Top jobs at TZM

Steinbeis Transfer Center named one of the best employers in 2011

The best employers in Germany are awarded the Top Job Award in a national comparison of companies carried out by compamedia GmbH. As part of the assessment, the University of St. Gallen interviewed employees at the Steinbeis Transfer Center for Microelectronics in May 2010 and evaluated its HR management. The result: In January the center was awarded the “Top Job” seal of quality in Duisburg from the project mentor Wolfgang Clement, a former Federal Minister of Economics and Labour. The award places the TZM among the leading employers in Germany.

The TZM Steinbeis Transfer Center offers engineering services and software development to the automotive industry and the medical engineering sector – two leading, forward-looking industries. As a result, the center’s managers are prepared to invest more than the average business in the personal and professional development of staff: “Employee expertise is key to the success of the company, especially when you’re developing new products,” explains Sandra Welter, head of HR.

As a supplier of development services, the Göppingen-based company is keen to maintain its course of systematic growth. “But not at any price,” emphasizes Welter. “Soft factors shouldn’t be ignored. ” The company also wants to position itself using this philosophy in the future – a vision that is also lived out by senior management. For example, the management approach centers on results, and this is reflected in instruments such as its annual reviews with staff. Each year, the performance of every employee is assessed based on 18 criteria. The reviews also include feedback from co-workers and customers.

With her team, Prof. Dr. Heike Bruch at St. Gallen University’s Institute for Management and HR Management researched the practices of 169 HR departments at medium- sized enterprises throughout Germany, across a spectrum of industries. The top 72 are awarded the Top Job seal of quality for one year only.

“The award is based on the opinions of our employees, so we’re quite proud,” says Welter. “Also, we now know what staff think of the working atmosphere. It’s important for us to know this so we can move forward as a good employer and introduce the right measures.”

Burnout and our exhausted society

An evening sharing ideas in Herrenberg

More than 100 people came to Herrenberg to attend an information event organized by the Steinbeis Consulting Center for Operational Health Management, Dr. Jürgen Bauer, and the Herrenberg and Gäumed Health Network. The topics for the evening were burnout and burnout prevention, as well as the question “What’s the best way to tackle everyday challenges with energy, humor and enthusiasm?”

This question was addressed in the speech held by Dr. Carsten Till, whose specialties are internal medicine, psychotherapy and business administration. Till has been the Chief Physician at the AHG Clinic in Hardberg since 1999. His credo: deceleration, and approaching yourself and your strengths and weaknesses with humor and understanding. Dr. Till started his talk with some sobering statistics. One third of all employees say they are subject to “major mental stress”; more than two thirds have “general psychological and psychosomatic symptoms.” The cost to society of poor health – which manifests itself in productivity losses, medical care, therapy, sick pay and pension payments – is astronomical. Till, who has four children and two different jobs in two clinics – and thus plenty of personal experience in juggling priorities – focused in his talk on the issue of how to achieve “an enjoyable and creative equilibrium in life, even in trying times.”

Till’s recommendations:

  • Balance your daily routine and commitments by spending time in nature. Being in natural surroundings helps you remember what’s important and what isn’t, and approach day-to-day activities appropriately – which also helps in setting priorities.
  • Sometimes it’s worth spending less time focusing on things around you and more time focusing on yourself, your values, tendencies and expectations.
  • Always try to keep a balance between work obligations and personal priorities.
  • Aim for a balance between giving and taking. • Make a distinction between things that cannot be changed and problems for which there is a solution.
  • Dr. Till recommends that perfectionists should still be satisfied if they achieve 65 to 75% of their aims.
  • Mistakes should be seen as a vehicle to learn and to develop new ways of looking at things and new possible solutions.
  • Seeking experiences and people beyond your usual circle of the familiar can be sensible and enriching, and help you see things from new perspectives.
  • Employers should look for staff not just with the right skills, but also with values that match the value set of the business and employees. Goals must be clearly laid down by senior management. At the same time, these must allow for a suitable amount of leeway, so that staff can largely decide themselves how they implement or achieve set targets.

The evening provided plenty of food for thought on self-development, as well as contact details for therapists and specialists. Copies of Carsten Till’s speech can be obtained via email by contacting the Steinbeis Consulting Center for Operational Health Management.

Female Ambassadors for female entrepreneurship

Steinbeis-Europa-Zentrum encourages more women to set up companies

Become a female ambassador for female entrepreneurs, give support to women entrepreneurs, and share personal experiences – these are the goals of a women’s ambassador network spanning the whole of Germany. The network was set up by Steinbeis-Europa-Zentrum (SEZ).

“We’d like to encourage women to assume more responsibility and take the initiative. Female ambassadors will play a key role by sharing experiences and providing inspiration,” says Dr. Petra Püchner, director of the Stuttgart-based Steinbeis-Europa-Zentrum. Successful female entrepreneurs have been recruited in similar networks across Europe as ambassadors for the initiative. Their work includes visiting schools, universities and events and encouraging girls and women to consider an entrepreneurial career.

Ambassadors have varied backgrounds and qualifications. By sharing their stories and recounting actual experiences they can instill tremendous enthusiasm. The SEZ has already recruited 64 female ambassadors for the German network, across 13 federal states. All ambassadors have the official title “Ambassador of the European Network of Female Entrepreneurship Ambassadors.”

