Project engineer at HBPO: Good ideas need clever brains!

It’s not just the frontend modules that are unique at our company. Steffen, 31, is talented, ambitious and full of ideas – a real tinkerer! Steffen has been part of our HBPO family since he trained to be a technical draughtsman – this started 2006!

Steffen, how did you arrive at HBPO in the first place?

I joined HBPO by chance. I had wanted to work as a technical draughtsman for quite some time, but originally I started work for a different company. I started my training at our parent company, Hella KGaA, in Paderborn. A large reshuffle took place during the first year of my training. Since the tool shop could no longer employ any technical draughtsmen at this point, it was decided to see if there were any openings elsewhere in the Hella Group.

Luckily, my predecessor had shortened his training here at HBPO – which meant that two interviews later I was able to continue my training at HBPO in Lippstadt from year two onwards. And that was it, I stayed.

Looking back, I was really lucky – and still see it that way so many years later!

What did you think of the training at HBPO?

If I had to define a generic term for the procedure or schematic of my training, it would be independence. Right from the beginning, it was important to get my head around subjects and solve problems on my own. HBPO finds it important for apprentices to work on concrete projects even early on in their training. Small projects such as the production of prototypes or the implementation of benchmarks were taken over quickly.

I didn’t feel I had “apprentice” written on my forehead at all! Right from the beginning, I was treated as an equal member of the team! – An aspect that I really appreciate!

What was a special highlight for you during your training?

My absolute highlight was and still is the transport frame that I designed the exhibition sample for. It is even still being used. I am extremely proud that I was entrusted with the project – from the first line in the design program through to the finished component. My work is appreciated, and that makes me feel good!

How did things continue after you had completed your apprenticeship?

During my apprenticeship I knew I wanted to find out even more. As soon as I had finished, I enrolled for a Bachelor degree in industrial engineering in Paderborn. My intention was to consolidate my specialist expertise.

Did HBPO support you during your degree?

HBPO provided financial support during my degree. In return, I spent my vacations working at HBPO. At least, as long as revising for the exams allowed. I was in the company about every six months during this time. A real win-win situation!

Did you consciously decide to return after your degree?

Since I had always been working at HBPO during my vacations, I had never really left. While I was writing my thesis, a position as development engineer in pre-development became vacant. From then on I knew I had to grasp the opportunity, because that was exactly where I wanted to start after university.

What is your job exactly?

I have been working as a project engineer in pre-development for one year now. Here, I work on projects in their initial phase. And I provide support with project acquisition.

What is a typical working day like for you?

In my job, no two days are the same. My areas of responsibility differ greatly. They range from processing customer orders here at our headquarters in Lippstadt to presentations on customers’ premises. New production methods with new suppliers are discussed, concepts drawn up and checked for feasibility. There is one constant, though: I can always tinker around and try things out.

What motivates you day after day?

My greatest motivation is that I can admire my work installed in a vehicle at the end of the project. I designed the air flap control for an AMG in one of my earlier projects, for example. When I saw this in a car dealership, I had to take a closer look at the Active Grille Shutter and proudly present it to my friends.

If you had to describe HBPO in one word, what would it be?

I would definitely choose the word teamwork! Because we really live that out at HBPO!

What do you do to relax from work?

I regularly do sport to keep fit. And sport helps me switch off, too. I go to the gym or ride my bike. Occasionally I ride my bike to work. Since the company has shower facilities, I can ride the 22 kilometres without having to then sit in sweaty clothes in the office all day – a real plus!

How would you describe the contact to your colleagues?

Contact among colleagues is excellent. Teamwork is highly valued here. Everyone benefits from the experience of the others. Exchanging experience is extremely important, so we keep learning all the time.

We spend a lot of our free time together as well. We invite each other to birthday parties or other celebrations. That bonds us.

You regularly provide support at careers fairs: what do you tell potential employees?

I find it important demonstrate presence! HBPO is a good employer where there is an emphasis on enjoying work – that is what I try to convey to potential applicants.

An application is important and a basic prerequisite to apply for a position, yet in my opinion nothing is more important than a first impression. Applicants should always use the opportunity and talk personally to their potential employer.