Emerging from the dark of a bitterly cold November night, winged stilt walkers dressed head to toe in dazzling white welcomed intrigued guests into the torchlit hangar. It was clear this was going to be no ordinary party. The stylish entrance was just the first surprise in store for more than 400 guests who attended Endress+Hauser Ltd’s 50th anniversary celebration at the end of 2018.
Manchester, which has been Endress+Hauser’s UK home from day one, is well known to the 28 million passengers who pass through the city’s airport every year. So what better way to celebrate the special relationship between the city and the Swiss company than to party next to the runway, in the shadow of Concorde? Lit in Endress+Hauser’s trademark blue, the iconic plane provided a fitting backdrop for a memorable occasion
Continuity and change
The UK sales and production centre was founded in 1968 by Dr Georg H Endress, the grandfather of the current managing director. Steven Endress took the reins in 2016, the first third-generation member of the Endress family to take an operational role in the family business. ‘Over the years our buildings and the scope of our offer have changed as we seek to align with our customers’ needs,’ he said. ‘But, without doubt, our most important asset is our people. It is the drive, ambition and attitude of my colleagues that makes the difference.’
An incredible contribution
Being a family-owned company characterises Endress+Hauser and shapes its corporate culture, so it was fitting that 21 members of the Endress family joined the 50th anniversary celebrations. Joining ‘captain’ Steven Endress in commending staff for their role in the success of the company were former CEO Klaus Endress and current CEO Matthias Altendorf. Mr Altendorf emphasised the UK sales centre’s role in helping to establish the Endress+Hauser group globally: ‘We have been able to win many good people from our UK sales centre for important positions in the Endress+Hauser world. And we have learned a lot about the market and customers from the UK that allowed us to improve our products, solutions and services. In this way, the sales centre has made an incredible contribution to the Group’s success!’
To mark that contribution, Mr Altendorf later presented Steven Endress with a glass sculpture created by the artist Britta Schmidhauser, representing the connection between Endress+Hauser and the UK.
The evening continued with a round-table discussion among industry leaders, including Steve Brambley, the CEO of instrumentation, control and automation trade association Gambica; Mike Armiger from GEA Group; and Pirusi’s Steve Seddon.
An unexpected after-dinner treat was provided by the appropriately named Top Secret Drum Corps from Basel in Switzerland. But the surprises kept coming: just as the guests thought the night was coming to an end, a hidden winter wonderland was revealed, complete with acrobats performing stunts inside a snow dome, a snow-sprayed dance floor, a snowboarding simulator and a photo booth. ‘We wanted to make it a night to remember, and I think we achieved that!’ explained Steven Endress. ‘I hope it shows how thankful we are for the hard work of our staff and the support of our customers. Here’s to the next 50 years!’
Even the invitations celebrated the special relationship between Switzerland and Manchester. A specially created emblem featured both the Baselstab (staff of Basel), taken from the city’s coat of arms, and Manchester’s famous worker bee.