Visitors to the plant premises of Aebi Schmidt located in St. Blasien, Germany, aren't just welcomed by the machines large and small and the rushing of the river Alb, but by 320 friendly employees. Whether you're a colleague, a visitor or a service provider – at Aebi Schmidt you won't stay a stranger for long. This is also confirmed by our Schmidt messengers. Whether they’re a native to the Black Forest region or an incomer from a major city in Germany or further afield – they are all infected by the "Schmidt virus". We got talking to them...

Tobias Weissenrieder

Product Manager Road Sweepers

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Schmidt is "a place where I leave the office each day with a smile because it’s such a great place to work."

Tobias Weissenrieder has been one of five Product Managers at the St. Blasien location of Aebi Schmidt since 2011. Having grown up just 30 km from the factory gates, after completing his studies in mechanical engineering at Lörrach Cooperative State University his path initially took him to Switzerland. The fact that he returned to his home region wasn't just due to the prospect of the exciting career challenge that Schmidt offered him. The great conditions for families and the excellent work-life balance also led him back to Germany. As an enthusiastic mechanical engineer, he is interested in anything that has four wheels and an engine. And yet he doesn't just find Schmidt to be an attractive employer because of its varied range of products alone. "On the one hand we are big enough to play a key role in the world markets. But on the other we are small enough for everyone to be able to get to know each other, from the assembly department to the executive team. There are great opportunities here for being able to actively develop your own career, and the managers are always open to the employees' views and ideas." For Tobias Weissenrieder, the Black Forest region is his home – at both the private and professional levels. His journey to work sees him ascending and descending 1,400 metres each day: 700 metres in the morning and 700 in the evening. "I love living so close to the countryside. You really feel the seasonal differences here in the Black Forest more intensively, and the range of leisure opportunities on offer is huge. And if you find the Feldberg with its 1,493 metres a little too low, we're only around three hours from the foothills of the Eiger or the Jungfrau in the Berne Alps. In the experience of the Product Manager, the motto "From St. Blasien to the world and vice-versa" not only applies to Schmidt but also to the staff. "The people here are down-to-earth, open and approachable, and anyone who makes a little effort is accepted very quickly. In brief, it's a great working environment."

Martin Freudig

Lean Manager
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Schmidt is "the optimum link between my home region and a global company."

Martin Freudig is a Lean Manager with his heart and soul. He started at Aebi Schmidt in St. Blasien as an apprentice precision mechanic aged just 18. "In those days, Lean wasn't an issue, we didn’t even know the term." Back then, he would never have thought that 22 years later on, he would be in charge of Lean Management in St. Blasien and responsible for things including the overhaul of a complete production line. In his office above the Swingo Production in hall 2, Martin Freudig focuses on things that are actually invisible. "Lean Management means striving for perfection, and since it is something we can only describe on paper, it has to be anchored in the employees' minds before it really works. I can also count on the dedication of my employees when it comes to the implementation of the new processes. Our executive team is also 100% behind the topic, from the strategy through to every nut and bolt. That's really great, because saying something like "I think we'll do a bit of Lean today" wouldn't work. At Aebi Schmidt we have recognised the importance of actively including the employees from the very start. Their knowledge is the basis for every change and is therefore supported. From further training to guild school, those who make the effort can achieve a lot at Schmidt. I also find our products to be quite simply superb, and when it comes to the Black Forest region, all I can say is that working in a holiday region is simply a privilege."

 

Hong Wang

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Schmidt is "a nice and friendly, well managed family"

As the crow flies it is 8,215 km from St. Blasien to the Chinese city of Shenyang, where Hong Wang grew up. He first came to Germany in 2005 to study mechanical engineering at Darmstadt Technical University. He found that he really liked the language, culture and country, so much so that after graduating, he decided to apply to Aebi Schmidt as a Developer in the field of weeping machines. "The Black Forest is known in China for being a place of sunshine and fresh air. Both of these are rare commodities in a city of more than a million like Shenyang. I was therefore extremely pleased that my application at Aebi Schmidt was successful. St. Blasien might not be a big place, but it is something of a hot spot in the midst of nature, and I can be in cities such as Zürich, Basel and Freiburg in just an hour, or go and visit Lake Constance or France. Personally, I find that to be the perfect mix." Hong Wang has especially fond memories of the helpful nature of his colleagues, who not only helped him to settle in to his job, but also lent a hand with his move and his arrival in his new home. "The people at Aebi Schmidt were very open and friendly. I felt at home here immediately and I assumed a great deal of responsibility right from the start!" And the great thing is: Whenever I see an Aebi Schmidt machine either here in Germany or when visiting China I know that there's a bit of my work in it."

