As the scion of a brickmaking family, Brakemeier's interest in bricks developed, so to speak, quite naturally. He took his first steps in the industry in the 1950s as an apprentice at Keller in Laggenbeck, Ibbenbüren, and as a student in Essen. After successfully graduating, he remained loyal to Keller. He was involved in setting up the newly founded subsidiary in the USA and expanding it as a supplier and builder of turnkey brickworks.
At the end of the 1970s, Brakemeier turned directly to brickmaking. He returned to his father's brickworks and converted it into a modern facing brick plant. Ten years later, he built a fully automatic clinker plant on a greenfield site in the immediate vicinity of the main factory. In 1985, he sold it again to devote himself once more to providing services for brick manufacturers. For this purpose, he founded the engineering and consulting company Keratek. In addition to the accompanying consulting of smaller and larger investment projects, the scope of services includes the practical project planning of new plants, the optimisation and automation of existing plants, and the development of new technologies. In 2013 he handed over the company to his successor Christian Gäbelein.
Even in retirement, Mr Brakemeier does not rest. He runs an industrial and commercial park on the site of his parents' disused brickworks in Hohenhameln. The tenants include many small and medium-sized enterprises as well as some private people who live there in residential houses. As a friend puts it, "Mr. Brakemeier is one of those people who never gets done with work, because everything has to be prepared for future generations and there's always something to do there."
Brakemeier's greatest merit, however, was his decades-long commitment to research and development in the brick and tile industry. After years of working on the board of directors and the advisory board of the Research Centre of the Federal Association of the German Brick and Tile Industry, Brakemeier took over the chairmanship in 1980, which he held without interruption until 2006. In this function he worked tirelessly for joint research in the brick industry, as well as a member of the board of the BVZi and the Institut für Ziegelforschung Essen e. V., from which he retired in 2015. With determination and passion he promoted it at members' meetings and advisory board meetings as well as in many individual discussions, pointing out its necessity and importance. The cooperation of brickmakers, plant engineers and scientists was always particularly important to him. The diverse and interlinked research landscape we know today is also due to Brakemeier's commitment.
The Brick and Tile Industry International, which as an industry magazine focuses on presenting the results of brick and tile research, also owes a great deal to Mr Brakemeier's commitment to brick and tile research.
We warmly congratulate Mr Brakemeier on his 80th birthday. We wish him health and happiness and all of us many more years of joint research together.