People are what matter most to Hans-Martin Rudolph – and his career, which has taken him to many countries, has been characterised by interpersonal encounters. Also in his voluntary work through his function in the workers’ council up to the position of chairman of the workers’ council, he put people in first place. “Curiosity.” That is Hans-Martin Rudolph’s clear answer to the question of what defines him personally.

His studies in “Business Administration Foreign Trade/Foreign Languages” already reflected his interest in foreign countries and the people who live there. During his studies, he applied for a permanent position at the LAPP subsidiary Contact GmbH in the export department and was accepted. He travelled to many countries, visited customers, trained employees and attended trade fairs.

Twice he tries his luck in other companies, but both times he returns rather quickly. “The working atmosphere is important to me, and at LAPP the atmosphere is right. In other companies I was rather unhappy in this respect,” Hans-Martin Rudolph says. “The other thing that brought me back was that I was offered more responsibility both times. I was happy to be lured by that.”

38 years with LAPP – curiosity drives him on

His curiosity was also evident in other respects: He got involved in digitalisation at LAPP at an early stage, when there were no PCs and SAP in the company yet. “That was important to me, to always think outside the box of what is happening now,” explains Hans-Martin Rudolph. “I am proud that I was able to help shape such a central issue as the introduction of IT.”

Equally progressive: when his daughter was born in the nineties, he reduced his working hours to 80 % to do his part in raising the child. Unusual at the time, but a matter of course for him – and for LAPP, too.

His social nature is also evident in his career: “I was actually always a rather shy, quiet man,” says Hans-Martin Rudolph, “but I learned that you also have to be tough sometimes and bang the drum if you want to stand up for the interests of the employees.” While still at Contact, he was elected to the workers’ council and eventually became its chairman. And even when he moved from Contact GmbH to U.I. Lapp GmbH in 2004, he continued this commitment with heart and soul.

And now, at the end of his career at LAPP? Hans-Martin Rudolph has already trained his successor – and yet has not stopped his own learning process. “Lifelong learning has always been my motto,” says Hans-Martin Rudolph, “I am now 65, but this year I have again done a handful of training courses that LAPP makes possible for its employees. It’s never too late for that, and it’s also necessary, because the world changes quickly and you always have to adapt.” In his retirement, he therefore wants to remain curious and active, with concrete plans for social engagement. And he will probably ride his bike more often in the future – he made first place in this year’s LAPP Climate Commute Challenge and won an e-bike for saving the most CO2 emissions. “I was really happy about the prize – a nice way to finish the last few metres towards retirement.”

Ready for the future with OneLAPP

Even if LAPP has to do without his participation and his store of experience in the future, he is not worried about that. “LAPP is a large company with many different locations and national companies, so there are differences in detail, naturally,” says Hans-Martin Rudolph. “But I have experienced time and time again that everyone pulls together when it is important – for our values and for constructive cooperation. But this is something that has been around at LAPP for a long time, they’ve just given it a name now: OneLAPP.”

He is therefore optimistic about the future of LAPP: “I have a very good feeling about it. The management we currently have has economic vision and also the social competence to hire and keep the best people here. So I’m leaving with a smile on my face – but the people here,” he says with a tear in his eye, “I’ll certainly miss them.”