Life means change – one has to let go of the old in order for something new to be created. It was in this spirit that Jürgen Barthauer passed the BARTHAUER GROUP entirely into the hands of his long-standing business partner and co-creator Anis Saad on 31 July 2018. Saad is now responsible for the future of the group of companies with more than 50 employees.
Company succession is a prevailing topic these days. Especially among SMEs, it is no longer under-stood that the children of company founders will follow in their parents’ footsteps. They may want to blaze their own trails through hitherto unexplored territory. That was the case with Jürgen Barthauer. The graduate engineer from Braunschweig struck out on his own directly after completing his course of studies in 1982, and laid the foundation for what is now the BARTHAUER GROUP. Meanwhile the group includes four companies in Germany and Tunisia, with more than 50 employees.
The development of database-driven software solutions for municipal infrastructure management and water management, aimed at the national as well as the international market, turned the former one-man operation into today’s successful and profitable enterprise. “Things did not always go smoothly on the long journey to get here,” is how Barthauer sums it up. “All entrepreneurs go through that. I experienced highs and lows with the company in my 36 years of independence. But I was always able to rely on my employees. Many of them have been here for ten, 15 and even more than 25 years. Anis has been with us for more than a quarter of a century too.”
The graduate information scientist first worked for BARTHAUER as a student trainee in September of 1991. He has been loyal to the company ever since. With his visionary and positive nature, he advanced the software and the business. From student trainee to full-time employee, his dedica-tion soon earned him a promotion to head of research and development. Then Jürgen Barthauer made him co-manager in 2015. “As an information scientists, I rely on zeroes and ones. But as a person, I count on family solidarity. Although we may not be related, we at BARTHAUER are a family, and you do not let your family down,” emphasises Saad, father of two. “When Jürgen Barthauer offered me the company as his successor, I did not hesitate. It is a big responsibility, but I believe in our products and services, and especially in the potential of the employees.”
Future challenges include the rapid advance of digitalisation, growing smart cities and also artificial intelligence.
Saad believes his team is positioned favourably to meet these challenges, and he looks forward to the developments that will come over time. Aside from technical progress, personal contact is very important to him. “I want to network with people in the industry. To share experiences, learn new things, see circumstances from a different perspective and make an impact together,” says the 50-year-old.
Trade fair presentations at IFAT, INTERGEO, iro and RO-KA-TECH have become a matter of course in the meantime, along with the in-house user conferences with themes related to BaSYS, BARTHAUER’s flagship product. Actively participating and contributing to workgroups such as the DWA and GWP has become second nature as well. “Being intimately familiar with and understanding the needs of operators and users, municipalities and associations, utilities and disposal companies, and making a contribution to development is important to me,” says Saad.
The changing of the guard will be duly celebrated at the traditional Gewandhaus guildhall in Braunschweig with all employees, long-time business partners and friends. Saad and Barthauer wish to dispense with the gifts that are common on such occasions. Instead they ask for a donation to a charitable organisation that helps underprivileged children. “Investments in educating the next generation always pay off. And who knows, maybe one of the children we can help today is a colleague of tomorrow who solves our problems,” Saad says with a smile. Long-term thinking, sustainable planning, enjoying work and having fun in life. That is Saad’s strategy for the next BARTHAUER generation.