERLANDS, where he spent his childhood and adolescence. He was the youngest student in his year at NYENRODE BUSINESS UNIVERSITY (www.nyenrode.nl) from where he graduated with honours before fulfilling his National Service obligations as a Lieutenant in the Dutch Air Force..

Upon leaving the Air Force, he worked and studied in LONDON and PARIS, after which he lived in East Africa for 10 years before being eventually transferred to ESSEX in ENGLAND. His love of Squash and Tennis led to his involvement in the sports shoe industry where he was instrumental in the introduction of the first specialist Squash shoe, which subsequently led to the creation of HI-TEC SPORTS PLC. Now more than 19 million pairs of the first shoe, still commercialised even today, have been sold.

From humble beginnings in 1974, the Company was floated on THE LONDON STOCK EXCHANGE in June 1988. Chairman VAN WEZEL decided to privatise the Company in 2000 because he felt stifled by the demands of short-term profit goals of being a Public Company.

HI-TEC SPORTS now enjoys worldwide recognition as being one of the world leaders in sports and outdoor footwear with distribution in approximately 85 countries and subsidiary Companies in UK, CANADA, USA, SOUTH AFRICA, SPAIN, FRANCE, GERMANY and the BENELUX. The Company currently employs approximately 400 employees and generates global sales of more than US$ 250 million. Part of this turnover is with the brand MAGNUM – the specialist boot for many people in uniform all over the world. For more information: www.magnumboots.com..

MR VAN WEZEL was bestowed a Lifetime Achievement Award by the British Sports Trade. Equally he is Life Vice President of the SQUASH RACKETS ASSOCIATION in the UK, an honour bestowed for the first time by the Association in recognition of the services he has rendered to the game of Squash worldwide. MR VAN WEZEL was also a founding member of the Faculty Advisory Board of the UNIVERSITY OF BATH's SCHOOL OF MANAGEMENT. He is member of the STICHTING NYENRODE FUND, a fundraising organisation for the only private business university in The Netherlands.

FRANK VAN WEZEL and his family have lived in ENGLAND for more than 40 years, and he has two daughters and one son. His two sons-in-law and his son work in the business, which is a true family affair. This sport loving Dutchman enjoys Soccer, Tennis, Squash, Skiing and Golf. He is a Director of his local professional soccer team, SOUTHEND UNITED, and is also a sponsor of the SOUTHEND RUGBY CLUB. He also financially supports a couple of soccer clubs in Holland as he says: “Just for the love of the game!”

Chairman's statement

Our love for living things is shown by our houseplants, our pets, and our Sundays spent in the garden; we love the thought of alpine lodges lost in evergreen forests or adventures deep in jungles. Undeniably, we feel good when surrounded by nature.

Before computers, video games or mobile phones, only a generation or so ago, fun was found and downtime was spent in the great outdoors, where climbing trees and jumping in streams was all part of the fun. As the decades passed, our cities swelled, our technologies advanced, our industries moved indoors, and suddenly time spent outside diminished.

But honestly, isn’t it beginning to feel a little too stuffy in our bricks and mortars thumbing our mobile phones whilst in front of the TV? Isn’t it our restless, pent up energy from time spent inside becoming all too much? Excitingly, many people are once again standing up, switching off, slipping on their boots and heading out the door.

The outdoors strips us of the stresses and pressures we bear in our daily lives. Out there, balancing on mountain tops or relaxing on riverbanks, life is not measured by sales targets or hours clocked. In fact, out there, the only measures are those of your own choosing, whether that’s miles walked, limits pushed, or moments enjoyed reveling in the splendor of nature.

The benefits are numerous, with mental and physical health sitting high up on the list. Away from the noise, we can reflect on our lives more freely, using the uncluttered time and space to gain new perspectives. Being in nature helps us tune in to our natural rhythms, leaving us feeling revitalized with a positive attitude and healthier outlook. Numerous reports and studies have found that being in natural environments can have strong positive impacts on our wellbeing: “It helps us to strike a balance as we cope with life’s ups and downs,” says Kevin Fenton, Director of Health and Wellbeing at Public Health England, in his foreword to the research report, Feel Better Outside, Feel Better Inside.

Many are using their outdoor adventures as a way to spend (undistracted) time with loved ones, whilst others are using it as a way to meet new friends. Whether you enjoy scaling rock faces or kayaking coastlines, there are others out there who will happily share the experience with you. Web-based interconnectivity has made it easier than ever to band together in communities of like-minds and shared interests, in pursuit of enjoying the great outdoors.

So really, there is no excuse: seize the moment and go get yourself some warm Hi-Tec apparel and some great boots and… ENJOY!

Sincerely,

Frank van Wezel