A demographic shift is currently happening among entrepreneurs in Canada. Jacob Van den Akker, a 29-year-old framer and owner at JV Builds in Niagara, ON, is one of new-generation business owners who have taken the lead in the family business or started their own. It’s undeniable, this new breed of entrepreneurs seems to share the same values: They are passionate about their craft and have the ambition to grow their business and reach unprecedented goals. And just like previous generations, they work hard, but they also aim to be efficient and productive because they value their personal time like never before. Moreover, they must have fun while working and they are not afraid to embrace new technologies and innovative machinery such as the Merlo P40.17 telehandler.

But as much as they value innovation, many of them learned from their fathers, and are very grateful to have them close by, as mentors. Here’s comes Jacob’s story.

Father and son carpenters

“My dad has been a carpenter for over 40 years, and I used not to want anything to do with it when I was young. As I got older and was in university, I started to realize that I wanted to be more useful and didn’t see myself in an office as a career.

I had always framed on and off since I was 16 but only at 21 did I realize that it was where I was meant to be. When I came out of school and started taking carpentry seriously, I had a lot to learn. But thankfully, picked it up quickly, learning from my father.”

Starting my own business

“After almost a decade, I decided it was time to start my own business so I could be more in control of the jobs I was taking on and the contacts I was making. As a matter of fact, it has proven to be the best move I’ve ever made. I’m 29 now, dad is 63 and he works with me! I love it and I’ve been waiting for the right moment to get some pictures of the two of us.”

Buying my first telehandler Merlo P40.17

“The newest member of the team is Merlo. And this guy doesn’t complain or need any days off!

Dale Thompson, my friend, sales rep for Manulift and owner at @multitraderental, helped me by facilitating this purchase and reminding me that machinery is here to help!

Turns out my Merlo P40.17 was the biggest purchase of my life aside from a house and it proves every day why it was worth it. This is most definitely the best thing I’ve ever bought.

Not only does it do the work of 2 men, but it also makes many aspects of the job a lot easier. And the best part of it all is that it will help keep my dad working with me for years to come! Our Merlo saves our backs, and the jib winch attachment is something I could never live without again… Just as my father’s knowledge and invaluable advice. Having both of “them” beside me is the best thing in the world.”

Why I chose Merlo and Manulift

“My father taught me that to be successful, you must aim to be the best, and surround yourself with the best. And that is exactly why I chose Merlo and Manulift. These telehandlers are the best of the best! Intuitive controls, better attachments and local service are all key points. Also, the way they hold value is great to know in the back of your mind as a business owner.

Plus the cab shift is awesome, and again I can’t say enough about the jib winch.

Besides my boy Dale Thompson, the whole team at Manulift Stoney creek is excellent, from Johnny the service tech to Kareem the finance guy, excellent people.

Bonus points for it driving on the road at 40km/hr. This machine is a great addition to JV Builds!‘’


If, like Jacob, you want to take your business to the next level, increase productivity and make operational gains, then click here to have a look at all our Merlo telehandler models. Or contact us to speak to a telehandler expert near you.