Success stories

Sailing in at the right moment – at Hörnlein a career can be boosted in ways which one would never have believed possible. Here are two examples of success stories.

The woman in a male-dominated field

Sonja Frey, Graduate in business engineering (FH) | Controlling at Hörnlein

How did you come to work at Hörnlein?

After graduating I was first hired as a sales controller. There I was able to deal with our products and their manufacturing a lot and learn about the company from the ground up. After 2 years I was then offered the position of company controller and since then I have been responsible for the profit and loss account. Our department has grown from 2 to 5 controllers in the time since I have joined the company and I am pleased to always be a reliable contact for my colleagues as the longest-serving controller. 

You have now been with Hörnlein for 10 years. Has there been an especially nice moment that you like to reminisce about?

There have been some nice moments with my colleagues, most of all since there have been more events for employees at Hörnlein such as the summer barbecues. But naturally I am especially happy that I met my husband here. He works in Purchasing and as sales controller I often contacted Purchasing to ask about current material prices...

What do you believe is the reason for why there are still predominantly men in managerial positions and how could the proportion of women be improved?

From my perspective there are two reasons for this. First, women are often underestimated or their skills are not recognised as such. Women who would like to reach a managerial position have to adapt to the "men's world". Second, in our society it is still overwhelmingly women who are responsible for caring for the family and the household. As long as we are subjected to this double workload, there will not be any improvement of the proportion of women. So first a change must take place in the way we think in general.

What is especially appealing to you about Hörnlein?

At the beginning of my career it was the friendly atmosphere in particular which appealed to me and also helped me very much; everyone knew each other and could also ask anyone for advice. We have grown quite a lot in the meantime but luckily we still have flat hierarchies. Meanwhile I also have a very broad range of responsibilities which gives me insight into the various areas of the company and thereby also some variety.

What message do you have for students/graduates?

Don't get discouraged and go your own way! Unfortunately it is still the case that women in technical fields are not taken seriously by some people. I had such a defining experience in my pre-university technical internship in toolmaking: My (male) colleague in the internship stood at the milling machine and I was supposed stand there and learn by watching. I then simply went to an employee who was willing to show me something. And CNC programming was ultimately more interesting than the old manual milling machine!

From plant management assistant to managing director

Jan Šišlák, Graduate mechanical engineer | Managing director at the Hörnlein Group at the location Šahy/Slovakia

What were the important milestones? 

For me there were two realisations. The first was that I do not want to be bored with my work and at the same time I want to make some real change. The second realisation was more or less a result of that. It was the realisation that at Hörnlein I not only have the extraordinary opportunity to grow with Hörnlein but also that Hörnlein wants to grow with me.

What sets Hörnlein apart from other employers in particular for you? 

The special combination of a family business in the truest sense of the words and a sort of very professional "start-up" mindset. This allows employees at all levels to experience self-realisation and to discover and develop their own potential. This is a combination which results in a top team and top performance and which enables the use of the latest technologies so that work is always performed using up-to-date resources and the company develops.

What do you enjoy most about your work?

The scope is indeed very broad and also very deep, but I try to make use of the "lawnmower effect". I do that with effectiveness and sustainability, which I enjoy at the same time. You can see results in a short time and even company-wide through new technologies, processes and projects. This is then repeated at short intervals. That is why there is quarterly reporting in order to be able to see and measure the effects of our actions. Because after some time we will hardly be able to comprehend why we were still mowing the lawn ourselves in the past when mower robots do it for us now... J.

What perspectives does Hörnlein offer internationally?

The perspectives are practically limitless. I mean, we can see this well with our business model of Hörnlein production services. This enables location adaptation in record time. There is a wide variety of opportunities for our employees who work with our products and processes worldwide as well.

Why is Hörnlein an attractive employer for engineers?

Hörnlein offers the opportunity to apply techniques which have never been used before. After all, Hörnlein and its engineers are involved in the development of the car of the future. The combination of numerous new technologies, proven manufacturing processes and our precise manufacturing technologies is something that does not otherwise exist on the market and is thereby our competitive edge. All employees profit from this, even with regard to their own personal development, particularly our engineers.

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