After investing in a unique 18-month apprenticeship program, Koenig & Bauer is proud to announce that two of its students have graduated and are now working in the field here in the U.S. Kaitlin Sullivan and Flavio Tello-Saenz are trained electricians and working at customer sites. Both graduated from Texas State Technical College with associate degrees before joining the Koenig & Bauer apprenticeship program.
“We’re very proud of our newest technicians,” says Jens Haensch, a senior technician at Koenig & Bauer who has been mentoring the graduates. “They’re bringing all of their new knowledge, expertise, and enthusiasm for the industry and working directly with our customers to solve challenges and present solutions. They’re young and ambitious, they learn very quickly, and they soak everything up. Our customers have fully embraced them, and they’ve integrated very well with our team.”
Sullivan, who earned an A.S. Degree in Wind Energy Technology (WET), and Tello-Saenz, who earned an A.S. Degree in Mechatronics, began their internships in mid-Janaury 2019. In Germany, they received a mix of working in the press assembly hall, specialized training in the training center at the factory, and classes at the German Apprenticeship School located at the Radebeul factory near Dresden while at night taking German lessons at the Goethe Institut. Since their return, they’ve been supporting German electricians with machine installations and will soon be working on their own.
“There are many different aspects of the job that I value,” says Sullivan. “When there’s a problem on the machine, and you’re able to place/repair this problem, there’s no greater feeling. You’re able to meet people from all different walks of life. I’m currently at a customer where it feels more like a family than a job.”
“Working here in the U.S. has been great,” says Flavio Tello-Saenz. “My favorite part of the job is the troubleshooting process. I enjoy analyzing how to make these technologically advanced presses operate at their best. Every week there is something different and I’m always learning.”
Ericka L.Luneau, director of human resources at Koenig & Bauer (US), spearheaded the apprenticeship effort. “We see great value in the next generation of employees who are being trained,” she says. “The goal of our program is to fulfill the growing need for trained operators to meet the future demand of current and potential customers. Our 203-year-old company depends on highly skilled technicians to maintain our reputation for a high level of service.”
Luneau is grateful to Haensch, who has mentored the two students through the program. His involvement with them has helped tremendously with their success, she says, not just from a technical sense; but also preparing them for a life on the road, instilling strong work ethics, building loyalty with the company, and keeping them excited and motivated. Additionally, Florian Spiekermann, director of analytics and special projects, was a key member who worked with Koenig & Bauer’s German team to develop the learning path for the program and assisted with the recruitment.