As a qualified industrial supervisor in electrical engineering and workshop manager at the THIMM site in Neuburg a. d. Donau (Bavaria), Wolfgang Beßle (50) is not just responsible for maintaining the machines, he also builds some himself, when required. He also passes on his knowledge to the next generation as a trainer. He has received awards for his achievements and dedication in both these fields.
Wolfgang, can you tell us about your professional career path from the beginning to the present day?
After gaining my secondary school leaving certificate in 1984, I started my apprenticeship as an electronics engineer for energy systems. To begin with, I was not at all sure whether this was the right career for me. All I knew was that it had to be something technical! I soon realised, though, that the job was exactly what I had always wanted to do. It is simply a very varied field of work that combines mechanics with electronics. What I have always found exciting too is that we are not just in charge of maintaining and servicing the machinery, but also have a lot of freedom to improve it and come up with ideas for optimisation.
Having worked for six years in various departments at the maintenance workshop following my apprenticeship, I decided to train part-time towards my qualification as an industrial supervisor in electrical engineering. The training period until I qualified in 1996 was a stressful time, because I had to juggle family, work and attending the technical college in Munich every Saturday for two years. But the effort was worth it! Firstly, I won the Bavarian state award for the best exam performance in the whole of Bavaria. And after that, I was able to take over the vacant position of workshop manager at work.
And alongside this position as workshop manager, you are also a trainer, right?
Yes exactly, as a trainer I am responsible for the technical apprentices that we have here in Neuburg. As well as qualifying as an industrial supervisor, my second major goal was to become a trainer. I find contact with the young people very refreshing. You keep learning new things, get different perspectives and have to stay on the ball in terms of content in many areas. That was why it was a wonderful moment for me when I was commended by the Munich and Upper Bavaria Chamber of Commerce and Industry in 2018 for my outstanding achievements in the field of vocational training and my 20-year voluntary work on the vocational examination boards.
What do you feel is special about THIMM as an employer?
For me, THIMM is very dependable employer, offering me challenges to get my teeth into and support in meeting those challenges. I am always learning more through various training activities (such as control engineering) and participation in the leadership programme. My day-to-day work is valued, and this gives me the security and confidence that I need to perform my maintenance work with agility and also to be accepting of errors.
As I have already mentioned, I find it very motivating that my work is not exclusively restricted to servicing and repairs. Indeed, we have the freedom to implement optimisation measures or even build whole machines ourselves. Ultimately, these innovations can then give us a competitive edge!
What have been your highlights at THIMM to date?
I can think of several. One was definitely designing and building the automatic welding mirror, which is now used not just in Neuburg, but also at several other production sites. That was the biggest and most complex challenge to date. You start off with an idea and are convinced that it will work. But you only really know if it does once the machine is actually up and running. Then you are glad that your effort and the company’s expenditure have paid off!
It is great every year when I see another group of students successfully complete their apprenticeships. And it is even better when they are the best in the state of Bavaria, as our packaging technology specialists were in 2015.