Prof. Dr.-Ing. Hans Joachim Förster (1916-2012) was Chairman of the Board of Trustees from 1982 to 1991, and his tireless efforts played an important part in shaping the foundation in its early years.
Hans Joachim Förster was born in Wrocław on May 19, 1916. In 1935 he finished school with a German Abitur and joined the Luftwaffe. In 1938 he went to Karlsruhe University of Applied Sciences to study mechanical engineering. Förster was called up for service by the Luftwaffe but was still able to complete his studies, culminating in a distinction in 1941.
In 1942, he was appointed by Daimler-Benz to work in Stuttgart and after returning from a prisoner-of-war camp, Förster worked in the development department at Daimler, where he subsequently assumed responsibility for the development of automatic transmissions and power steering – fields Förster would commit his entire working life to. In 1967 he was made responsible for the measurement center, and in 1969 he was given overall responsibility for research. By 1983, he had been made a director of the company before entering retirement.
In parallel to his successful career in industry, Förster continually pursued his academic and scientific interests. In 1952, he earned a doctorate at Karlsruhe University of Applied Sciences after writing a thesis on “Föttinger transmissions in power splits.” It was at the same university that Förster qualified as a professor after conducting research into the conversion ranges and gradations of vehicle transmissions. In 1965, he started lecturing in power transmission technology and in 1970 he was appointed as an adjunct professor at the university. Förster was passionate about a wide variety of topics and this was reflected in his many lectures and publications. He was also a member of a large number of committees.