“We! From here!” – more than a motto expressing where AR is based
There were more than just a few emotional tears when sand artist Frauke Menger deftly conjured the likeness of August Rüggeberg, the founder of the eponymous Marienheide-based company, on her light table. She was part of the 125th anniversary celebrations of the company's existence in Marienheide, which the tool manufacturer attended with its employees, as well as their families.
“It is time to give back a little,” said PFERD CEO Jörn Bielenberg in his speech to the workforce, “because a company cannot turn 125 years old without the input from competent, diligent and motivated employees.” He said it is the people who have put in so much personal commitment – some over decades – who have made PFERD great. Bielenberg added that the company had very consciously decided to have these festivities, despite the current situation in Ukraine, despite the energy shortage, supply chain interruptions and the coronavirus pandemic. “Something we have learned from not just the war generations is that, especially in these kinds of situations, it is OK to have a distraction now and then and strengthen unity through shared celebration.”
Under the motto “We! From here!”, the company invited all employees and their families for a celebratory family day to the Marienheide site, which over 1,800 guests attended. The guests were entertained with a rich programme of performances, had the opportunity to visit the production facilities, learn about the history of the company and the brand, or indulge themselves in the PFERDBISTRO, PFERD’s canteen. There was also plenty for the children to do, including a drawing competition, a children’s carousel and an ice-cream cart.
In the evening, the global company invited everyone to the Schwalbe Arena – the home arena of German handball team VfL Gummersbach – for a family celebration (as described in the invitation), which long-time managing directors Jan and Tom Rüggeberg also attended with their families. The cousins, who took over the management of the company at the start of the 1980s and who were at its head into the early 2000s, shaped the growth and internationalisation of PFERD in a sustainable manner.
The some 1,000 guests were treated to a colourful evening, with members of the Rüggeberg families answering questions from presenter Marco Schreyl, the 24 subsidiaries sending in greetings via video clips, employees explaining in interviews what “We! From here!” means for them personally, and an applauded performance from Bläck Fööss, who almost brought down the entire arena. “The emotional tears conjured by Frauke Menger with her sand art may have been quickly forgotten,” added Jörn Bielenberg, “but she has made one thing very clear: we are all Rüggebergers and we are connected by our Rüggeberg DNA. Although we are a global company, this is where our roots are and this is where they will remain in the future.”
This statement was greeted by employees with a long applause, as was the announcement that the “Marienheide Bürgerstiftung” community foundation was set to receive a € 125,000 donation to help them in their work.
“With this donation, we want to give something back to the people in the Marienheide community. And it is also to show that ‘We! From here!’ is much more than a motto about where we are based.”
The company was founded in 1799 in Ennepetal-Altenvörde by Johan Caspar Rüggeberg, who worked in the manufacturing of files and rasps. Almost 100 years later, his grandson August, together with his sons Emil, Robert and Alfred, made the decision to move the still modestly sized company to Marienheide in the Oberbergischer Kreis district. There, the family business and its distinctive horse logo evolved into a world-leading manufacturer of tools for surface working and cutting materials. Today, PFERD employs around 2,000 people in Marienheide and in the 24 subsidiaries around the world and achieves turnovers of around € 300 million (2021).