Member Spotlight


20 June 2022
1. Where was your favorite place to visit as a kid?

I grew up in a small town in North-Eastern Bavaria in Southern Germany. The highlight for me as a kid was our annual one-week family vacation to the Bavarian Alps in August. We went five or six years in a row to the same town. Nowadays our children - we have two girls (20 and 18) and a boy (14) – are asking full of surprise “What was so special about this?” Well, because it meant going to the public pool almost every day all day long, a bratwurst in a bun for lunch, and a big ice cream after dinner! The town is called Reit im Winkl.

2. How did you get to Austin?

My wife is from Texas (she grew up North of Houston). We lived for more than 12 years in Germany, before returning to the US and to Texas in 2014. My wife’s cousins with kids in the same age range live in Austin and Houston was much too big for me. Additionally, I was able to work for a German Filtration Manufacturing Company (Membrane Manufacturing) starting a small new plant in Austin at that time.

3. What is one thing from Germany you wish they had in America?

I apologize, I have to name two things.

Related to business/work: The dual education system of formal apprenticeships / job training for all type of jobs, because this is definitely a very viable career path for Highschool Graduates to learn all details of a trade and profession. It is an alternative for Kid’s who don’t want to / can’t / are not ready yet to pursue a 4-year college degree. The apprentices are hired by a company, learn and work in the company, and go to the respective local trade-school (e.g. one week out of a month). Apprenticeships are paid and durations are usually between 2.5 to 3.5 years, depending on the trade or profession. They are a way of all types of businesses and companies - small, medium, large, hair saloon to large manufacturing company – training and securing their future employees. This is a route I experienced myself after High School in Germany: I completed a 3.5 year apprenticeship as Mechanical Fitter in a small machine shop (10 to 15 employees), and went to college afterwards to obtain my B.S. in Mechanical Engineering.

Related to food: Bakeries with Bavarian pretzels, good sourdough bread, and sweet pastries available on every third street corner of each town (I am driving 30+ minutes to get my bread and pretzels). Easy Tiger Bakery has quite good pretzels! Note: A guy from Bavaria needs his pretzels and beer (there are many good beers in America).

4. If you could go to any US sporting event, what would it be?

This is not an easy question, because of the many different and great sporting events out there. For me, it would be between Game 7 of NBA Finals with the Dallas Mavericks (I know, this may not happen in my lifetime again…), or go to the US Open Tennis Championships in New York.

5. What is something you're paying attention to in current automation trends?

Definitely collaborative robots (cobots), which are cost-effective, safe, and flexible to deploy.

6. Any favorite ways to cool down when it's 105 on a Saturday?

Cooling down in Central Texas must involve water: Going to Pedernales Falls State Park or Inks Lake State Parks and cooling off in the water with my family. Even though this type of activity has become less frequent for us, probably due to our Children’s age. But everyone likes to take the paddle board down to Lake Austin, which is very close to our neighborhood.


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