Careers at Zapp
Karen Geiger Von der Auszubildenden zur Jungingenieurin

Karen Geiger had actually intended to do an electronics apprenticeship at Zapp. But things turned out differently. After the aptitude test, she was invited to an interview. Here she was asked whether she would like to consider training to become a materials tester. It was a job title that meant nothing to Karen Geiger. So she asked for a day to think about it, went to the job center to find out what the job entailed and then said yes. Karen Geiger chuckles when she tells us how she came to her career. As she says herself, seen from today’s perspective she had a double helping of luck. First when she saw Zapp’s advertisement for apprentices in the paper, and then getting the offer to train for another career. “I finished my training in 2003 and then went to University in Islerlohn,” Karen Geiger tells us.

There she studied Engineering, specializing in Plastics Engineering. During this time, she never lost contact with Zapp. Quite the opposite: she was able to earn the money there to support herself through university. She worked as a student assistant in the test laboratory where she had done her apprenticeship. “I only finished working at Zapp as a student once I had completed my dissertation,” the 29-year-old engineer remembers. “In order to write my dissertation, I spent six months at the Plastics Institute in Lüdenscheid.”

Having then graduated, she applied to several companies, including Zapp which was always her preferred option. And once again she was in luck. The Research and Development Department was looking for someone who knew about combining plastics and metal. “I obviously had the advantage that I knew lots of people and had worked here before. But I got the job because I had excellent degree qualifications,” Karen Geiger emphasizes. And of course her combination of knowledge about steel and plastics was practically unbeatable.

The attraction is the combination of desk and laboratory work. She has now finished her first project and is currently working on new developments. This is a subject about which the young engineer suddenly goes relatively quiet. After all, she does not want to give too much away about the developments Zapp is currently working on. All she will say is that she is currently working on process optimization and at the same time is supervising a sub-project in the Zapp 2010 quality campaign. The process optimization gives her the opportunity to conduct regular experiments in the test laboratory herself, whereas the quality campaign keeps her at her desk. “I find the constant change makes the job really attractive,” she says enthusiastically. “Of course, I can’t do all the experiments in the lab myself, but if time allows or if I need a result quickly, then I am more than happy to operate the machinery.” After a few hours in the laboratory, Karen Geiger is then pleased to get back to her desk. It is important to her too that she is part of the Research and Development team. They are all “very nice colleagues”.

While she was at university, Karen Geiger often found it advantageous to have completed an apprenticeship beforehand. In Materials Science lectures, she had an enormous head start over the other students, and in other areas too she could fall back on sound knowledge acquired during her training. Today, as an engineer, she is very happy with her work at Zapp. It is her personal dream job. Outside work, Karen Geiger relaxes in the evenings by making jewelry which she gives to good friends, and at the weekends, she arranges private bowling competitions with her family. “Going to the bowling alley on Sunday mornings for a couple of games is something we do regularly,” says Karen Geiger. In the winter, she has less free time to do this, as she works as a volunteer at the ‘homeless café’ in the Reinoldi church in Dortmund. But that’s another story...

Interview with Karen Geiger, PW-DWBP