Jörg belongs to swb like no other. As a young engineer, the 26-year-old came to the company after completing his mechanical engineering degree. He worked for 4 years as a power plant engineer in the coal power plant, and the following eleven years in maintenance. “I know every screw by its first name”, says Jörg and laughs. In 2008, he switched to the area of plant management and began working on a variety of projects. Together with corporate consultants, he developed IT projects and examined the organization and processes. For three years, starting in 1994, he supported a mobility project of the German Federal Post Office, Daimler-Benz, and other companies in which the swb not only participated as an energy supplier, but also provided a location for the field tests. Whether it was organization, the sale of services, or preparing power plant equipment for an exhibition for the Stadtwerke Düsseldorf – in the past 24 years, Jörg has experienced, seen, and started up a great deal. Today he is one of two innovation managers at the company – and thus makes a connection back to his beginnings in the workshop. “I didn’t have any idea about chemistry, bit I was curious and had a supervisor who gave me enough space to try different things out during my time as a power plant engineer for flue gas desulfurization plants. The technology was relatively new in the 1990s, the operators did not have much experience with it, and there was plenty of room for improvement in the plants. I was able to introduce new technologies, materials, and tools.” The curiosity and desire to try new things drove him forward, and he always had one eye on the market.
He has kept this passion up to today, and he supports the activities of the kraftwerk with great enthusiasm and commitment. Together with Britta Poppe, a specialist in the area of wind power, he helps evoblade realize their project. “When you come directly from the university, you usually don’t know what the market really demands. In addition, approvals need to be obtained from public authorities, conditions met, and in particular, keep an eye on the costs”, says Jörg, who is able to utilize his business know-how to accomplish this. At what price should I enter the market? Do I have reference clients? How do I develop and communicate discounts for selected companies? In addition to this, there is a series of legal aspects to take into account, especially in terms of the development of technical innovations. “Due to their enthusiasm, start-ups sometimes lose focus of the external requirements. You need to point out the consequences of one or the other requirement every once in a while”, says Jörg. However, he does not want to put the start-ups on a leash, but strengthen their awareness of their own responsibilities. Goals are therefore agreed to and not prescribed. In the end, they themselves are responsible for reaching these goals. “I support them wherever I can, but sometimes it is easier to ask stupid questions when you are a small start-up. For example when dealing with public authorities: If I belonged to a large corporation, an awkward question may have repercussions on the next project or when submitting a different request. A start-up is given more leeway in this regard”, says Jörg with a laugh. However, he can also pass on his knowledge in this area: “When and where do I speak to whom and how do I talk to them?” There will naturally also be tasks that need to be performed regularly. in spite of this: “We are not the bosses and do not make decisions for the start-ups”, he emphasizes. His slogan: “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink. – I show them the way, but they need to walk it on their own.”