Retirement yes, but not retired
For 42 years he has been loyal to the company Krah. Now the passionate design engineer Wolfgang Schneider has gone into retirement. We interviewed him about his time at the Krah company.
Clear brew, a thundering Corvette and a “Mahlzeit” (German salutation for every day situations; literally translated “meal”) any time of day. If you mention these words every employee of Krah knows we’re talking about Wolfgang. For the past 4 dcades there has always been a loud roaring when Wolfgang drove onto the car park of Krah. One of his passions are cars, preferably old and special…or especially loud.
However,since February it has been more silent in front of the company building. On January 31st at 5 p.m. Wolfgang clicked “shut down” for the last time ever on his computer. A last soup from the automat in the kitchen, a last chat with colleagues and Wolfgang ends 42 years of working at Krah.
“I’m feeling good”, he says while walking over the car park which he has crossed thousands of times. “I’m looking forward to what comes next.”
He was very delighted about the farewell party which had been organized by his colleagues, with lots of presents some days before. “A personal highlight was a treasure chest from aluminium, made in the tool manufacture, with brass inserts to slide it open. Engraved were some figures which represented my 42 years at Krah. When I opened the chest there was a Krugerrand anniversary edition from 2017 from fine gold, a troy ounce. That was a successful surprise for my goodbye into retirement.“
Wolfgang Schneider is a primary rock of Krah. When Karl-Heinz Krah wanted to get him for his company “Werkzeug-&Vorrichtungsbau” in 1975 Wolfgang didn’t hesitate and accepted a job as tool manufacturer.
“A decision I have never regretted”, says 63-year-old Wolfgang. “Since I can think I liked to build things and felt gravitated to technical things. In my childhood I had always wished for an electric motor.” No wonder he describes the tasks in the company more as ‘hobby’ than work.
Karl-Heinz Krah spotted this excitement for technical things and offered him a job as design engineer only a few years later. Initially he was responsible for drawing Bihler tools. His tasks changed when Krah pursued increasingly to special machine construction and finally sold the complete Bihler area.
A highlight in his career was the decisive contribution to the development of the first gravity pipe machine in 2003/2004.
Back then there was lots to fiddle. For a tinkerer like him this was a great challenge.
He described his work as “goal-oriented”. “When the things you constructed worked in the end you were happy”, says Wolfgang. “As design engineer you work for goals, not tasks.” These results are known to many Krah customers all over the world. However, Wolfgang himself is only known by very few customers. His “territory” was always the engineering office in the Westerwald. According to Wolfgang he feels way more comfortable in his office with drawing board and measurement chart than being on a business trip abroad. Still today he remembers one of the few business trips with beads of sweat on his forehead. He had almost missed his flight back then. “I almost got stuck in Russia. That was nothing for me”. He always felt very homey at Krah. “Otherwise I wouldn’t have stayed for that long. I turned my hobby into a career. A great time!”, so Wolfgang.
He now is one of almost 21 Mio. pensioners in Germany. But he surely isn’t afraid of boredom. His answer to the question what he will miss most he smiles and says “Actually nothing. I have worked for 47.5 years now and have never been ill for a long time. I now have more time for my other hobbies.” He will continue crafting and building, especially on his home theatre audio system. But what he is most looking forward to are long trips with his Corvette and meetings with other car-fans. And if he’ll drive past KRAH during one of his tours, he will be happy to stop by and have a chat with his old colleagues.