Portrait in front of a Wirtgen milling machine

‘Wirtgen has become a part of me’

Great team – great products: Jenny Preukschas appreciates the excellent career development opportunities at Wirtgen, the wide range of tasks she works on and the colleagues she works with who make her job so enjoyable.

Jenny Preukschas has made a career of her passion for engineering. The development and construction engineer began her career at Wirtgen 14 years ago and is still enthusiastic about her job – because her tasks are so exciting, challenging and varied, and because the supportiveness and appreciation of the colleagues she works with provide new motivation every single day. Wirtgen has provided unfailing support and assistance at every step in the development of her career so far. All employees here, whether male or female, have the chance to develop their skills and talents, to learn and contribute their personal strengths to the success of the company. The promotion of young talent, basic and advanced training programmes and special training courses are a matter of course and an integral part of the corporate culture.

In our interview, Jenny Preukschas tells us about her experiences in a currently still strongly male-dominated but very open working environment, and why she has never regretted her decision to make a career in a technical profession.

Jenny Preukschas has already successfully completed a dual study program at Wirtgen and now leads her own team of specialists as a development and construction engineer.

What motivated you to consider a career in a technical profession?

At first, I had no idea what I wanted to do after leaving school. Together with my parents, I thought about jobs I might like and also took a test to find suitable careers. I then gathered work-experience in the suggested occupations.

At Wirtgen, too?

Right – that was in 2007, and I was there for three weeks. I got the chance to get a taste of what went on in production and development. It was the best of all the ones I tried, and it fired-up my interest in engineering. That’s why I switched schools at short notice after secondary school and took and passed my technological diploma exams.

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What came next?

I applied for jobs at various companies while I was studying for my technical diploma. But, thanks to the great work-experience, Wirtgen always came out on top. Although there was no opportunity advertised for a dual study programme for mechanical engineering, I sent off a speculative application and soon received an invitation to an interview. I said to myself that if they accepted my application, I would take up the offer right away – and, back then, and today, I’m so happy the company did.

Portrait with out of focus machine in the background

‘I felt accepted and appreciated in the company from the moment my training began.’

Jenny Preukschas, development and construction engineer

How did the dual study programme at Wirtgen go, and what did you like most about it?

What I liked most of all was the practical focus. After three months of basic training in the training workshop, I spent the first year in prefabrication to learn all about how components are manufactured from the ground up. I began studying for my university degree in the second year and got back to working in the company only during semester breaks. There, I was first given the chance to get to know what went on in the other production departments up to and including final assembly and gather an impression of the overall production process. After that, it was the turn of the engineering office, where I got to work in all the machine teams and had an opportunity to learn how they work and all about the programmes they use. That meant that I could start work right away after graduation without any familiarisation or extra training time. At the same time, my close relations with colleagues from all departments of the company from the start meant that I already had a very useful network and could draw on their technical expertise at any time.

What were your first tasks when you started out at Wirtgen?

I started out in the Surface Miner team. The great thing about that was that I was given the chance to spend a month in Australia to see the machine in action at an opencast mine shortly after I started. That was truly impressive and I learned a lot. Back at the company, I began the independent construction of smaller subassemblies and commissioned their production in series in coordination with my team leader.

Where do your responsibilities at Wirtgen lie today?

Today, I lead a specialist team for the development and construction of belts and housings. That means that I’m in charge of a specialist group of five colleagues within the cutting technology team and act as their contact partner.

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Is your work focused more on development or do you also respond to customer inquiries?

My job is extremely varied. When I started, up to 90% of what I had to do consisted of constructional tasks. Today, that accounts for only the smallest part of what I do. I organise and prioritise the tasks in our specialist group, carry out analyses and evaluations of products, assist service with questions, drive to customers in person to discuss issues and visit construction sites to provide support and assistance with our machines on the spot. On top of that, I also spend a lot of time in discussions with people from assembly, production, repairs and prototype construction. My daily agenda also includes smaller tasks.

Most of all, Jenny Preukschas appreciates the variety of different tasks and the dialogue with customers and colleagues in her job.

What future development prospects do you see for your career?

Numerous opportunities have presented themselves over the past years and, when I consider the international focus and size of the company, I can see more fascinating career development opportunities coming my way. At the moment, I’m very happy in my current position. But I’m naturally always open to change, and I know I can always rely on strong and active support from my direct superiors, no matter what any future plans might involve.

You’ve now been with Wirtgen for fourteen years. What motivates you in your daily work?

On the one hand, my colleagues and the working environment. On the other, the encouragement and appreciation on the part of my superiors. I have grown up with Wirtgen, and Wirtgen now has a special place in my heart. It’s hard to describe, but, thanks to the really amazing training and development opportunities I’ve enjoyed, I feel I can say that Wirtgen has become a part of me. I have a burning passion for this company and I look forward to having the opportunity to set new and wonderful things in motion every day I’m here.

You work in a strongly male-dominated environment – how do you get on with your colleagues?

I must admit that it’s not always easy. But, when a man has to work in a female-dominated working environment, it can’t be all that easy for him, either. At the end of the day, men and women are simply too different. But I didn’t mean ‘not always easy’ in a negative sense. ‘I’ve always felt accepted and appreciated from the day my training here began.’ I would even go so far as to say that I had an advantage over my male colleagues in the production department, because many of my new colleagues were pleased to see a woman starting out on a career in engineering. In fact, they may even have given me more support and assistance than they might have given a male colleague. I must also say that I have always been treated with respect, right from the start.

Jenny Preuschkas was accepted by her male colleagues without reservations from the first day on.

What advice would you give female job applicants? What special character traits must a woman have to be successful in a job like yours?

In an extremely male-dominated working environment, it’s particularly important to know how to use your elbows to make your presence felt, explains Jenny with a knowing smile. Until today, I have never once regretted taking the step I made to get here.

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Portrait outdoors, standing in front of a Wirtgen milling machine

‘For me, Wirtgen is all about pulling together in a great team that makes great products!’

Jenny Preukschas, development and construction engineer