The 35-year company anniversary and his own milestone birthday gave Herrenknecht AG chairman of the board of management Dr.-Ing. E.h. Martin Herrenknecht a good reason to celebrate in style. More than 2,000 guests from politics, the customers, the tunnel industry and his company’s workforce joined him to enjoy a high class evening gala in the Baden-Arena in Offenburg, Germany.

Today, Herrenknecht AG is the global market leader with its tunnel boring machines. Everything began on a very small scale, however, in the quiet town of Schwanau. In 1975 the 33-year-old Martin Herrenknecht set up on his own as an engineer. Two years later, he founded Herrenknecht GmbH. In the following decades, the company has grown at a rapid pace to become a typical hidden champion. Herrenknecht now supplies tunneling technology around the globe for both small and gigantic tunnel projects — from 0.10 to 19 m in diameter. The engineers from Schwanau and their tunnel boring machines rarely walk away from a challenge, they move in all ground conditions. In 2011, the Herrenknecht Group generated sales of one billion euros. It employs around 4,000 people worldwide and trains over 240 young people.

Guests and VIPs from a total of 38 countries offered their congratulations on both his personal jubilee and the business success story. “Martin Herrenknecht is one of the great entrepreneurs of our country, we can learn much from his positive thinking and his attitude to life,” said former German chancellor Dr. Gerhard Schröder in the packed Baden-Arena in Offenburg. Others who came especially for the gala included: Dr. Wolfgang Schäuble, the German Federal Minister of Finance, former Foreign Minister Dr. Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Prof. Dr. h.c. Lothar Späth, Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Herrenknecht AG.

The colorful program of the gala, hosted by well-known German personality Barbara Schöneberger, included numerous show acts, performances by top artists such as Helene Fischer, entertaining film clips on the company’s history and an exceptional Swiss fireworks display. Comedian Andreas Müller imitated prominent congratulations from around the world – from Winfried Kretschmann to Pope Benedict. The menu for the evening was created by the Adler restaurant in Reichenbach. Hundreds of service personnel accomplished a masterpiece of logistics and spoiled the over 2,000 guests with a meal of several courses.

A particular highlight of the evening was the very first performance of the especially composed Herrenknecht song, “The Lightening Rule.” In this music video, the employees presented their boss’s motto “Think positive” in a musical setting. More than 600 men and women from Schwanau and the Chinese branches in Guangzhou had been involved as protagonists in the video, as well as more than 30 kindergarten and school children from Allmannsweier (song and video at: www.herrenknecht.de/song ).

In his speech, Martin Herrenknecht gave special thanks to customers, members of the Supervisory Board, colleagues on the Board of Management, staff and his family, who he emphasized were instrumental in the company’s success. He reviewed the rapid success story of his company in a presentation. And fully in keeping with his motto “Look for challenges, accept challenges” he reported on the new goals of Herrenknecht AG, which aims to develop new fields of business in the areas of mining and vertical drilling.

It was important to Martin Herrenknecht that the anniversary should be used to help people in need. “At this time too we should also think of those who are not on the sunny side of life.” Instead of gifts, Herrenknecht had asked for donations to be made to the Förderverein für krebskranke Kinder e.V. in Freiburg (Society for the Support of Children with Cancer). All in all, including his own donation, he will shortly pay a sum of 60,000 euros into the Society’s account.

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