In May 2017, Katrin Kühn, a graduated mathematican started as Head of Project Management at HI Bauprojekt GmbH in Jena. With over 20 years experience of management in various industries, she gained the required competence and know-how for this responsibility.
The company is specialized in project management and general planning. Furthermore, HI Bauprojekt GmbH is focused on project planning, structural design, technical building equipment, including laboratory and clean room planning, development planning and planning of engineering structures. Today, the company has more than 50 engineers and experts who have successfully completed over 1,700 projects.
What do you like most about your job?
My tasks at HI Bauprojekt GmbH are demanding and varied. As a project developer, you are always faced with new challenges. It's not about why I can't solve a problem or task, but how do I handle it. In any case, it doesn't get boring and isn't always easy. And most importantly, working in the HI Bauprojekt team is always a pleasure.
Why did you choose this career?
At school I had always been enthusiastic about logical thinking in mathematics. You didn't have to memorize much and could also solve tricky tasks. I wanted to continue this in my studies. Today I always say I learned to think for seven years.
As a graduate I started in the development of equipment at the "Earthquake Institute" in Jena in September 1989. As equipment developers, we raised the first subsidies in 1990, which were paid out immediately after monetary union. So marketing was the order of the day. Money had to be managed. That ended up on my desk - mathematicians and numbers always fit together for everyone.
Through my project work I had gained a lot of experience. Together with three cof my colleagues we founded a technology company in 1993 and I have been a managing partner for 29 years. After ten years I decided to change my profession. With my experience as managing director, I have mainly worked in various management positions. I was able to benefit from my understanding of technically demanding topics and commercial issues.
Can you name any person or company that has influenced you in your professional life?
For me successful entrepreneurs have a big impact, no matter whether they run a small or a medium-sized company. Jena offers many good examples. I had worked for several years as a consultant for a number of different technology companies, so it is difficult for me to name a single company.
What has been your most challenging experience so far and how have you managed it?
Technology companies often have a long, rocky road to successfully establish on the market. Raising venture capital for my own technology company was a great challenge for me. As a managing partner you are aware that you have to be successful. In the end you have put everything on one card: you are liable for loans, for the job of your employees and for your own job. Your own idea could fail but only fighting ist the key to success. I mastered this challenge with a large network: my business partner, who was also managing director of the company, customers, consultants, good friends and, most importantly, my family, who kept my back free as a mother of three children.
Which tips would you like to give prospective female engineers on their way?
Believe firmly in yourself, present yourself convincingly, continue to learn and be active in professional networking.