The semiconductor industry has grown and evolved drastically over the past decades. One of our colleagues who has been along for the wild ride, and has grown and evolved quite a bit himself, Is Michael Sachtleben, Sales Engineer at IDE.
After earning a master’s degree in engineering and an MBA, Michael started his career at Barry Controls, a company specialized in vibration isolation systems. While there he worked with Peter Heiland, who after a short time left to found IDE. For a few years Michael did sales and marketing at Barry, all the while “fighting” with his colleague-turned-competitor over at IDE.
Eventually Peter asked Michael if he wanted to jump ship and join IDE. The timing was serendipitous, because Barry Controls had recently decided not to work with active vibration control. Michael strongly disagreed with the decision, and in general found IDE to be doing more interesting work, so he decided to go for it.
working hard and having fun
When he joined IDE, there were just five people working there. “Because there were so few of us, you had to do everything – sales, service, purchasing, and so on,” Michael says. “I was in the office in Germany two days a week and the rest of the time I was visiting customer sites all over the world – India, Saudi Arabia, the US, Greece, Switzerland, and Austria. We worked hard but it was also fun.”
Fast forward 30 years, and Michael is still happily working at IDE. He spent most of his career in sales, but now he works in the Customer Service team. He connects the technical team at IDE with customers, handling quotations and coordinating activities for the service department. “I need to know the value of what IDE can deliver but also understand customers’ complaints,” Michael says. “Fortunately, I enjoy helping people and solving problems!”
ups and downs
Work-wise things have evolved for Michael. “I’m more of a specialist than I used to be,” Michael says. “Our team is bigger now so there are other people to handle many of the tasks that I used to do by myself. I know a lot about our solutions and can help my colleagues solve problems and give them guidance when they need it. After all these years, I’ve never felt bored.”
Michael has also seen the company go through ups and downs. “We definitely had difficult periods, such as semiconductor crises when big customers were canceling orders, or when we were purchased by Aalberts and had to adjust to new ownership,” Michael says. “Now things are very stable and I don’t think we’ll see anything as bad as we saw in the past.”
Michael hopes that both he and the company keep growing steadily. “Our customers are growing, and we need a bigger service team to keep up,” Michael says. “I’d also love to see us grow our end user business, as these customers are pretty immune to economic turmoil. I’ve seen multiple crises; it’s not nice to experience! For myself, I’d like to just keep learning and getting better and better at my job.”