The initiative started in August 2009. In December 2010 Sabine Laruelle, the Belgian Minister for the Economy, the Self-Employed and Agriculture, and Antonio Tajani, Vice- President of the European Commission, invited over 200 female business representatives from 20 countries to a European networking meeting in Brussels. This included ten ambassadors from Germany. The notion of female entrepreneurs motivating other women and encouraging them to forge a career by setting up a business was first launched in the UK and Sweden. In Germany, the network receives 50/50 funding for two years from the European Commission and the Federal Ministry of Education and Research. Handwerk International Baden-Württemberg and EIC Trier GmbH are also partnering the initiative. Steinbeis-Europa- Zentrum’s role is to coordinate the network and manage contacts with sister networks in Europe.


Dr. Petra Püchner
Tracey French

Steinbeis-Europa-Zentrum Stuttgart

An award-winning exhibition

The 2011 iF communication design award goes to the i/i/d

The Steinbeis Transfer Center i/i/d (Institute of Integrated Design) has been awarded the highly cherished 2011 iF communication design award for its “Silent stars – extreme materials in extreme applications” exhibition. The i/i/d won the award on account of the exhibition’s overall concept, design and execution. The exhibition was commissioned by Bremen Economic Development and held in the Wilhelm Wagenfeld Haus in Bremen.

The exhibition presented and celebrated special materials with outstanding properties which often go unnoticed, but without which many innovative, brilliantly designed products could never exist. The exhibition was warmly received by experts, businesses and the general public. In total, over 120 products were exhibited: from everyday life, healthcare, industry, manufacturing, sport and leisure, and transport. The exhibition was structured in categories of opposed qualities, such as “light+heavy”, “hot+cold” or “hard+soft”.

The exhibits were presented on free-shaped, modular combined polyhedrons. A red safety rope created a second information level with detailed background knowledge and lead the visitors through the exhibition. The objects were supposed to be touched and tested – a hands-on experience.

Outstanding achievements

Steinbeis Prize awarded to student from Ravensburg

In the 2010/2011 winter semester, the Steinbeis Transfer Center for Corrosion and Corrosion Prevention at Ravensburg-Weingarten University of Applied Sciences awarded its very first Steinbeis Prize. Worth 500 euros, the prize recognizes outstanding achievements and degree results of students and graduates in mechanical engineering. The first winner is Huriye Cengiz.

The prize rewards above-average performance by students and graduates. This was certainly the case with to Huriye Cengiz, who wrote her master’s thesis for her sponsoring company ZF Friedrichshafen on the subject of “The suitability of nitrocarburizing as a substitution method for the case-hardening of warp-critical components”. Cengiz familiarized herself intensively with the heat treatment of modern steel materials, and was extremely disciplined in pursuing her master’s degree, which was completed within schedule in an exemplary fashion. A major factor towards Cengiz winning the prize was also the interplay in her thesis between scientific theory and industrial application – an aim around 800 enterprises in the Steinbeis Network adhere to.

The prize is designed to provide an incentive to all students at the university. Its awarding is deciding by a committee consisting of the dean of mechanical engineering, the director of the Steinbeis Transfer Center for Corrosion and Corrosion Prevention and the vice dean of the faculty. The Steinbeis Transfer Center for Corrosion and Corrosion Prevention was founded in 1996. The services it provides include materials analysis, examining coatings, and wear testing.

High accolade for Saarbrücken materials researcher

Head of Steinbeis Research Center becomes honorary member of Alpha Sigma Mu

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Frank Mücklich, a Saarbrücken-based materials researcher and head of the Steinbeis Research Center Material Engineering Center Saarland (MECS), has been admitted into Alpha Sigma Mu, a US-based professional honor society for materials science and engineering. The Greek letters stand for Art and Science of Materials. The society only recently opened its doors to international members and Frank Mücklich is the first German scientist to receive this honor.

Alpha Sigma Mu was founded at the University of Michigan in 1932 and is represented at all large universities in the United States. The society’s aim is to promote outstanding research and strengthen the international materials science network.

Frank Mücklich has been Professor for Functional Materials at Saarland University since 1995. Two years ago, he also founded the Steinbeis Research Center called Material Engineering Center Saarland (MECS), which he still heads up. Professor Mücklich’s admittance into Alpha Sigma Mu is in recognition not only of the quality of his research, but also his commitment to the next generation of academics. Two years ago, he founded the European School of Materials (Eusmat), which coordinates and publicizes a variety of international materials science and engineering degrees at Saarland University. Professor Mücklich also established the junior degree program at Saarland University, which gives talented young people a taste of university life before they graduate from high school.

One of Mücklich’s main research interests is nanotomography, which makes it possible to examine the inside of materials extremely precisely. The material researchers at Saarland University want to use the findings from nanatomography to develop new materials which are impervious to brief periods of extreme heat. Another of Professor Mücklich’s main research interests is laser interference technology. In this, laser beams generate three-dimensional microscopic models of materials and change the inner structure of a very thin layer of the surface. This reduces surface friction, making materials less susceptible to wear, for instance. This technology has important applications for a variety of components, including those used in microelectromechanical systems, the automotive industry and engineering. Professor Mücklich has already received a number of significant accolades in the past, including the Alfried Krupp Award, worth € 1 million.

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