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VMI exec: Crash victim was 'likable guy to work with'

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Auke Dalstra, CFO of the VMI Group, and his wife Aafke died on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur. They were heading toward their holiday destination.

EPE, Netherlands—Auke Dalstra, chief financial officer of the VMI Group, and his wife Aafke were on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 and died in the crash on July 17.

The couple was en route to their holiday destination, from Amsterdam, Netherlands, to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, according to the VMI Group.

“We're very saddened by the news,” said Arie Kroeze, president of VMI Americas Inc., the group's North American subsidiary. “It was a big shock for VMI. It's still difficult to comprehend.”

VMI said Dalstra was a beloved and well respected member of the global management board of the VMI Group. He was 50 years old with a son and a daughter, who were not on the flight.

“With his drive, superb intelligence, plain honesty and inspiring leadership, he played a key role for VMI,” the firm said in a statement. “As a warm-hearted and compassionate person, he was confidant and mentor for many employees within the VMI Group.”

Dalstra joined VMI in 2002 as financial director and held several positions within the group. From 2007-09 he was president of VMI Americas Inc., headquartered in Stow, Ohio. He was appointed CFO of the Epe-headquartered firm in 2010.

Kroeze, who served as vice president of sales while Dalstra was president of the Americas subsidiary, took over for Dalstra after he was named CFO of VMI Group, which manufactures and markets rubber machinery.

“He was very direct, very honest and a very likable guy to work with,” Kroeze said. “His approach was really respected by a lot of people. He visited on a regular basis and was actually going to visit here about two weeks from now.

“It was hard for people in the Americas because they directly worked for him.”