How do you last twenty years in a company? – An interview with Marco Klee
Marco, Head of Procurement at the HAHN Group, is already celebrating his 20th company anniversary. As a long-time employee, he talks about the development from a start-up to a medium-sized company in an interview with Karina from the People & Culture Team. Some milestones have remained in his memory until today.
Karina: You have been a loyal employee for many years. What exactly do you associate with the company?
Marco: Well, what comes to mind spontaneously is growth, cohesion, togetherness and acceptance. Friendships that have developed with colleagues. Some events besides the daily activities like summer parties, Christmas parties and trips, which we did together with the management in the beginning. Over the years, I have really had many great experiences.
Karina: What do you remember most about the whole period?
Marco: I actually do not have to think about that for long. A real milestone that stuck with me was the first million-dollar order at the time of HÄHN Engineering. I still know the number of the order and the customer name. When we received the order confirmation, I remember Thomas, one of the founders and at that time our CEO, running through the building cheering that we had our first million dollar contract. That really stuck with me. You always associate HAHN with growth, and for me this was the first big growth step that I recall. As far as I remember, it was also one of the first international customer. Another major Milestone was, of course, the big step from HAHN Automation into the RSBG.
Karina: What has changed in these twenty years and what has perhaps even remained the same?
Marco: There have been some changes since we joined RSBG, of course. Quite simply, what has changed, is the number of colleagues. When I started, I think I was employee number 35. Today we are 1600 – so that is crazy. I used to know every employee by name. Today, unfortunately, that is no longer possible. The distances have become longer, but that is understandable. What I think is cool, what has remained the same, is the personal and friendly atmosphere (“you” culture). That already existed in the past and was very important already back then. In my opinion, that is and was a big building block for the success of the company. It simply makes you feel closer. What has always been remarkable for me is that the structures have always been pulled up in time and the basis has been created for the next big step.
Karina: Today it is common practice to change jobs every three to five years. Why has this not been an option for you?
Marco: I have grown with the company and you develop friendships. I have my employer right on my doorstep here in the region. To be honest, I have never thought of leaving because it has always been exciting and fun for me. I made my career steps more or less internally. Back then, I was looking for a position in purchasing. I saw the ad in the newspaper and applied. Unfortunately, the position had already been filled but they were still looking for a sales assistant. Frank, one of the founders, and a colleague from the finance department convinced me to join HÄHN. Therefore, I started as a sales assistant on September 15, 2001 – four days after 9/11. At this point, I realized relatively quickly that this was not for me in the long run. After a few weeks, the position became available in purchasing, which I then started with conviction. From that point on, I built up the purchasing department and have now been responsible for strategic purchasing at HAHN Group since 2017. That is why the question of a change has never really arisen for me in the many years I have been here. I put my heart and soul into it and I truely enjoy working at HAHN.
Karina: There is a lot to celebrate in the anniversary year. What is your personal wish for the future?
Marco: I want us to continue together on the way we have gone in the past. I would like to remain a part of ensuring that the company can still drive this growth and that the goals that have been set are achieved.
Karina: What would you like to say in the end?
Marco: It is important that we continue to live the corporate culture in the same way as before and that we try to maintain the HAHN spirit despite the growth.