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A full order book – A plant engineering company from Hoppegarten is hiring instead of short-time working

There were clear company guidelines for dealing with each other and shifts were staggered. Instead of short-time work, the Management in Hoppegarten have increased their staff numbers, due to the good order situation, which will fill the books for several months to come..


Flying sparks on the steel colossus: Waldemar Michalak (left) and Waldemar
Netkowski working on a steel yoke for the Schlesisches Tor underground station in
Berlin. Heckmann GmbH has to produce a total of three kilometres of such girders for
the 750 metre stretch. © Foto: Dirk Schaal


In an interview: A MOZ video team interviewed Managing Director Jens Freitag (left)
about the current situation during the Corona crisis. © Foto: Dirk Schaal

Dirk Schaal/ 3 June 2020, 5:00 am – updated 9 June 2020, 12:28 pm

Hoppegarten (MOZ) – Jens Freitag, managing director of Heckmann GmbH &amp; Co. KG in Hoppegarten, answers the question of whether the company is suffering from the current corona pandemic with a short and concise “no”. Just a brief smile flits across his face, then he adds almost apologetically: “I know that this is unusual. There are many companies that are on the brink of collapse because of the current situation”.

He was lucky with his company, he said, and he does not want to leave the statement as it stands. “Of course, a certain amount of luck is part of it. But through good and conscientious work, we have also created a reputation for ourselves that is certainly helpful when it comes to awarding contracts,” says Freitag. In addition, the company has been awarded long-term projects from the public sector, which give the company security even in difficult times.


Heckmann GmbH &amp; Co. KG Corona

Nevertheless, Freitag emphasises that they have prepared themselves. There were clear company guidelines for dealing with each other and shifts were staggered. Instead of short-time work, the management in Hoppegarten have increased their headcount due to the good order situation which will fill the books for several months to come. Work is also being outsourced within the group of companies, and more affected locations are benefiting from this. In the event of a corona case, the entire area would immediately be sent to a 14-day quarantine. In the case of a later unconfirmed suspicion, this has already been practised with two employees on full pay.

Freitag sees the corona crisis as confirmation of his choice of suppliers and service providers, who have proven to be “ever reliable partners” even during this period. The Heckmann group of companies has developed over 40 years into a medium- sized mechanical and plant engineering company with nine locations and more than 550 employees. Around 50 employees work in the Hoppegarten industrial estate, and the number is constantly increasing. Steel and metal construction is the focus of activities there. The branch was established in 1984 in Lankwitz, at that time West Berlin. In 2001 the space there became too narrow. A structural expansion, which was necessary due to the growing business, was not possible there. While searching, the company came across a commercial property in Hoppegarten, in Digitalstrasse 15: “There were already buildings and plenty of space available, which also represented a reasonable location with a view to the future,” says Freitag. Hentered

the company in 1999 and has been managing director since 2014. It is not without pride that he lets the numbers speak for themselves: While in 2000 the company’s turnover was four to six million Deutschmarks, it is currently at six to nine million euros. Freitag does not fear a significant drop in turnover this year either.

On the contrary, the company is growing. Next year, a new steel construction hall for loads of up to 70 tonnes is planned for the property next door.

Huge rivets in the York bridges

Heckmann has just renovated the seven York bridges made of steel in Berlin. Following the historical model, all bridge parts were joined together with the huge rivets. “Sometimes we get old building documents, but often we have to reconstruct the structural elements ourselves using the existing parts. It becomes more difficult, but not impossible, when we have to refurbish parts that have already been dismantled. But so far, we have completed all orders satisfactorily,” Freitag explains. They have made a name for themselves in the restoration of historical steel structures. At present, angle grinders in the Hoppegarten steel construction hall are spraying swarms of sparks for the renovation measures at the Berlin underground station Schlesisches Tor. 700 metres of fixed track system have to be renewed. 55-year-old Jens Freitag has a wish for a renovation project: “It doesn&#39;t have to be the Eiffel Tower, but the Berlin Radio Tower would be interesting for us,” he says with a laugh.

“Despite of Corona” (“Corona zum Trotz”) is the name of a new series by Märkisches Medienhaus in cooperation with the Frankfurt (Oder) Chamber of Crafts in the East Brandenburg region, where companies are presented.