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An idea goes forward

25 years of TQU

The Steinbeis Network’s TQU has been involved in setting up and implementing management systems for a quarter of a century. These days, the focus lies in offering customers a comprehensive service portfolio, which allows companies and employees to tackle and overcome future challenges.

This isn’t just about developing strategies and business concepts, but actually applying them to business scenarios. The team of experts at TQU Group sticks to its fundamental principle: working closely with people, walking the road to skills and know-how development with them, and offering customers a comprehensive service package. This includes everything from support with strategy development, strategy implementation, shaping organizational structures, product development, optimizing business and technical processes, and, most importantly, HR development. All this is designed to help companies help themselves in a five-pronged process for engineering, operational, organizational, personal and business excellence.

The TQU Group places particular emphasis on the original ideas of its founder, Professor Jürgen P. Bläsing. In carrying these further, and continuing to provide customer-oriented development strategies, TQU opens up new avenues to people and companies based on solid, well-founded business practice. At the 25-year anniversary celebrations held last summer in Ulm, this idea was highlighted not only in the reference projects presented, but also in subsequent discussion with customers, business partners and employees, as well as in the opening and key note speeches given.

The TQU Group, established out of the Steinbeis Transfer Center TQU Quality and Environment, is directed by Helmut Bayer and pulls together the services of consulting, support, continuing professional development, information and certification – thus providing customers with a value-added umbrella under which they can draw on standard or tailor-made solutions aimed at addressing the complexities of organizations, structures and globalization. All this is done with an emphasis on customer benefit.

Training – with a difference

SHB certification course on professional speaking

Job applications, vocational college, part-time studies, overdrafts, afternoon meet-ups with friends – people associate many different things with “training” and “studying.” But what’s an “apprentice whisperer?” The term came up during a certification course on professional speaking which is jointly organized by the German Speakers Association and Steinbeis University Berlin (SHB). The course participants and the exam commission are now very familiar with the term. 

Where did they learn the term? Simple: In a speech given during their own final examinations. They were witnessing a captivating talk given by Sabine Bleumortier called “From dog trainer to apprentice whisperer.” Ever since then, they all know what apprentice whisperers are and what they do differently from normal instructors!

The story told in her keynote speech is a tale of personal development and success. It was just over a year ago that Bleumortier, a personal trainer and consultant, decided to train as a professional speaker and take the SHB certification course. Already wellestablished in the training and seminar market, she had been gravitating towards public speaking and a career on the stage. She was determined to explore uncharted territory and enter new business fields.

And why did she choose the SHB course? “The training you receive on this course is totally unique. During the training, we learned from some of the best public speakers in Germany, and really benefited from their specialist expertise. My performance has improved tremendously. It’s a real honor to think that I was the best on the course,” states Bleumortier. Markus Hofmann, director of the Steinbeis Transfer Institute “Professional Speaker GSA,” shares her enthusiasm: “Sabine Bleumortier’s personal development was brilliant. Her presence is magnificent. But I’d also like to extend my compliments to everyone on the course for their commitment and professionalism.”

The professional speaking course was launched in 2010. The first round of 16 graduates already passed their exams by the beginning of September. They were awarded their certificates as part of a formal ceremony at a “Black & White” gala evening at this year’s GSA convention. 

Certification Course Professional Speaking

The course is targeted at personal trainers who would like to qualify as public speakers, as well as managers aiming to build on and improve their rhetorical skills. A variety of leading lecturers share their expertise on the course, paving the way for a career in public speaking.

Inspiring people for education!

Steinbeis Business Academy celebrates 10 years

… in keeping with this thought, the Steinbeis Business Academy (SBA) at Steinbeis University Berlin (SHB), has now been successfully running continuing professional development programs for 10 years. Around 2,000 students are currently enrolled on SBA courses. 1,400 graduate alumni have picked up essential career skills at the SBA.

