Alan Hoffmann started his business career as an electrician working in his father’s small engineering company “Industrial Units (Pty) Ltd”.
Alan was one of the surviving members of an elite group of post World War Two South African entrepreneurs who had the foresight and courage to create and shape entire industries, and it did not take him long to take a more active interest in the business. Through his vision and entrepreneurial talent, the business developed rapidly over the following years until the INDUNA GROUP (as it was known then) boasted over 20 branches nationally, including in Botswana and Namibia.
Alan always had a fondness for the plant hire industry and was instrumental in forming the Contractors Plant Hire Association of which he was Chairman for many years. With an uncanny eye for opportunity, he became the pioneer and leading light in several fields and was always the master brand builder. His name was synonymous with the world famous Miller and Kohler brands from the USA, Calpeda Pumps from Italy and Hatz engines from Germany.
He was the first dealer to import Harley Davidson motorcycles into this country, and during the 1970’s he negotiated the sale to Johannesburg and other municipalities of several giant Rolls Royce gas turbine engines for their power stations. Always innovative, he was involved in producing the well-known Hoffberg Alternators; he also developed a repeater shotgun (the Protector) which was subsequently taken over by Reutech. He formed an alliance with the State Trading Corporation of India; was one of the first businessmen to penetrate behind the iron curtain, accompanying the then Foreign Minister Mr Pik Botha on a trade mission to Eastern Europe during the 1980’s; and one of the first entrepreneurs to see the potential for business with China.
Alan married his childhood sweetheart and had a son and a daughter, both of whom are now successful medical specialists. He passed away just a few months before what would have been his 50th wedding anniversary in January 2011. Alan enjoyed skiing and water sports. He owned a holiday home on the Vaal River and was a qualified pilot, on many weekends flying family and friends to the islands off Mocambique in his Cessna aircraft. He was also a frequent visitor to Mauritius.
Although plagued by ill heath during the latter part of his life, Alan never let his illness get him down for long and would spend the time recuperating by planning his next business venture. His energy and enthusiasm took the company from the humble beginnings of a small business in Kruis street, Johannesburg in 1931, to the world leading HOFFMANN™ brand of today.