Get to know us better
Which paths lead to the DURAG GROUP? What makes us special? What about the compatibility of career and family? We asked these and other questions to some employees from different positions and areas. In our job portraits you can learn more about the people behind the DURAG GROUP.
Project Manager, Development department, DURAG GmbH, Hamburg location
- 2016 until today: Development engineer with project management
Birte has been working as a development engineer with project management in the Development department since 2016. We asked her about the fascinating work that keeps her busy and the challenges she can sometimes face. Read here about what exactly field tests are and why a typical working day for Birte sometimes means “standing there in neon yellow overalls and a blue hard hat beside a dirty stack in Scotland”.
What brought you to the DURAG GROUP?
The DURAG GROUP first came to Birte’s attention through the recommendation of a former work colleague, who now also works for the DURAG GROUP, and a job ad on a big online job search engine. “I didn’t get the job I originally applied for, but then I received another offer – namely for my current position as a project manager in the Development department.”
What are your current responsibilities?
One of Birte’s jobs is project planning. Project planning is started on the basis of objectives set by product management, which contain technical specifications, commercial requirements and a time schedule.
The first things to be clarified are what needs to be done, when it needs to be done and who does it. A project team is then put together and the individual responsibilities are defined. “My job is a combination of task planning, scheduling and team management.”
In addition to project planning, Birte’s responsibilities also include technical development. “My specialist field is thermodynamics.” The work ranges from flow analysis to prototype construction. “To begin with, we think about the theory, and then we build.” Because not everything can be tested in the laboratory, field tests are also carried out. “In field tests, we set up the product directly at the customer’s location and observe it to see if everything works as expected.”
Another of Birte’s responsibilities is stakeholder management. There are many interfaces with other departments of the company, such as product management, manufacturing or sales. “That’s another thing that makes the job so varied. It never gets boring!”
What does a typical day look like for you?
One constant is the weekly team meeting, where there’s lots of interaction. “It means you’re always up to date and you know what everyone’s up to. It’s where we share news, divide up tasks and discuss things, such as feedback we’ve received from test locations, all of which ultimately leads to implementation. An example of this is the exchange of views with colleagues who are currently working on a component.”
An example of a traditional responsibility is the conduct of tests and analysis of their results. “I have to understand what’s being done in engineering and why.” But for Birte, there’s no such thing as a typical daily routine.
What are your personal highlights and challenges?
“When you can understand and solve a technical problem together with the team, there’s obviously a clear sense of achievement!”
From time to time, on the other hand, the pressure to meet deadlines can also be stressful. For example, when things depend on external providers and you find yourself in the position of having to wait.
According to Birte, you always have to keep an eye out for the technical possibilities and innovations that are out there. “The reason I solve technical challenges is to improve things!”
Why do you particularly like working at the DURAG GROUP and what do you find positive about your work?
From Birte’s point of view, the size of the company and the working atmosphere are ideal. The company is not too big, but big enough so that there’s a structure in place. “If you realize that a process is not ideal, you’ll find people willing to listen to suggestions for improvement. I have the ability to actively shape my job. What with technical progress, looking into new technologies and the relevant training on offer, you’re constantly improving yourself – because it’s not as if the requirements for the technical devices developed by the DURAG GROUP are getting any smaller. The job is very varied, and the range is extreme – anything from meetings with CEOs to a scenario where you’re standing there in neon yellow overalls and a blue hard hat beside a dirty stack in Scotland, trying to make sure the screws don’t fall through the grating. That’s the exciting thing, the breadth of the range.”
Head of the Electronic Series Production and Repairs department, DURAG GmbH, Hamburg location
- 1979: Start of training as an electronics technician for precision engineering
- 1983: Taken on as technician after apprenticeship
- 1987: Head of Flame department (electronic single part production, combustion technology)
- 2015: Head of Electronic Series Production department
- 2019: 40th company anniversary
- 2020: Head of Repairs department
Andreas started his apprenticeship as an electronics technician for precision engineering at the DURAG GROUP in 1979 and has now been with the company for over 40 years. After completing his apprenticeship, he was taken on as a technician and subsequently rose to the position of department manager for electronic series production and repairs. Read here about the milestones in his career and the challenges and highlights of his daily working life.
