Exactly 30 years separate Ralf Reindanz (left) and Patrick Kaufmann (right). And even though the world has changed dramatically in three decades, it is precisely their age difference that brings the two men together. Reindanz (63) worked for Continental for almost 40 years. Before he retired in May 2016, he was Energy Manager at Phoenix Compounding Technology in Waltershausen. Now Patrick Kaufmann (33), who joined ContiTech in 2014, has taken over this role. For two and a half years, the two men shared an office, working together, talking to one another, and working with their ten-strong team to tackle every challenge that arose. The basic idea was to ensure a smooth transition. “And we succeeded, which was important,” says Reindanz. After all, the Energy Manager is responsible for making sure that all production shops at the Waltershausen plant are supplied with electricity, gas, water, and air – without which operations would soon come to a halt. So how did the two of them make a success of a situation that elsewhere has often led to conflict? “We had plenty of time,” they say. Time to get to know each other, time to recognize that every age has its advantages and that they complement each other well. “Mr. Kaufmann is a real computer whiz,” says Reindanz. “I only learned as much about computing as I needed to.” And you can hear the respect in Kaufmann’s voice when he says, “Mr. Reindanz has it all in his head.” He laughs and adds, “It was my job to get it out again.” And he succeeded. Reindanz was happy to share his store of knowledge. So now there are also diagrams – created by Patrick Kaufmann – showing where the different cables run in Waltershausen, a first in the long history of the plant. “For me it’s a good feeling to know that I was able to pass on my knowledge and that everything is still running smoothly without me,” says Ralf Reindanz.