On July 1st Meiko, a mechanical engineering company from Offenburg in Germany, celebrated its 90th anniversary with a grand ceremony and a imaginative framework programme. Well above 3000 employees, relatives and friends came to celebrate “their” Meiko together with press representatives and the Lord Mayor of Offenburg, Edith Schreiner. The company that is being managed by a foundation is known for its solidarity and its focus on values and proved this on the entire event grounds.
On Saturday morning, the main entrance of the Meiko corporate headquarters with the impressive fountain was the starting point for the great celebration day for all employees of the mechanical engineering company from Baden – Meikonians as they call themselves. Together with relatives and families they flooded the Englerstraße where the impressive anniversary celebration started which is no surprise considering the occasion and the festive setting. 90 years of company tradition this is an exceptional reason for joy, especially in conjunction with a company philosophy as it is cultivated by the model company from Offenburg.
Dr.-Ing. Stefan Scheringer, Managing Director of Meiko, welcomed the numerous media representatives from daily and cross-industry specialised press and explained right at the beginning: “Today is our family day and this day belongs to our employees, today all the more, as they make up the company.” The atmosphere on the extensive event grounds, including administration building, training workshop and production halls underlines this statement and reminds of the birthday celebration for a cherished relative. It seems that in Offenburg they do things differently – apparently with success.
The foundation of the company by Oskar Meier and Franz Konrad – this is where the acronym Meiko derives from – in 1927 laid the foundations for a company history that has scarcity value. Prudence, wisdom and highest requirements: Until today the character traits of the company founders are strongly anchored in the genes of the company as well as a respectful dealing with each other. The review over the entire 90 years of Meiko gave an extensive exhibition. On large display boards the milestones of the company in combination with major events of world history were conveyed to the visitors. Stories about imaginative inventiveness, visions and integrity in difficult times of German history, but also stories about solidarity and persistent reconstruction after the complete destruction of the plant in the Second World War were impressively put on display. The exhibition was not only rounded off with exhibits from the respective time: On 120 pages a company chronicle, specifically published for this purpose, illustrates the whole world of the expert for washing, cleaning and disinfection technology starting with day one.
“The text and image boards impressed me in particular, not to mention the content concept and the graphic design of the commemorative publication,” Burkhard Randel, chairman of the foundation ´Oskar und Rosel Meier Stiftung´ is pleased. The foundation was established by Rosel Meier, the wife of the company founder and later the sole managing director. She left instructions in her will to turn the company into a value-driven foundation. Until today this visionary decision in the 1980s gives Meiko an excellent reputation as a model employer. For the primary aim of this foundation is “to mainly serve the interests of the employees of the Meiko plants”. This self-conception also shapes Meiko as global player with business activities in more than 100 countries worldwide. Because the heart of the company is still beating in the Englerstraße where everything started 90 years ago. Until today over 1200 employees are employed here and the trend is clearly continuing upwards.
“A relaxed atmosphere full of joyous expectations could be felt,” Burkhard Randel very well sums up the atmosphere on the event grounds. For young and old everything was offered that is needed for a successful anniversary: Besides numerous stands with culinary temptations and two large marquees, where among others the Meiko choir performed, also the youngest visitors had a good time in the extensive Kinderland with numerous attractions.
Starting from the special exhibition in the company restaurant tours guided by the Head of Production, Christoph Homburger, lead through the extensive production halls and offered visitors exclusive glimpses behind the scenes of the technology leader. The elaborate production processes of the premium technology and the wide range of products engaged not only the interest of the specialised press. Whole Meiko families that have been working for the company for generations explained their excited relatives their workplaces. Whether digitalisation, recycling of food waste, ergonomics or complete dishwashing lines for airports all over the world – there was much to see and all questions could be answered. Meanwhile a raffle also attracted the visitors attention along the tour line.
Without doubt, the anniversary celebration could be seen as a mirror image of the company history. In her address Lord Mayor Edith Schreiber found the right words to describe this day as she spoke about being proud to what extent Meiko “exemplary presents the economic power of Offenburg”.
Top image: Meiko employees from past and present: Svenja Jäger and Richard Lehmann, young and old meet at the fountain.