Thursday 7th July 2016

Interview with Thomas Heitz, Burgmann Packings

As a part of Careers development programme we decided to take a look into what has driven young people into the sealing industry. Read the interview with Thomas Heitz, Director of Group Sales and Technology in Burgmann Packings. While studying at the University of Applied Sciences in Trier for Industrial Engineering, he’s had his first contact to the sealing industry, which fascinated him a lot. He thinks the beauty of working in the sealing business is in its very diversified and interdisciplinary challenge.

What’s your professional background?

In 1996 I started an apprenticeship as industrial mechanic with specialization in mechanical and system engineering at an international automotive company in Saarlouis. After acquiring knowledge and practical experience in the basics of mechanical processing and machining from filing, welding, grinding to operating CNC milling and drilling machines, I gained 3 years’ hands-on experience in the final manufacturing of cars. Beside the daily work in series production I also started to work in the repair workshop. This was both, an important and instructive time in my life to learn a lot about processes in a highly automated industry from the basis. It´s also the foundation of the next steps towards my professional career in sealing business.

In 2001 I decided to join school again and finishing technical college entrance qualification within one year. Taking my personal work background into account, it was an easy decision to join University of Applied Sciences in Trier for Industrial Engineering. I graduated successfully my studies in 2006.

How did you come in contact with the Sealing Technology industry?

During this time, I´ve had first contact to the sealing industry, which fascinated me a lot. I joined a PTFE gasket manufacturer for a 6 months’ internship in testing and R&D department for gaskets. To see the demand of different industries for highly reliable sealing products used in varying applications fascinated me a lot. My love to the sealing industry started to grow.

As a result, I joined a German Seal manufacturer in 2007 and finished my diploma thesis, which was a product development project for nuclear industry. After finishing my studies, I joined the Engineering Department. I was responsible for application engineering and provided technical product and application support for customers worldwide.

What were your main tasks during your time in the Engineering department?

Again, this was very interesting time to see so many different industries with different demands for sealing solutions. I also had the chance to travel to different areas of the world with focus to the Middle East Area to visit customers and support them with regards to technical and commercial questions. My tasks included on-site inspections, support for shutdown services, conducting internal as well as customer trainings, participating in development projects and managing internal projects.

What happened then?

After more than 5 years I changed to a privately owned producer of metallic gaskets, compression packings and graphite rings for the position of application engineering and support.

Again, I was challenged with a very broad range of tasks, starting from engineering to sales responsibility and internal projects like development and production support for our facility in China.

You were promoted last year. What’s your current role?

Today, as Director of Group Sales and Technology I work in an interdisciplinary manner with various professions. This involves international customer contacts as well as working on several projects with our own, motivated colleagues within the company.

What makes the Sealing Technology industry attractive for young talents?

The job in sealing business was and still is a very diversified and interdisciplinary challenge. In my point of view, this is the beauty of working in the sealing business, especially if you work within a mid-sized company. It makes your working life much more interesting compared to working for a multi-national enterprise with structures divided into small sections. It still feels more like working in a professional environment with Start-Up mindset, even as the sealing business has long history to look at.

Interviewed by Wolfgang Bommes

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Interview with Thomas Heitz, Burgmann Packings

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