My half-year interview with Martin Krengel,
CEO of the WEPA Group
Summer is now behind us, along with 14 great family celebrations that were held at all of our locations to mark WEPA’s 75th anniversary. I spoke with our CEO, Martin Krengel, about the festivities and other highlights of the year, and also asked him who he would especially like to have dinner with if he could. You can read his answers to my questions here.
Fourteen family celebrations in three months – and you went to all of them in person. What was it like to mark the occasion of WEPA’s 75th anniversary with so many employees and their families at all our locations?
It was fantastic! It was great to be able to meet all the employees and their families, and I think everyone had a lot of fun. I was especially happy to see how much the children enjoyed seeing where their parents work. The festivities were wonderful – just what we had wished for. They went as we had hoped. The family celebrations were held at all 14 sites, and my son Andreas and I truly had a great time taking part in every one of them.
From virtual reality goggles to the goal wall – the celebrations included a wide range of offerings and activities. Which one did you think was the most fun?
I was excited to see how interested everyone was in the factory tours, how much fun they had on them and how much of an effort was made to explain the machines. You could sense how proud our plant employees were to show their families their workplace. And to show them how the plants have continued to develop. I also thought the presentations that were organised by the individual sites were great. A lot of them involved the employees or their kids. The performances were all quite personal, which really made them special!
Is there a moment from the family celebrations that will stick in your memory in particular?
It’s really difficult to pick out a single point from among the 14 great family celebrations we had. For me personally, it was very touching that we commemorated the founder, my father, Paul Krengel, and the DNA that he left us to continue with. It was lovely that, especially at the older WEPA sites, we had a lot of former colleagues who were old enough to be able to relate directly to the stories from the first decades of the company. And that they had a chance to see how the company they helped to build has further developed. Those were moving moments for me.
What lasting effect do you think the celebrations will have?
My impression is that through the WEPA family celebrations, we’ve bonded even more closely as a team. What we describe as our WEPA culture became truly palpable and even more firmly anchored than it already was. It was important to us to celebrate the anniversary with and at all our locations – because all of them are an important part of the WEPA Group, and even the plants that are comparatively new to the Group can build on WEPA’s past. Only together can we meet the challenges to come and successfully carry into the future what we have established over the last 75 years.
When you look back on the past several months, what were – alongside the family celebrations – the highlights for you personally?
In the last few months, we have proven once again that at WEPA, we stand together, take on challenges and can come through difficult times stronger than before. We’ve successfully rebuilt much of what we lost in 2022 due to external circumstances, and we’re well-positioned for the future. That was only possible because all of us pulled together – and for me, that’s one of the highlights of the past several months.
With autumn, we can expect longer evenings that are perfect for leisurely dinners. If you could choose anyone to invite to dinner, who would it be, and why?
The former Federal Chancellor Helmut Schmidt – I’d like to be able to discuss the subject of vision with him. In these times, it’s extremely important to have a vision, as well as the determination to realise it in a difficult environment and make advances in sociopolitical terms. Helmut Schmidt always had an extremely clear view of the defining conditions the country was working in, and it would surely be inspiring to talk with him about that. The former American Secretary of State Henry Kissinger was similarly visionary. I’d like to have had a chance to have dinner with him, too, and discuss the international political circumstances we’re living in, and how peace, prosperity and democracy can be achieved or maintained on a sound economic basis.
Martin, thank you for talking with me!