What were the most important milestones in your career?
“Back then, today’s apprenticeship as an electronics technician for devices and systems was offered in two steps, with your apprenticeship as a mechanic followed by training as an electronics technician.” And this is indeed the way Andreas chose to do it at the DURAG GROUP. After completing his training, he was taken on as a technician and just four years later, Andreas was made head of the Combustion Technology department. “As a young man of 25, that was a lot of responsibility to assume – but it was also formative for the future.”
2019, Andreas celebrated his 40th anniversary with the company: “If I hadn’t felt so comfortable here, well I wouldn’t have stayed on.”
What does your work consist of?
Andreas currently heads up both the Electronic Series Production department, which produces flame monitors and instrumentation for environmental metrology, and the Repairs department, where he is responsible for a team of 40: “When I see potential, I try to nurture it.”
His work includes ensuring that deadlines are met, administrative tasks and the monitoring of material stocks: “My job is to keep production running.” Andreas is also responsible for the continuous improvement and ongoing development of procedures and processes.
What developments have you seen during your time with the DURAG GROUP?
At the beginning, the DURAG GROUP was a medium-sized company with a focus on the German market. Thanks to technological progress, it is now possible to manufacture larger quantities and serve an international market. Compared to today’s possibilities, Andreas says the production of that time was like a “craft shop”.
“Even though change can create resistance, it’s good for a company as long as it becomes part of the culture.”
What are the challenges and highlights for you?
“Alongside training and taking on the running of the department, one of today’s highlights is that we can achieve unit quantities we didn’t even think were possible in the past.”
What makes the DURAG GROUP special for you?
“Every possible effort is made to respond to the needs of employees. I like the fact that the atmosphere has remained so friendly and informal despite the growth we have seen. The technology that goes into DURAG GROUP products is very interesting and innovative.
And last but not least, we build products for environmental protection – products you can stand behind!”
Head of Product Management, DURAG GmbH, Hamburg location
- 2011: Start as a product manager in the field of environment
- 2017: Head of Product Management department
Sarah started as a product manager at the DURAG GROUP in 2011 and has been heading up product management since 2017. Here Sarah tells us about why the DURAG GROUP offers a good work-life balance, what her responsibilities as a department head are and how she manages to combine family and career.
What brought you to the DURAG GROUP?
“It was a colleague at work who first drew my attention to the DURAG GROUP as an employer.” Immediately after the end of her first parental leave, she moved from her previous position as a team leader in Research and Development to Product Management at the DURAG GROUP. “I was pleasantly surprised to be given the opportunity to start on a part-time basis, even though the position was advertised as full-time. After that, increasing my working hours wasn’t a problem.”
What do you do as Head of Product Management?
“Product Management takes care of the planning, management and control of products, from their introduction to their withdrawal from the market. We collect information about the market and our competitors on an ongoing basis and analyze the requirements of our customers. This involves a lot of international travel. Product Management is the driving force behind generating high-yield products from market and customer requirements. You can look at it as the interface between the market and development, defining what future products should be like.”
Sarah’s department also manages technical documentation. It prepares the operating and service manuals for our products. “As department head, I’m also responsible for establishing a general framework that allows my team to do a good job.”
What makes you successful?
“The way I see it, a broad network of contacts and good communication are essential factors in working successfully in product management, as are a talent for organization and the ability to find solutions together.”
How do you manage to combine career and family at the DURAG GROUP?
“Finding the right work-life balance at the DURAG GROUP is relatively easy, because you can reduce or increase your working hours flexibly as required. I worked 30 hours a week when I started at DURAG, then went on to increase my hours. When my second child was born, it was no problem for me to go back to part-time. When the time came, getting back to full-time was also relatively easy.”
What do you particularly like about the DURAG GROUP?
“I see the fact that we’re a medium-sized company as a major advantage, because its flat hierarchies give you the opportunity to implement your own ideas and actively shape the future of the company. There are good chances for advancement and getting ahead. We develop future-proof products that ensure the long-term success of the company.”