A leader – an inspiration
Memories from the perspective
of a contemporary
For almost 40 years I had the privilege of accompanying Gerhard Hänel through his professional life – 7 years as a business associate and 33 working for him directly. Initially I came into contact with Mr. Hänel as his customer when I was working as Sales Manager for a renowned vendor of filing equipment. He supplied us with index-card and filing paternosters for resale purposes.

During my many encounters with Mr. Hänel, I came to appreciate his straightforwardness, his technical expertise and his sincere and courteous manner.

Mr. Hänel was not satisfied with simply producing systems to customer specification. He simultaneously developed an innovative range of card-index and filing carousels on his own initiative. These attracted a great deal of attention worldwide because of their revolutionary technology and cutting-edge design.

Following the death of the owner of the company that had been his main customer, there was a gradual cessation of dealings between the two firms. Mr. Hänel wanted to detach himself from such dependencies so that he could later hand over to his sons a flourishing business with its own sales division.

The second phase of my association with Mr. Hänel began on April 1st, 1971, when I came to work for him directly. When his company started its own sales activities, Mr. Hänel had two administrative employees in the in-house sales department and myself as Sales Manager.

His entrepreneurial thinking, combined with an aptitude for incisive and quick decision-making, ensured a healthy, continuous upward trend. We worked together for 33 years – a long period which shaped me professionally and personally.

On the rare occasions that our opinions differed, the debate always took place objectively without once escalating to the personal level. Gerhard Hänel had an exceptional ability to promote the company‘s interests in a goal-oriented way using his outstanding leadership qualities, while at the same time showing his employees their value and constantly motivating them in their shared tasks.

Can there be any better résumé of one‘s life than to say: “Je ne regrette rien“. If I had to choose again today, I would without hesitation opt for the enlightening and personally fulfilling years I worked with Mr. Gerhard Hänel.

Kurt Velmeke
© Hänel GmbH & Co. KG Innovative ideas. Sound technology. Flexible systems.