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Could you give our readers a brief introduction, John?
“I started working for Gosselin in 2004 when the company had acquired another moving company, Nomad Express, in the Caucasus. My initial duties were rebranding these offices as Gosselin companies and expanding the client portfolio. In the beginning, we only had one client, the American embassy. Today we work for a variety of clients, and have 30 employees in Tbilisi, 15 in Baku and 2 in Yerevan.”
“In the meantime, I have settled in Georgia, started a family here and in addition to Belgian nationality, I have also acquired Georgian nationality. In short, I feel Georgian and really love living here. Last year, I became the honorary consul to Belgium in Georgia. It’s a huge honor for me to be able to represent Belgium.”
What are the differences between a personal move and a diplomatic one?
“Every move demands a lot of careful planning, but moving diplomats requires even more of this. An embassy’s operations depend on these employees; one example is providing visas. As a mover, you have to be able to guarantee this continuity. Sometimes extra security is necessary for diplomatic goods, or extra services are requested such as temporary storage.”
“Diplomats have usually already moved many times. They are knowledgeable about the things they are entitled to ask of a moving company and expect you go above and beyond the call of duty for them.”
“We also move entire embassies. Moving the IT infrastructure has the highest priority. All of the machines are being reinstalled during the weekend, and the diplomats can just continue their work on Monday as if nothing has happened.”
Why is Gosselin the ideal partner for diplomatic moves in the Caucasus?
“Gosselin has excellent resources at its disposal. Just to give a few examples: Gosselin always packs fragile goods such as paintings in special wood moving crates. We use an iPad and specialized software for a pre-move survey, whereas a local mover always makes note of everything using pen and paper.”
“Just like all the other Gosselin offices, we are fortunate enough to be able to fall back on support from headquarters. This applies to our IT infrastructure, our operational software and for all of the specialized moving training courses that are organized from the head office.”
Diplomats move often. Do you develop a personal relationship with them?
“The first personal contact takes place when the goods are delivered. I introduce myself and give them a business card. It’s a small gesture that is appreciated and one that diplomats don’t forget when they have to move again three years later.”
John Braeckeveldt, the moving teams in Georgia and Azerbaijan and a quote from the Italian ambassador in Georgia. Gosselin will be sponsoring the "Settimana della Cucina Italiana nel Mondo" in Tbilisi. The week of the Italian cuisine is an initiative from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and promotes the Italian approach to food on an international level.