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Man of the first hour

Interview with Axel (47), senior site manager in the Overhead Line Construction business unit

Trained as a commercial driver, Axel began working in overhead line construction in 2000. He started as a fitter and, with increasing experience, assumed additional responsibilities and functions over time. Today, Alex works as a senior site manager and is proud of his accomplishments. Ever since the company was established, he has been working for Freileitungsbau GmbH (FRB), which became part of EQOS Energie in the spring of 2019. As a man of the first hour, he has helped build a lot of things at FRB. Over the years, the work in overhead line construction has not only become his profession but also his passion.

How did you come to work in overhead line construction?

That’s a good story. I grew up in the German Democratic Republic and worked as a commercial driver after the reunification. As a commercial driver, I only transported large and heavy loads and wasn’t interested in small yogurt cups. After a time, I wanted to go in a new direction and do something new. I have always liked technology and large machinery. Through an acquaintance of mine, I got into overhead line construction as a fitter. Before that, I used to think that electricity was simply something that comes out of an electrical outlet.

What stations did you go through on your path to becoming a senior site manager?

Because of my commercial driver’s licence, I was able to work in many areas. I was capable of handling hazardous situations and learned to work at heights and install cables. More and more was added to the job and the work was always fun. After a few years, we had a discussion regarding my professional future. I was promoted from fitter to group leader, became a senior fitter, then site-managing senior fitter, then site manager and today I work as a senior site manager.

I learned the profession from the ground up and I know what it’s like to work outside.

Is it helpful for you today that you started working as a fitter back in the day?

In any case it was beneficial. I learned the profession from the ground up and I know what it’s like to work outside. There were days when the rain entered my clothing at the top and drained out at the bottom, and I asked myself what it was I was doing here. Based on such experiences, I am able to make a better assessment of many things. I know what the guys can do and who does good work for the tasks in question. During costing, I know how much time the work takes, what technology is needed and what is important in terms of safety. This helps me with construction processes and with technology and human resources allocation.

To what do you need to pay attention as a senior site manager?

Technically, everything is important: The initial discussions with the project management at the start of any construction sites, retention of subcontractors, orders, organisation and coordination. What is primarily important to me is that we do a thorough job at the office, so that there is no downtime and the fitters do not have to take any hours out of their worktime account. We ensure that the guys have the best conditions to enable them to do a great job.