The founders of the SBA, Birgit Gaida and Professor Dr. Peter Dohm, were quick to recognize the need among specialists and managers for continuing professional education; at first in the social sector, and soon after this within small and medium-sized enterprises. The SBA had already subscribed heavily to the newly developed SHB concept of “project skills,” which to this day provides a perfect basis for targeted employee training by blending degree-level education with full-time work. The SBA now collaborates with a variety of SMEs and larger companies, who not only provide projects for the project skills degrees but also employ the students. The synergies created by “triangular” project work – involving companies, students and supervisors at the SBA – as well as the importance of developing skills professionally, were reflected at a ceremony held in Gernsbach in October to mark the SBA’s 10th anniversary. The speeches and the discussions that followed underscored the model’s ability to inspire people to learn new skills.

A key success factor at the SBA has always been its focus on collaboration and leveraging resulting synergies. A number of programs, although fairly niche in nature, run successfully with a small number of participants. The SBA fares excellently on a national level and is firmly established. Its aim, now, is to look beyond the borders of Germany and one priority will be to offer training programs targeted at specific countries. For example, the SBA is already working closely with the Lebanese German University (LGU) in Beirut on an executive degree for full-time employees in Lebanon, focusing on business administration. 

The Institute for Management in Health and Social Administrations was founded under the leadership of Prof. Dr. Peter Dohm

in 2001 with the aim of offering bachelor degrees for people working in the health sector. Within a year, the concept had been extended to commercial fields. Under the new Institute of Management & Business, in-depth modules were now offered in international marketing and international and European law. Master’s degrees and MBAs were first offered in 2003. Shortly after that, the Steinbeis Business Academy umbrella brand was launched, providing a common platform for both institutes. In the years that followed, offices were opened in Stuttgart and Stockach. In 2009, the SBA announced its first international university collaboration. Since then, the SBA has worked in a variety of interdisciplinary fields with Royal Roads University on Vancouver Island, Canada.

Sponsoring talented students at Magdeburg University

Steinbeis Transfer Center bestows award to successful students

The Steinbeis Research Center for Electrical Networks and Regenerative Energy Sources and the Department of Electrical Engineering and Information Technology at Otto-von-Guericke University in Magdeburg bestowed an award in the 2011 summer semester for the best exam grades in the previous winter semester.

The aim of the award is to reward the most talented students and raise the appeal of studying at the department to the outside world. From the many applicants, the student chosen to be awarded the prize was Robert Renner (29). Renner successfully completed his engineering degree at Bielefeld University of Applied Sciences in 2010, majoring in electrical engineering (in the field of regenerative power generation).

He wrote his diploma on the subject of “Assessing Network Conditions in the Operational Management of Electrical Energy Networks” during an internship at Dutrain. Since October 2010, Renner has being studying for his master’s degree in “Electrical Energy Systems – Renewable Energy” at Otto- von-Guericke University in Magdeburg. His research centers on the use of electric vehicles as mobile storage units in electricity networks and the optimum use of HVDC power transmission. Renner is also a volunteer for the local IEEE Student Branch at the university.

All students reading “Electrical Energy Systems – Renewable Energy” at the university are eligible to apply for the award. The award commission comprises Prof. Andreas Lindemann, the head of the department of Electrical Engineering and Information Technology, Prof. Zbigniew Antoni Styczynski, director of the Steinbeis Research Center, and two scientific assistants at the Institute of Electrical Energy Systems.

Cross of Merit for Horst-Dieter Westerhoff

Honor for outstanding service

Prof. Dr. Horst-Dieter Westerhoff, Professor of Political Economics and Professor at Steinbeis University Berlin (SHB), has been awarded the Verdienstkreuz am Bande (Knight’s Cross) of the Federal Republic of Germany. The honor was bestowed by the German President, Christian Wulff, in acknowledgement of Westerhoff’s many years of outstanding service to academia, economic policy and economic structure. The Order of Merit is the only general award of merit in Germany and the highest mark of esteem that can be awarded for services to the common good.

Horst-Dieter Westerhoff is Director of the Steinbeis Transfer Institute of Politics and Economic Management. Since 2004, he has been the honorary chairman and a member of the advisory board of the Steinbeis Transfer Institute of Risk and Fraud Management at the SHB. Before entering teaching, Westerhoff worked for the Federal Chancellery from 1989 to 2006 where his last position was Group Head of Social Policy. Since 2001, Westerhoff has also been the Managing Director of the Berlin-based association “Gesellschaft zum Studium strukturpolitischer Fragen e. V.” (“Society for the Study of Structural Policy Issues“). In 1999, he was appointed Honorary Professor at the University of Duisburg- Essen.

