We travel almost 60 years back in time. It’s the beginning of the 1960’s. The economy is flourishing in Germany. And Volker Kitzbichler, at the age of nineteen, starts his job at Zeppelin Baumaschinen. Follow us into a little time travel!
Volker Kitzbichler, Worms/ Köln/ Garching/ Erlangen
Job title: Sales director / Representative of the executive staff on the Zeppelin Supervisory Board (1994-2006)
Years of service: 41 years
Volker Kitzbichler at bauma, Munich 1989
In April 1962, Volker Kitzbichler started his job as a salesman for CAT spare parts at Zeppelin Baumaschinen (back then the Zeppelin central warehouse in Worms). After only six months of training, he worked in the Cologne branch. A special memory to him: In a lignite mine, I was able to view a CAT D9 bulldozer and ride with the driver. A great experience!
How was working in sales management like at that time?
Already in the 1960s, the philosophy “the customer is king” was not only expressed, but lived. If a spare part for a repair was not available, the part was also procured overnight in Worms from the Zeppelin central warehouse or from the Caterpillar central warehouse in Belgium. If necessary, I drove myself to get it. Of course, the customer was pleasantly surprised about this speed.
How did your responsibilities change over time?
After two years with Zeppelin, I was responsible for the headquarters in Worms as a training manager for spare parts to prepare and conduct sales seminars. That was in 1964. Zeppelin was like a “big family”. After work, people sat together and talked about the daily routine and other things, Christmas parties and company excursions were carried out. A real “WE are Zeppelin” cohesion – even already back then.
If you look back: When was your most exciting time at Zeppelin?
For me, the period of the 1990s was probably the most interesting and exciting time of my professional career. It was shaped by the fall of the Berlin Wall, the reunification of Germany and the resulting opportunities for our business.
How did that affect Zeppelin’s business?
Caterpillar was involved as an exhibitor at the so-called “free fair” in Leipzig in March 1990. Zeppelin also participated with a strong group of sales specialists. We had very interesting conversations that lay the basis for further business contacts. One of the largest orders for Zeppelin developed from this fair.
How did your career develop over time at Zeppelin?
From 1995, I took over the sales management Germany, based in the headquarters in Garching and was provided with power of attorney. Additionally, I was responsible for the management of the region EAST (New Federal States), based in Berlin. From 1997, I took over the sales and service centre with the locations Erlangen, Würzburg, Bayreuth, Munich and Straubing.
Can you remember a special moment during your service at Zeppelin?
It was a special honor to me, when I was elected to the supervisory board of Zeppelin Baumaschinen GmbH and Zeppelin GmbH in 1994 – until I left in 2006 – as a representative of the executive staff. It always felt like I can truly bring in myself at and for the company. As a team we were all following the same goals and pulling in the same direction.
What is special about Zeppelin?
Working for Zeppelin has always been something very special. I enjoyed it very much. It was almost like a “second home”.
What do you wish Zeppelin for its 70th birthday?
I wish the management of today continued success and the Group constant healthy growth.