Wednesday 4 July 2012

A pragmatic visionary engineer!

"An entrepreneur must always be restless," is the motto that characterises the entire life's work of Dietmar Harting. Thanks to his determination to make things happen, matched by stoic composure and the right instincts for new technologies the Harting Technology Group has advanced to the position of a worldwide market leader for electrical and electronic connection technology - with Dietmar Harting at the helm.

Dietmar Harting
For 45 years the 72-year old has headed the family business his parents founded in 1945. In 1973 Dietmar Harting took up the position of managing partner at Harting Elektronik GmbH, and since 1996 the father of two and grandfather of six has been active as president and partner of the Harting Technology Group. In the same year, the company's vision was formulated, which states, among others, "We want to shape the future with technologies for people." This statement aptly outlines what has shaped and determined Dietmar Harting as an entrepreneur: visionary ideas for new products and technologies and a consistently sharp look to the future, which never leaves the human factor out of the picture - whether customers, employees, and naturally also his own family. Together with his wife Margrit and their children Philip and Maresa, Dietmar Harting heads the Harting Technology Group. Generating sales of €481 million (ca$610m) and employing a workforce of some 3,400 members of staff in 36 countries, the company ranks among the global players in connection technology.

When Dietmar Harting started his career at the company in 1967 Harting was still manufacturing items of daily everyday use such as lamps and irons. At the time, however, the product portfolio also included the first "electromechanical and electromagnetic components" which were later to be followed by today's worldwide known brand article, the Han(R) connector, that formed the cornerstone of the company's success story. Five years after the death of his father, Dietmar Harting - who graduated in electrical engineering and economic sciences in Munich, Hannover and in Cologne with a degree in business administration - joined his mother Marie Harting at the helm of the company. Thanks to his technical know-how and his far-sightedness driving the consistent internationalization of the Technology Group, the company has charted a steady growth course. In 1987 the family owned and managed business gained additional momentum and dedicated support when Dietmar's wife Margret joined the company and committed herself with heart and soul to advancing the corporate culture. Following the death of Marie Harting in the year 1989 the second generation couple has been standing alone at the helm. The pragmatic, yet visionary technician and the creative powerhouse make the perfect, dynamic duo. In 2005 their son Philip joined the company, followed by his sister Maresa in 2007. At present the entire family is active in managing the company, a viable concept in which "we all respect each other and each of us has their own scope of responsibility." The two children agree, however, "it is our father who still has the last word."

This word not only has weight within the company. Frequently referred to as the "standards pundit" the focus of Dietmar Harting's activities in organizations and associations has focused strongly on standardisation issues. As the first president from a Mittelstand company, Dietmar Harting headed the Central Association of the German Electrical and Electronics Industry (Zentralverband Elektrotechnik- und Elektronikindustrie e.V. (ZVEI)) from 1998 to 2004. At the end of his tenure he was appointed honorary president in acknowledgement of his accomplishments. As Chairman of the German Commission for Electrical, Electronic & Information Technologies (DKE) of the German Institute for Standardisation (DIN) and the Association for Electrical, Electronic and Information Technologies (VDE) Dietmar Harting, now an honorary member, has always been particularly passionate in advocating and advancing standardisation issues. The DIN ring of honor bestowed in 2009 and the gold pin awarded by DKE in 2010 impressively underscore this outstanding commitment.

Apart from these highly diverse activities Dietmar Harting - who is always perceived by his employees as the perfect gentleman - has always kept a keen eye on "his own front door!" In spite of all the consistent activities geared to internationalisation, this native of Berlin has always remained clearly and firmly committed to the Espelkamp location and the region of East-Westphalia-Lippe. What started as a small production site in 1950 in Espelkamp now spreads out over five manufacturing locations and two company headquarters in Minden and Rahden. The company employs more than 1,900 staff in Germany, who benefit from the company owners' strong commitment to the region in which the enterprise is rooted. "Creating an environment with a high quality of life" is the declared aim of Dietmar and Margret Harting. The couple actively support cultural, societal and sports activities, comprising a wide range of initiatives, ranging from the Neues Theater, in Espelkamp, to the handball club GWD Minden. "The success story of their company is also the success story of this city," declared Heinrich Vieker, mayor of the municipality of Espelkamp, on awarding the honorary citizenship to Margret and Dietmar Harting in 2009. Acknowledgements were also forthcoming from further afield. In recognition of his professional achievements, whether in standardisation, his commitment to Deutsche Messe AG, as well as the Hartings' many cultural and societal contributions, Dietmar and Margret Harting were awarded the Federal Order of Merit First Class in the year 2009.

Apart from his numerous entrepreneurial and honorary activities Dietmar Harting dedicates the remaining time to his particular passions of agriculture and hunting - and to his family. With six grandchildren, the course is set for the fourth generation of Harting family entrepreneurs. They have every reason to be proud of their grandfather and extend their heartfelt congratulations on this special occasion of 45 years of service, which is certainly more than impressive, not only in terms of its duration.

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