Ariane Wyen, Managing Director OHB Czechspace. © OHB

Pioneering work for OHB-Czechspace

Interview with Ariane Wyen, Managing Director of OHB Czechspace s.r.o, on the challenges facing the OHB Group’s new Czech company

In mid-November 2018, OHB Czechspace s.r.o commenced its operations in Brno in the Czech Republic. OHB engineer Ariane Wyen was appointed Managing Director of OHB Czechspace. In an interview, the 32-year-old describes the new OHB Group company’s start-up phase and the challenges of learning Czech.

I have always been keen on doing this kind of pioneering work and my colleagues in Bremen are a role model for me.

Ariane Wyen, Managing Director Czechspace

Ariane, your new position is clearly a great challenge. What made you decide to take over the management of Czechspace?

Ariane Wyen: At Czechspace, we are addressing structural analysis and design, system engineering and structural hardware sourcing. As I had worked as a systems engineer in this field at OHB for the past six years, I decided to apply for this position. And my application was successful. I am very much looking forward to this exciting challenge.

With what motivation are you embarking on this challenge?

Wyen: With a very personal one. I was very impressed by the stories told by my colleagues Harald Segelke and Dieter Wilker. Both gentlemen have been with OHB for more than three decades and have accompanied the company from the very beginning. In the early days, when OHB still had a small team, all-rounders with a hands-on mentality were in demand. It was all about building up a company from scratch – and that’s exactly the same challenge that my team and I now face in the Czech Republic. I have always been keen on doing this kind of pioneering work and my colleagues in Bremen are a role model for me. Now I have an opportunity of doing this.

Is this not tinged with sadness?

Wyen: Oh yes, indeed. I am very sad that I can no longer see my fantastic coworkers in Bremen every day. And, of course, I would have liked to have been with the SARah project to the end.

Is Brno now going to be the new center of your life?

Wyen: I’m looking for an apartment in Brno, but my main place of life will continue to be Bremen for the time being.

Bremen or Brno, what city is better do you think?

Wyen: Brno reminds me a lot of Bremen. With a tram line running through the middle of the city. There are also first-class restaurants and bars – I feel very comfortable in Brno and look forward to exploring the Czech Republic more closely over the next few years. However, my heart still beats for Bremen of course.

Do you speak Czech?

Wyen: No, but I want to learn the language. I’ve already bought two books and downloaded five apps. My first intensive course is scheduled for February. I am determined to learn the language, even though it is considered to be very difficult. But some Czechs have already smiled kindly at me and told me not to even to bother trying to learn it. (laughs)

How big is the Czechspace team in Brno?

Wyen: Currently we are a five-strong team consisting of Czechs and Slovaks. The team will grow to 20 to 25 employees by the end of 2020. There is a strong interest in jobs. We are currently recruiting in procurement, system engineering and product assurance and have received an incredible number of applications. We will certainly soon be able to bring many highly qualified colleagues into the OHB fold.

Have you received any initial orders yet?

Wyen: Yes, and we are very proud of that. Among other things, we are involved in an ESA study for engineering a process for the development of multifunctional printed satellite components.

What is your vision for Czechspace, where would you like to go with the company?

Wyen: I would like to establish Czechspace as a company in the field of structural engineering and of course gain further orders. We want to work as partners with Czech companies in 2019 and forge alliances with Czech universities. In the long term, further business areas are to be added.



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