The Baden company founder and Chairman of the Management Board Dr.-Ing. E.h. Martin Herrenknecht has been awarded the Deutscher Gründerpreis 2013 in the category of Life‘s Work. He received the award, which is one of the most important awards for outstanding entrepreneurs in Germany, on Tuesday 25th of June. During the award ceremony in the presence of important guests from the world of business and politics, the expert jury acknowledged Martin Herrenknecht as a „true entrepreneurial personality who has accomplished a pioneering achievement“.
In his laudatory speech, Matthias Müller, Chairman of the Board of Management of Porsche AG, honored the pioneering achievement of Martin Herrenknecht, but it was obvious to all present that Martin Herrenknecht does not consider his achievements to be over by a long chalk. Among other things Matthias Müller said: „Those who meet him are immediately aware of his extraordinary vitality, his energy, the pleasure he derives from what he does, coupled with a sense of responsibility and, of course, he is very down to earth. Indeed, he possesses all the qualities needed by an entrepreneur who not only enjoys short-term business success, but also long-term achievements.“ Representing the jury of experts, Müller also praised the generous social commitment of the entrepreneur, which includes encouraging business start-ups and a spirit of innovation.
Accepting the award at the ZDF television studios in Berlin, Martin Herrenknecht said, visibly moved: „I am very excited about this award. It honors my mother who believed me from the beginning and equipped me with the necessary start-up capital. This award is just as much for my family, who has often been neglected by me and yet has still always stood by me. And finally, the award honors the loyalty and hard work of my staff, who have made the company Herrenknecht a champion on the world market.“ Martin Herrenknecht also thanked Prof. Dr. h.c. Lothar Späth who - as Chairman of Herrenknecht AG‘s Supervisory Board for 14 years - made sure that the company was able to master the process of globalization successfully.
The Deutscher Gründerpreis is awarded each year in the categories Schools, StartUps, Climbers and Life’s Work. It recognizes entrepreneurial role models whose companies are at various stages. The Deutscher Gründerpreis is awarded by the partners stern, Sparkassen, ZDF and Porsche.
Initially, Martin Herrenknecht set out on his own with his engineering firm in 1975 and developed the first machine types MH 1 to 3 for mechanized pipe jacking. Two years later he founded Herrenknecht GmbH in nearby Schwanau, with a start-up capital of DM 25,000 which he borrowed from his mother. In 1998, Herrenknecht GmbH was converted into a stock corporation, and Martin Herrenknecht has been the Chairman of the Board of Management since then. Herrenknecht AG has around 5,000 employees, trains more than 200 young people and generated a total operating performance of 1,135 million euros in 2012. The family business is the world leader in mechanized tunnelling technology. Martin Herrenknecht has already received numerous awards and prizes, including an honorary doctorate from the Technical University of Braunschweig in 1998 and the Cross of Merit, 1st Class of the Federal Republic of Germany in 2007.