What Professionals Say

Professionals at Voith

Boehringer

Tanja Böhringer
Team lead of commercial project management, Voith Hydro

“I can have children and have an active career.”

For Tanja Böhringer, having children and a career go together extremely well. In an interview, the team leader in commercial project management at Voith Hydro and mother of two small children discusses the various challenges and how she masters them.

You’re a manager and the mother of two small children. How do you manage to balance work and Family?
Extremely well, actually! It already worked very well after my first child, a daughter, was born. I work part time and my husband and I share childcare duties. We worked it out so that I go into the office really early and he takes the children to the sitter or daycare. I take care of picking them up in the afternoon. We also have a lot of support from our families and have grown into a well-honed team. Of course it’s always a balancing act between husband, babysitter, family, and daycare. Besides having the right situation in the company, it also required good organization to keep my mind truly free for the job. That required more self discipline, time management, and priority-setting than ever before. Time is simply a limited resource. And of course when a child is sick or teething and the nights don’t go so well, it’s also more difficult. But overall the positive outweighs the negative. For me, that means I can have children and an active career.

That sounds like real enthusiasm for your job. . .
Absolutely! I’m a mother with all my heart and at the same time my job is also important to me. I earned a degree and built a career. I want to continue building that career. And as a team leader in commercial project management at Voith Hydro, I have a job that really excites me.

What exactly are your tasks and responsibilities?
I lead a team of up to nine employees. That means I’m responsible for technical and supervisory management. Our team has full responsibility for all the commercial aspects of generating offers and processing orders for electromechanical equipment for hydroelectric plants – specifically in Africa, Europe, and some in India and Asia. That means we take care of financial and legal issues, insurance aspects, cash matters, and setting up the payment conditions. Then we provide commercial support of the projects during contract fulfillment. We are the customer contact for commercial issues. So what I do is innovative, multifaceted, and extremely exciting – especially for me as a business economist. Production is always customized to customer requirements – it’s not series production.

How does Voith help you maintain work/life balance?
In several ways. For one thing, my job can be done part time, in combination with flexible working hours. I have great deal of support and respect from my superiors and from my team. As a team leader, I do have certain times that I need to be in the office for my employees. From the very beginning, I stated very clearly what times I would be on site. If something should happen outside those hours, I can always be reached by cell phone. One exception is in the evening before my children go to bed. Because they’re still very small, it’s important to me to have one or two hours quality time with them, time that I devote exclusively to them. Then I don’t answer the cell phone, for example. And that works very well. My employees and superiors handle it well. They call only when something is really urgent. Being able to work from home is also extremely helpful. For emergencies, Voith provides a parent-child room, a separate office so you can bring your child along on occasion. I haven’t had to use that so far. But it helps to know that it’s there if I need it. Voith also provides childcare in its “Kindervilla” kindergarten and its “Kinderwelt” daycare, with extremely flexible hours that are great help to families. Due to logistics, I ultimately placed my daughter in daycare where I live and my son with a sitter. I would also like to add that men can easily take parental leave at Voith. That has changed somewhat in the company over the years.

What advice would you offer young women?
The fact is that every woman must find her own path. I have found mine. What I have found very helpful is clear communication. I expressed my ideas and sought agreement. So my superiors and my team had an opportunity to consider my point of view and, together with me, find a way that works for everyone. I also think that it’s important to work out with your partner early on how family responsibilities will be shared to enable both of you to pursue your career goals. And my children benefit from my working. Their mom is just more balanced!

Thank you, Ms. Böhringer, and we wish you continued success and happiness.

Voith 

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Working at Voith

What Professionals Say

“Commissioning is exciting and a super stepping stone!”

Travel and getting to know faraway lands – Sebastian Bläsing always wanted to do that. Even as a student, the engineer knew Voith as a pioneer in the paper industry and an attractive employer. His work as a commissioning engineer for Voith Paper combined all his preferences – and turned out to be an optimal career start. In the interview, he told about his experiences.

