Engineering a New Future
Jan Franz Allerkamp, Managing Director
ALTANA was incorporated in 1977, but its roots as a chemical company go back nearly 150 years. It was in 1873 that Dr. Heinrich Byk founded the chemical factory Chemische Fabrik in the Berlin district of Oranienburg and began producing chemicals. Although there were many acquisitions along the way, the company’s expertise for the last 145 years has been in the world of chemicals, from asphalt to compounds to varnishes and coatings.
It is in this respect that ACTEGA Metal Print (AMP) is truly a company first. AMP represents ALTANA’s first acquisition of a technology that requires real intensive engineering—in addition to its chemical development. And to meet this challenge, we have embarked on building a high caliber team of engineers from one of Germany’s most prestigious industries—print.
We are very fortunate to have Harald Jasper joining our team as the COO, bringing us more than 20 years of engineering experience throughout the entire value chain. Most recently Harald was the Systems Engineering and R&D Director at Bobst Bielefeld, a leading supplier of equipment and services to packaging and label manufacturers. In his new role, Harald will build up the engineering team at AMP, locate new partners and develop a manufacturing concept.
In addition to his engineering experience, Harald brings a lot of energy and passion that is a perfect fit for a dynamic, young startup inside a multibillion euro chemical company. Together, in the open office plan, we will engineer a new future for metallized effects in printing and for ALTANA.
I am also proud to announce that Volker Krebs, my right-hand man since day 1, has accepted the position of Chief Marketing Officer, where he will develop our go-to-market strategy, build our marketing infrastructure and establish our business and partner relationships.
I would like to wish Harald and Volker much success in their new roles.
|Open plan office|
In March we were excited by the arrival of our Gallus narrow web press to Lehrte. This system will be used for testing ACTEGA Metal Print’s EcoLeaf technology and is part of our strategy to make EcoLeaf a plug-and-play solution that works with all of the leading narrow web presses. The new press will serve as a platform for developing and refining our technology and complements the Omet press in our Israel R&D facility.
5 Questions with Harald Jasper, AMP’s New COO (and Former Competitive Windsurfer)Harald Jasper is 50 years old, married to Ann and father to Laura. He received his engineering degree in Belgium and speaks 6 languages: Dutch, German, English, French, Italian, and Catalan. We were able to catch up with Harald to ask him some questions that don’t appear on his resume or his LinkedIn profile.
What brought you to AMP?
When I got a call from a recruiter about a job, I initially turned them down as I was quite content at Bobst. But the recruiter was very persistent and kept on calling and calling me. They wouldn’t tell me the name of the company, but they said it had to do with nanotechnology. I thought that it must have been with Landa, but I couldn’t understand why a company specializing in digital printing for large format would want an engineer with more than 20 years of engineering expertise related to packaging and wide web format. By the third call, I was quite curious. So, I initially came to AMP out of curiosity. But at my second interview, I met Jan Franz Allerkamp and Volker Krebs. After that, it was the chemistry—the personal chemistry—that brought me to AMP, not the engineering.
How would you describe yourself in a word?
Fun… especially for an engineer [laughing]. I like to look outside the box for solutions and throw myself into a challenge like it’s a competitive sporting event. It’s important to always try to make everything fun, especially work.
How did you come to speak 5 languages?
I picked up my many languages while I was a competitive windsurfer; it was a very international community and you meet people from all over the world. I’ve also worked in Italy, Spain, France and Germany. I love to talk to people and learn their language to better understand their needs. When I was young, I learned Latin, which provided a good basis for learning many languages, but I don’t consider it one of my spoken languages.
What was it like to be a competitive windsurfer?
Being a competitive windsurfer was one of the best parts of my life. I got to see lots of beautiful places and some amazing nature. And then there are the waves and the sounds of the water. It was really something special. I really loved the competition, but you get more wise than rich. You’re always in the sun and you travel a lot. But unfortunately, you don’t make enough money. I had to eventually get a real job. The highlights of my windsurfing career were winning the national championship in Belgium, winning third place in the European championships, and qualifying for Olympics. But discovering that I was sick with cancer stopped my Olympic bid. Cancer was a huge challenge to overcome, but it gave me perspective. You realize what your priorities are in life and what real problems are. I learned not to sweat the little stuff.
What similarities do you see between windsurfing and your new role at AMP?
The technology is very impressive and there is quite a bit of work, both in terms of the chemistry and the engineering. Combine that with the aggressive deadlines and events that we have planned over the next two to three years—and I feel like I’m on the competitive windsurfing circuit. Also, the idea of building a small startup inside a big company reminds me of being on my small surfboard out in the big, wide sea. But fortunately, I’m not alone. I am working with a very talented team of people in Lehrte, Germany and Rehovot, Israel.
|Harald Jasper in his favorite element|