After 75 years, it is a good time to look back on what has been achieved. This is all the more true when the company celebrating its 75th anniversary has grown from a one-man business to one of the most important manufacturers of clays and clay mixtures in Europe. For the Westerwald-based raw materials expert Stephan Schmidt KG, the year 2022 was marked by this sign. This was clearly noticeable at the anniversary celebration in the Dornburg-Frickhofen community centre in Hesse.
Around 130 guests gathered; family and friends as well as business partners, mayors of the surrounding communities and representatives of various chambers and associations in the region. As befits a birthday, the hosts did not miss the opportunity to greet each guest personally.
Family and business
The first part of the programme focused on the history of the family and the company. Representing the founding generation, 97-year-old grandmother Irmgard Schmidt was present. The grandchildren, who now run the company, thanked her for her active cooperation with a bouquet of flowers. She had supported her husband in administration and communication when the company was founded.
How important family cohesion has been for the success of the company to this day also became clear during the panel discussions. Changes in leadership are particularly risky for family businesses. Stephan Schmidt, who joined his father Günter Schmidt as a partner in the management in 2013, was correspondingly grateful for the family support.
However, it was also emphasised that a clear division of tasks is important for compatible family cooperation. The three siblings each have their own areas of responsibility, which they fulfil independently. Regina Schmidt is in charge of the Italian market, which is particularly important for the company. Eva Schmidt-Lustig accompanies the research activities with a focus on non-ceramic products, Advanced Clay Minerals, and is also a member of the Executive Committee.
Stephan Schmidt also expressed his special thanks to all the company‘s employees. Their great commitment, he said, had been the basis for the company‘s success over the past 75 years.
Promotion and praise
This was followed by the presentation of the Stephan Schmidt Foundation Award. This was established 25 years ago to honour outstanding scientific achievements. The prize of 2,500 euros was awarded to Jonas Weber from Schotten, a graduate of the Master‘s programme in Corporate Management at the Technical University of Central Hesse. The award-winning Master‘s thesis deals with digital marketing for building trade companies. After the award ceremony, the prize-winner remained on stage immediately and explained his thesis to the audience.
The company‘s training and promotion system also played a role in Ulrich Heep‘s laudatory speech. The President of the Limburg Chamber of Industry and Commerce also emphasised the company‘s commitment in the social sector as well as in the Chamber of Industry and Commerce. This was honoured with the presentation of the Chamber‘s certificate of honour.
The protection and preservation of the environment was not neglected either. It was reported that on the occasion of the anniversary a project had been launched to plant 75,000 climate- and pest-resistant trees in the region. The project had received a great response and enthusiastic participation. The comment that it was not known whether the target had not been missed by a long way, since far more than 75,000 trees had been planted in the meantime, was cause for amusement. had already been reached or even exceeded, since no one had counted exactly. Nevertheless, a sapling was prepared for each guest to take home and plant.
Ending on a good note
The evening was rounded off by a multi-course meal with musical accompaniment and a tasting of the house‘s own whisky with 35-million-year-old water stored in the Westerwald clay. After dessert, hosts and guests sang the traditional Steiger song „Glück auf“ together.