 

You worked for the last eight years as a commissioning engineer for Voith Paper: What exactly did you do?


Commissioning is the link between machine building and production. It comes into play as soon as the machine is mechanically and electrically installed. The commissioning engineer starts with the inspection: Do all the interlocks and safety functions work? That's important to prevent possible damage to the machines through incorrect operation. Are all reference dimensions correct? Do the motors rotate correctly? Does the installation agree with the machine builder's plans? This is tested for individual machine components – then for the assembly, and finally for the complete production line. If everything is OK, production starts and optimization of the machines begins.

In addition, commissioning includes instructing and training the employees who will operate the machine in the future. It can also include initial support of production and technological optimization of the paper quality, depending on the order situation. As head of commissioning, I also planned all the sequences and coordinated subcontractors and interfaces.

 

That sounds like a lot of work on site when commissioning. . .

Yes, that's true – the life of a commissioning engineer mainly plays out at the construction site. About 70 to 80 percent international travel is the rule. I found that very attractive! I worked on projects throughout the world: a lot in Asia, especially China, Korea, India, but also on European projects in Sweden, Great Britain, Russia and the Czech Republic. In my eight years as a commissioning engineer, I placed many machines in operation worldwide. That's just super exciting and full of variety: For customers, it's mostly a huge innovation leap – a complete new plant isn't placed in operation every day, but only every few years. It amazes me how these relatively large machines can, in a very complex process, make a product as delicate as paper!

"Contribute some passion to the job, and be sincere, honest, and responsible. In commissioning, we need team players who work conscientiously and solve Problems."
And I was able to gain a lot of experience in an extremely short time and take on responsibility relatively quickly. Finally, many colleagues from a wide variety of functional areas, and usually from many nations, work together to commission a medium-sized plant. At my last construction site, the international team came from eight different nations. That's very interesting and, at the same time, challenging. And it's perfect for developing soft skills, teamwork and problem-solving abilities. In commissioning, everything ultimately has to work properly: Every screw has to sit properly, and everyone has responsibility!

 

Is commissioning a good way to start a career?

Commissioning is exciting and a super stepping stone! I knew that right from the start. I learned an incredible amount during my time as a commissioning engineer. The knowledge and experience I gained provide an optimal foundation for my own further development. And Voith offers numerous attractive and promising positions and opportunities for development.

 

How and where can you now contribute your experience from commissioning?

Sebastian Bläsing: Since the start of the year, I've been working in process technology at Voith Paper. As the product manager for board machines, I work together with customers from throughout the world to develop concepts for new plants or advise them on conversion or optimization of existing plants. That means, I can contribute all my knowledge and practical experience with the machines to the fullest extent. I also use my coordination and communication skills every day. And I don't have to give up traveling completely: I still visit construction sites or customers' plants, for optimization assignments or meetings, for example - but only for shorter periods of time.

 

Thank you, Mr. Bläsing, and we wish you continued success!

Marcelo Tavares
Researcher at Voith Hydro, Electrical Engineering 

My name is Marcelo Tavares. I work in the central technical department of Voith Hydro as a researcher. My special field is the electro-magnetic configuration of hydropower generators, especially for large hydro power stations such as Itaipu (Brazil/Paraguay) and Three Gorges (China). With a diameter of approximately 20 meters and a height of 4 meters, these hydro power generators are currently the largest in the world. My major objective is an optimized generator design – with reduced costs and improved outputs. This is why I would like to integrate analytical calculations and detailed finite element simulations. The basis for this are 2-D or 3-D CAD models. I find it incredibly exciting to enter this new research field. The complex correlation between various areas of physics, electro-magnetics, mechanics and flow dynamics never ceases to fascinate me.