Theresia Winkler-Flügel

Product Manager Airport Devices
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Schmidt is "an international company in which the employees are given a high degree of responsibility with a family atmosphere."

                      Theresia Winkler-Flügel is proof that a "winding career path" is often the most exciting one. Theresia has been responsible for the Airport Devices department as Product Manager since 2013. Her studies at Konstanz University of Applied Sciences in the World Business Languages of Asia, Management & Chinese, and her subsequent master’s course in Marketing Management in Munich and Berlin initially had little to do with technology and heavy equipment. She first came into contact with the worlds of automotive and mechanical engineering in her initial jobs. Theresia Winkler-Flügel, who hails from the Waldshut-Tiengen region near the German-Swiss border, spent a year living in the USA and also spent a considerable amount of time in China, where she worked for a south German motor vehicles manufacturer. She also worked at a mechanical engineering firm, dealing with products for the airport cargo sector. "My return to the Black Forest was also for family-related reasons. At the same time, however, I found the job description for Product Manager for Airport Devices to be very exciting. It was originally aimed at someone with a background in industrial engineering. The fact that things with the job worked out, however, shows how Schmidt don't always adhere to convention and that experience and know-how are evaluated individually. Since we have a lot of international customers in the Airport division, inter-cultural experiences are very helpful for our daily work, and as an interface between development, sales and the customer, these topics have to be regularly made understandable to people who aren't technical experts. In such cases it is beneficial when I am able to reach into my academic background and go into what I call my communicating mode." Theresia Winkler-Flügel has seen a lot of the world, and in her current job at Aebi Schmidt she is now ensuring that airport runways all over the world are both free of snow and safe. And she also adds: "Schmidt isn't just a place for the guys. As a woman in what many people perceive to be a male industry, I have exactly the same opportunities and responsibilities as my male colleagues."

João Pinto

Software Developer and Software Tester in the area of Development Electrical & Control Systems
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Schmidt is "an innovative company which gives us the opportunity to apply our experience and to expand our know-how."

João Pinto has been working in the area of software development at Aebi Schmidt since 2014. João, who hails from Portugal, previously completed a degree in electrical engineering and information technology in Porto and subsequently gained his initial work experience in Lisbon. It was love which took him to St. Blasien, however, and he convinced the Aebi Schmidt management team in his interview with his know-how and his personality. "I completed an intensive course in German in Freiburg during the company holiday shortly after I moved here, and I have been going to advanced classes ever since. I have been able to count on the support of the company right from the start. This is a company in which no one is another member of staff, but one in which everyone knows everyone else's name. In the Mediterranean countries people can be prejudiced, often describing the German people as serious people who don't like to have fun. When I started working at Aebi Schmidt, I realised that this was all wrong. In our team we have a lot of laughs and the atmosphere is excellent." João Pinto has swapped the blue sea for the green forest. "The countryside here is superb. I find the scenery here to be some of the most beautiful in Europe. The influence of three different countries and the combination between grounded traditions and the vibrant rhythm in the nearby cities such as Zürich and Freiburg is excellent." João Pinto has arrived – both in the Black Forest and with his colleagues. And if he ever suffers from a little home sickness for Portugal he picks up his Portuguese guitar and plays some songs from his former home – with which he recently impressed the Aebi Schmidt team at last year's Christmas party.

Simon Eckert

Foreman (compact sweeping machines, 2 m³)

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Schmidt is "forward looking and stands for great products."

Simon Eckert's workplace is in the centre of the Swingo assembly line in hall 2. From there he has an overview of the production of the compact sweeping machine, and is the personal contact in his team of 28. The trained motor mechanic has been at Schmidt since 2007. "After joining Schmidt, I decided to attend the master school for bodywork and vehicle building in Waldshut and Karlsruhe, during which I received superb support from the company. Before that I worked at a major company in Switzerland. The thing I really like about working at a company like Aebi Schmidt is that it is neither too big nor too small. It's a place where people know each other, including from the different departments, and there is a great feeling of cohesion. Ergonomically adapted workplaces or work clothing which is provided by the company are standard at Aebi Schmidt – something which you don’t find at a lot of companies!" Simon Eckert is also involved in the location-spanning "Fit4Tomorrow" project. In this project, all of the employees have been asked to configure their workplaces so that they can complete their work as flawlessly as possible – time-consuming looking around and long transport journeys and waiting times should be avoided. "As employees we are supported as well as challenged. We are able to and are encouraged to think for ourselves. Schwarzwald meets Hightech is another thing that's true when I think about how much technology our machines contain. This is something we should be proud of. We consistently take on special customer requests and then have to develop an appropriate solution. This makes our work very varied, and it also means my working day simply flies by."