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In August 2018, Alice Göpel took over the managing director position of Goepel electronic, replacing her father Holger Göpel who had managed the company since 1991. Alice studied business administration and has been with the company since 2008. As an international sales manager, she was responsible for worldwide sales of inspection systems. In the interview, Alice discusses her career, what inspires her, and her outlook for the industry.
Stephen Las Marias: Tell us more about your company, your role, and your background.
Alice Göpel: Goepel electronic was founded in 1991. We offer test and inspection solutions for finding manufacturing defects at every stage of a product lifecycle from design to end-of-line. I started my career as a student trainee in different business units of the company. After graduating with a degree in business administration, I started working for a human resources company. In 2008, I returned to Goepel as an international sales manager for the inspection solutions division.
Las Marias: When did your interest in engineering start?
Göpel: Engineering and electronics have been a part of my life since my father founded the company. During my studies, and in my first jobs at the company, I developed an awareness for high-tech electronics and the increasing digitalization of the world and everyday life.
Las Marias: What made you decide to follow in your father’s footsteps?
Göpel: Working in the company for years has given me insights into many business units. I started to identify with the company and wanted to drive the growth.
Las Marias: If you had not joined the electronics manufacturing industry, in what career or field do you think you would be in now?
Göpel: I have always been interested in entrepreneurial issues, so this career was a logical step. Besides that, I am interested in the field of art and design. Fortunately, these things keep me busy in my spare time.
Las Marias: What inspires you in your work?
Göpel: The employees of the company inspire me. Having great colleagues and professionals around is a key for an excellent everyday working life. Meanwhile, it is challenging to work in such an innovative area. No other industry has such fast-paced dynamics and developments as the electronics industry. You never know what will come next, so you have to keep pace. This challenge and all the innovative employees inspire me in my work.
Las Marias: Worldwide, there is this continued push for the younger generation to pursue careers in STEM. What do you think of this?
Göpel: Technology, electronics, and computerized systems influence all areas of life. This means we will need more well-educated young people in the STEM field. Compared to previous generations, people now grow up using technology and electronic devices in every situation of their lives. There will be a much greater demand for young people with technical backgrounds to cope with the challenges of a high-tech world.
Las Marias: How do you think the electronics manufacturing industry should attract more young engineers to join its workforce?
Göpel: An engineered world means more electronics manufacturing. The industry can attract young people with various job chances, good career opportunities, and exciting, innovative projects.
Las Marias: Where do you see yourself five to 10 years from now?
Göpel: A glance in the crystal ball is never easy. My goal is to continue the success of the business. We want to strengthen our international position but keep the principles of the company.
Las Marias: What is your outlook for the industry?
Göpel: We face enormous growth in our industry, which will happen in the context of automation. The machines we create have to be integrated into networks and smart factories. Intelligent systems are being introduced that learn to talk to each other and give us valuable information about production processes. It will be necessary to have data centralized and standardized. Our uniform interface—PILOT Connect—as well as the Hermes standard, which we are part of, are a step in the right direction. However, one important aspect is not just collecting or transferring the data. The question has to be answered, "How can we best use this data?" Smart software will be the key to evaluate this data and draw conclusions for the manufacturing process.
Las Marias: Thank you very much, Alice.
Göpel: Thank you.