Westerhoff is also a member of the teaching staff at School of Banking in Poland. As a supervisory board member of InGeoForum, he also promotes collaboration between research bodies, universities, business and associations, with the aim of putting geodata to innovative use in both the public and private sector. 

Taking an exact view of materials research in Saarbrücken

Atom probe tomography lab opened

Materials may have to put up with a lot of wear and tear, but sometimes they actually do wear. For example, every time an electric switch is flicked, an extremely hot spark is created, discharging highly concentrated energy in an area measuring only thousandths of a millimeter. The microscopic damage this causes, which is frequently only at the atomic scale, can now be observed using new technology. A laboratory has been set up at Saarland University to carry out atom probe tomography (APT). The lab was opened in November by Prof. Dr. Frank Mücklich, professor of functional materials at Saar University and director of the MECS Steinbeis Research Center (Material Engineering Center Saarland).

Whether materials become softer or more malleable during processing, or have smooth surfaces with low frictional loss, depends on the actual substances they consist of and their structures. “To make the often complex geometry of a material more visible, a variety of new techniques have now been developed. Not only can we chemically analyze materials to see which atoms they contain, we can even illustrate the lattice structures of crystals and show the nanostructures that are formed out of them,” explains Mücklich. The new APT technique even makes it possible to look into the very heart of materials and determine the spatial positioning of atoms. “With the insights this provides, we can optimize existing materials and develop completely new materials,” states Frank Mücklich.

The new laboratory, located at the Steinbeis Research Center for Material Engineering in Saarland; is now equipped with the world’s leading full-size atom probe for carrying out material tomography. Produced by CAMECA ™, an American based company, the Local Electrode Atom Probe (LEAP) instrument was funded with the support of the German Research Foundation. It supplements the 2D and 3D analysis equipment already installed in laboratories on the campus. Nano-scale tomography produces similar images to those produced by computer tomography used in medical fields. The difference is that the material being examined is not radiographed. Instead, atoms are field evaporated as ions from a sharp needle-shaped sample by the application of high voltage fields. The flying ions are then collected by a position sensitive detector, where the position of each ion impact is used to build a virtual 3D reconstruction representing the evaporated volume from the sample. 

Sharing gifts and supporting social causes

Web-based platform to support social projects

One of the core activities of the Strategy & Innovation Steinbeis Consulting Center (SCC) is to support innovative projects in trade and industry. The SCC has recently launched Herzflair.de, a website which supports social causes in different areas of Germany by selling premium gifts and event vouchers.

In the run-up to Christmas, there is a greater tendency to want to help people in need. But charities also need support at other times of the year, especially local charities, which generally do not occupy the limelight as much as the big ones. Many clubs and social initiatives offer wide-ranging support to give hope to people who have hit on hard times. Most work is unpaid or on a voluntary basis. To provide as many people as possible with grassroots support, these social causes need financial backing.

It was this thought that fuelled the concept behind the Herzflair.de website – to combine helping others with the trend toward online shopping. The online outlet for specialty gifts makes a fixed donation to local charities for every article sold. Next to the price of each item are the proceeds that go to charity. These are already included in the sale price, without surcharge. Herzflair.de automatically channels proceeds to charity after each sale. This way, customers can support the work of charities without paying an extra fee. To make sure people also get to hear about the kind actions of others, each gift comes with a tag about the donation and the project being supported. The buyers decide which charity the gift proceeds should go toward. They can even suggest new charities, beyond those social causes already checked by Herzflair.de.

The Steinbeis center also places emphasis on which products are sold. The range includes products specially designed by artists from Germany and England, as well as gifts and decorative items produced in social enterprises, which are produced to a very high standard. Jewelry and event vouchers are also sold, as well as a variety of interesting gift ideas that offer a little something different, and make a difference to others. 

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