MANAGEMENT TEAM

Handri Conradie

Managing Director & Founder, At Source Handmade Foods (Pty) Ltd
Managing Director & Owner, Koelfontein Estate (Pty) Ltd

Handri is a sixth-generation member of the Koelfontein Conradie family, which began its farming legacy in 1832. Handri holds a Bachelors degree in Horticulture and Agricultural Economics (cum laude) from Stellenbosch University. He furthered his academic studies at Oxford University, where he completed a Masters in Human Resource Management and Industrial Relations. He believes his time at Oxford was a watershed, motivating him to fulfil his true potential as a business entrepreneur.

Before joining his family’s farming enterprise full time, Handri worked in financial services and for Colors Fruit, one of South Africa’s leading fruit export agencies.

Handri’s palpable passion for farming was publicly recognised in 2009 when he was selected as Western Cape Young Farmer of the Year. His keen entrepreneurial spirit extends beyond the challenges of primary commercial farming – in 2002 Handri founded At Source Handmade Foods. In 2007 he was selected to join Endeavor, a global non-profit organisation that identifies and supports innovative, “high-impact” entrepreneurs in emerging markets. Handri is also a member of Entrepreneurs’ Organisation, a global entrepreneur network and peer-to-peer learning organisation.

Ever the business pioneer, Handri, together with his dynamic At Source team, launched the company’s own dried fruit brand, Cecilia’s World, in 2010.

Handri is married with three children. His wife, Noelani, is a respected economist. She runs her own internationally recognised economic and political research company specialising in African economies. When he is not dreaming up new business strategies, Handri enjoys spending time with his family. He hopes to one day resume playing golf again.

Anton Erwee

Technical Manager, At Source Handmade Foods (Pty) Ltd

Anton studied food science at Stellenbosch University, which boasts the second-oldest food science department in the world, obtaining his BSc and MSc Food Science (cum laude). The practical requirements of his studies during his second year led to an assignment on dried fruit, which proved foundational to his future career with At Source.

After qualifying as a food scientist, Anton took a rewarding position in Johannesburg in the dairy research and development field. His career path intersected with the vision of Handri Conradie just as the At Source enterprise was getting off the ground. Handri required a dynamic food scientist to drive the R&D aspects of the new dried fruit business. His search for the right person led to Anton, who was up for the challenge of a career-defining opportunity.

Anton was given the opportunity to co-develop a state-of-the-art factory from scratch with Handri and a project team of engineers, architects and food manufacturing specialists on a greenfield site on the Koelfontein farm, a challenge the scientist relished. By October 2004, after a year of meticulous planning, the factory was commissioned and continues to produce the finest quality dried fruit products in South Africa, if not the world.

Anton is responsible for all the technical aspects of the business, including product development, quality control and sourcing world-class raw material. He is highly passionate about his work and remains excited about the unlimited potential of the future.

Fly fishing is one of Anton’s favourite past times. He also actively gives back to the youth of South Africa through the life skills training, mentoring and outdoor adventure programmes of the Voortrekkers. Anton is married with two children.

Jannie Conradie

Production Manager, At Source Handmade Foods (Pty) Ltd

Jannie – not a direct relative of Handri’s – has lived in the Warm Bokkeveld for thirty years. He was a primary school teacher for twenty-three years and then ran his own computer training business for ten years before first joining Koelfontein Estate (Pty) Ltd during the summer of 2006/2007 on a temporary assignment to supervise its sun-drying operation.

His educational background may seem a strange fit for his current role as production manager, but Jannie is clearly the right person for this important role. His primary responsibilities are to ensure our multiple product lines are delivered on time and that the workers he manages in the factory are motivated and satisfied. The people management skills and healthy dose of patience he developed in education are invaluable tools when managing over two hundred dried fruit production staff.

Jannie is also responsible for ensuring that every staff member is knowledgeable about the fine-tuned production process, is equipped to keep the production lines working effectively and employs world-class standards of quality control. And by all accounts, Jannie runs a tight but harmonious ship.

Jannie may work the longest hours in the factory, but he loves every minute of his work. He is especially intent on empowering the people he works with to achieve their full potential in life.

When he is not running the production aspects of the At Source factory Jannie hits the road running. He has completed one Comrades Marathon – the tough uphill route – and is an eight-handicap golfer.

THE AT SOURCE PEOPLE

As much as we are all about the fruit, At Source is also all about the people. They put the handmade into our name. We know that most companies today talk about how people are the most important asset they have, but we really try to live up to our own expectations when it comes to people.

We believe we have the finest bunch of people you’ll find under the sun working here, many of whom have been with us from the start. Every one of us here buys into the core idea that we are not simply creating products – we are building legacies for our children and for all children. We believe absolutely in the idea that if you have strong ideals and you live by them every day, your work will benefit and your business will grow.

Many of our people, 95 per cent of whom are women and previously disadvantaged, originally worked with good friends of ours from the Warm Bokkeveld, John and Ingrid Wolfaardt of Skaaprivier.

The Wolfaardts warrant some tribute. They’re well-known in the Western Cape agricultural world and we consider them pioneers of inclusive farm management practises. During the 80s their progressive vision set the benchmark for empowerment and social development, long before it became vogue. And they were also the first dried fruit suppliers to Woolworths at a time when agricultural marketing was still tightly regulated. In 1999 the Wolfaardts sold their farm to their farm workers in one of the first so-called BEE transactions of its kind. When this project failed a few years later (through no fault of their own, it must be added) all these workers lost literally everything. At Source (at the time a fledgling Woolworths supplier itself) saw the opportunity to salvage all that experience and skill. We offered jobs to the entire Skaaprivier team.

Today these women form the core of our production team in the factory. Gertruida Damon is a lab assistant; Johanna Pretorius is in charge of the production of our flagship soft-eating dried fruit range with her side-kick Jeanetta Pedro; Maylene Pieterse and Eva Diergaardt are senior team leaders; Sandra van Wyk and Olga Galant take care of all labelling; Sara Tieties is responsible for stock control in one of our cold rooms; and Bettie Pedro is charged with hygiene control. The Mabala twins are also still here, as is 4-foot-tall Mickey Philander with her infectious laugh.

We have built our business around the best people. They embody the integrity we strive for in our business and despite being really good at what they do, remain very down to earth about it. We are confident that the combination of expertise and integrity with a good measure of friendliness makes life a whole lot easier for our customers and suppliers.