Today I open a bottle: exactly 12 years ago, I had the first working day at Wenger Engineering GmbH.
That’s why today I share 12 facts with you that you may already have known, but maybe not:
- I started in a business incubator, the TFU, here in Ulm. My “Global Headquarters” was 24 square meters, the furniture was lent. The windows were slightly leaking, the building was already getting old. I had a view on a busy road and a brothel. But that didn’t matter. It said “CEO” on my business card. It could have just as well said “project manager”, “project engineer”, “sales”, “accountant” or “janitor”. I was everything. Those were the days… 🙂
- “My first major investment was a flipchart” – that was the title of the Frankfurter Allgemeine newspaper about an interview with me. I suppose I actually said that sentence. At the time I thought so too. I didn’t have anything. That’s why you have to carefully weigh such “large investments” … 😉 Today I laugh about it. Here you can read the article (only in German though): https://bit.ly/2mmiyQ5.
- We got our first intern in 2009. He is still with us. Not as an intern, but as an engineer. A top programmer, one of our key employees. You can give him a task, and when he says, “I’m ready,” you know, the task is completely solved. But when he comes and says, “There must be a bug somewhere, I need another 10 hours,” then you know that you have to invest another ten hours. Such people are the success factors of a company!
- Overall, we have made around 500 projects for almost 200 clients. Japan, China, Mongolia, USA, Brazil, Antarctica and of course Europe – we’ve been active around the world. I am extremely grateful for the many customers who gave us the chance to perform. If you are one of the 200: Thanks! If not: we’ll get you too, just wait! 😉
- Our smallest project took three hours. It was about the cooling of jam. The administration was almost more time-consuming than the content. But no matter: the customer was satisfied.
- Did everything always work well? Of course not. Anyone who claims otherwise about his company is lying. While it is not common practice in marketing to admit that things have gone awry, life is not a marketing script. Gosh, how many times we’ve worked more than we calculated! It cost me a fortune, because the customer is usually not interested in whether I need 300 hours more than calculated. In such cases, I think about what Robert Bosch wrote in his biography with the title, “Better lose money than trust.” I see it that way, even if it’s hard at times. The satisfied customer is the drive of our projects.
- 54% of our workforce was women (in the top). This is very high for an engineering firm. Currently we are beneath that value, also due to biological fluctuation. But let me say one thing, so that I won’t be sued: we are not recruiting by gender, but by competence. Therefore, the high value … 🙂
- My trainees and interns are my hobby. Seriously. I like to turn talented junior players into professionals. I see that as part of my entrepreneurial and social responsibility. I didn’t count, but it were over 60 over the time. Some of them are still working here as permanent employees. I’m proud of that.
- Until a few years ago, I smiled at blogs because we’re in a so-called “reputable industry,” not “yoga for dummies,” “losing weight in 10 easy steps” or “crochet – the underrated hobby.” Then I started blogging myself. My most successful article is called “My Tesla Was Dead”. You can find it here: https://www.david-wenger.de/blog-en-my-tesla-was-dead/. As a result, Tesla’s Development Manager contacted me, apologized and coordinated the problem resolution with his team. I was impressed!
- On https://www.wenger-engineering.de/en/shop/ you will find some of our “babies”. You can find a lot of tools and good calculators there. I use them as well in my everyday-engineer-life. Check it out!
- Recently I was in China, where I saw what awaits us in the area of electromobility. The boys and girls over there step on the gas! Of course, many of you are now sitting there and say “Yes, but a V8 biturbo has something!” Maybe. It may be that they cannot do that over there. But it is not relevant. If we are not careful, they will soon sell their cars, not the other way around. Then our industry has a problem. On October 16, 2019 at 5 PM CET (i.e. 11am EST, 8am PST, 3pm GMT) I will talk about the topic “Hydrogen in China” in a webinar. Log in to see my impressively scary insights: https://events.genndi.com/channel/hydrogeninchina.
- What will the next 12 years bring? No idea. I forgot my glass ball at home today. What I know is that we are currently working on many very exciting hydrogen and other electromobility projects. Fuel cells will come. Either from Europe or to Europe. We shape the future. With you?
With this in mind: I’m looking forward to 12 more successful years together with you. Thank you for your loyalty and I am pleased to do a successful project with you!
PS: I really recommend the webinar to you. If you do not have time on that day, register anyway. Then you can look at the record: https://events.genndi.com/channel/hydrogeninchina.