Maresa Schill
HR Executive at Voith Turbo

My name is Maresa Schill and I have been working part-time as an HR officer at Voith Turbo. Among my tasks are application management and administration, as well as HR services. Through Voith I was given the opportunity to consolidate family and work. During my maternity leave from my previous employer I was able to start at Voith in April last year as an assistant on two mornings on an EUR 400-basis. In this way, Voith got to know me and I got to know Voith. Since the beginning of this year I have been in permanent employment and work 20 hours per week. Here, too, Voith was very accommodating and allowed me to choose how to distribute these working hours. I feel very much at home at Voith and would also like to point out that I get every support from my managers and my colleagues.

Harald Heß
Strategic Buyer at Voith Paper

My name is Harald Heß and I have studied process technology at Karlsruhe University. I have been working at Voith Paper for 27 years. Voith Paper supplies plants, individual machines and production processes for a wide variety of paper grades, for example graphic papers, board and packaging papers and special or hygienic papers. During the paper manufacturing process you can encounter all classic disciplines of process technology, starting from mechanical and thermal to biotechnology.


"I am pleased to be able to work in a company that offers such a broad range of activities."

I am very grateful that my job has given me an opportunity to look into nearly all sections of paper making. As a result I could expand my know-how continuously. This know-how and understanding of the entire paper production process is very useful for my daily job and makes working for Voith very interesting.

I started out at Sulzer Escher Wyss as a design engineer for calender technology. Afterwards I was given tasks in the sheet formation and drying department. After the merger of Sulzer Escher Wyss and Voith I joined the coating technology section. During the coating process, the surface of the paper is specially refined. I closed the process technology circle when I was offered a position in the stock preparation department. Here, machines and concepts are developed for processing stock for web formation on the paper machine.

Voith does a lot for the professional and personal development of its staff. In various management positions I always wanted to utilize the power and the synergy potential of the team, in order to achieve our goals. Today I am working in the strategic purchasing department of Voith Paper, where I am in charge of value analysis and design-to-cost activities for the optimization or our products. Here, too, the cooperation of a cross-functional team is the key factor for success. And therefore, I look forward to new and exciting tasks at Voith every single day.

Martina Schneider
HR Project Manager at Voith Paper 

My name is Martina Schneider. I joined the Voith Group in 2002 completing a three years dual Bachelor study program of business administration in Heidenheim / Germany. During this time, I have discovered my passion for human resources - which is still unbroken to this very day. Since then, I have been working in different European and global HR positions before getting the chance to start my international assignment for Voith Paper China in 2011. Based in Kunshan / Jiangsu province, I am now supporting the 'Build up China' project and other personnel-related initiatives of Voith Paper in Asia as HR project manager.

"I enjoy every
working day at Voith."

I enjoy every working day at Voith - a globally successful company providing an intercultural, cooperative working climate based on trust, fairness and reliability with huge development opportunities in a fascinating business environment all over the world.

Sebastian Neumeister
Controlling of Overseas Subsidiaries of Voith Turbo

I am Sebastian Neumeister and I am in charge of controlling the overseas subsidiaries of Voith Turbo. In my position as team manager I coordinate corporate planning with my colleagues, as well as the monthly reporting and controlling reports of all Voith Turbo overseas subsidiaries. This information is then consolidated and presented to the management for project steering and sustainable decision-making.

The ideal way for me to enter Voith was the international trainee program. This gave me an opportunity to intensify my knowledge in the field of controlling in a wide range of Voith Business Divisions, both directly and also specifically. Carrying out interesting commercial projects, I was able to gain a closer insight into the Group Divisions Voith Turbo, Voith Paper and Voith Hydro. Highlights of the program were an overseas assignment for Voith Paper in North America, where I was asked to uncover potentials in the procurement organization, followed by a posting to Austria, where I was responsible for the integration of a newly acquired company.

For me Voith as one of Germany's largest family-owned companies is especially fascinating, because here entrepreneurial responsibility and sustainability are not only valued, but actively applied. I can feel this every day in my team, my work and in the cooperation with Voithians from all over the world.