Originally from the Netherlands, Heitink and his family came to the U.S. in 1978 for VandenBerge, a Dutch veneer company. Initially Heitink Veneers acted as an independent agent and consultant to other veneer manufacturers.

Specializing in the sale of export veneers, Gerrit was well equipped to communicate with the European customer because of his ability to speak four languages fluently, in addition to his 12 years of veneer experience. Using this knowledge, Heitink helped to establish several successful export departments for other veneer companies and in 1988 began independently custom cutting veneers for export sale.