Dutch-American Community Leader
After graduating from college in the Netherlands with a degree in Dairy Technology, Dick van Hoepen joined the international staff of Nestle, SA in Switzerland. After various managerial and executive postings in respectively Jamaica, Panama, Malaysia, Singapore, South Africa and the USA (July 1987-December 1993), Dick worked the last few years of his career at the Nestle head office in Vevey, Switzerland. There he was in charge of all the technical training and the liaison of technical personnel in the world. In that capacity he reported directly to the Board. He retired in Switzerland in September 1997 after 40 years of service with the Company and returned to California in April 1999.
Once settled in Los Angeles, Dick became an active member of the Board of Directors of the Dutch American Heritage Foundation (DAHEF), which hosted the first Dutch American Heritage Day Gala in 1992, and annually thereafter until 2007, when its operations combined with the those of the Netherland-America Foundation. Dick was an active negotiator in the agreement. Dick served as the first President of the NAF Southern California (SoCal) Chapter and on the NAF’s Board of Directors until 2010, when he stepped down from both positions, remaining as an active Director of the NAF SoCal until today. Throughout this period, the Dutch American Heritage Day Gala has continued as the primary fundraiser for the SoCal Chapter. Also during this period, Dick and his wife Yvonne van Hoepen organized and conducted the hugely popular Princes Christina Concours Concert Series, now in its 10th year. The series is regularly conducted in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Vancouver where the young laureates, accompanied by Dick and Yvonne, perform before hundreds of appreciative audience members.
The Van Hoepens’ combined contributions to enriching the exchange of talent between the Netherlands and the United States and to helping build important bridges in the Southern California Dutch-American community are being recognized and celebrated today.