HomeWork features AHAM members’ insights on careers, success, life outside of work, and AHAM membership. This month, we spoke with Manfred Staebler, Vice President, Government Affairs for BSH Home Appliances Corporation, North America, a member of the AHAM Board of Directors, and numerous technical and policy committees. Manfred was also a 2018 recipient of the AHAM’s Home Appliance Industry Leadership Award.
What personal and professional goals are you currently pursuing?
With weeks left to retirement, one of my goals is to leave my position without creating a disruption in my company. It is a good feeling to know my successor will continue where I left off and add new and fresh ideas to the job.
One of my personal goals is to live a healthy lifestyle, stay active and explore, together with my spouse, the wonderful places of the U.S. and Canada I have not seen yet.
But my most important goal is to live a content life, enjoying what I have and not yearning to accumulate more stuff to fill my house or garage. The downsizing we did with our move to the Western part of the country and lack of storage space in our new home is actually a great help here.
What are your secrets to having a productive day?
For me it is how I start the day. Ever since I can remember, my spouse and I always have had breakfast together, even if it meant getting up at 4 a.m. because I had to go on a business trip. A positive mindset at the beginning of the day gave me the power not to sweat the small stuff.
Predict an appliance or other innovation that will revolutionize the next generation.
I can’t conceptualize what it would be, but innovations in the area of privacy and data security that will make the use of passwords and security questions obsolete is my guess. I think of the confused look on the faces of future generations when told of the days of having three pages of passwords and using a mix of upper and lower case letters, numbers and symbols that require an update every six weeks just to see the summary on your frequent flyer account.
How did you come to work in the appliance industry?
Pure luck. When I came to the U.S. I did work on the relocation of Bosch Power Tools. My kids were teenagers and were in their last years of college. A relocation during that phase in my kids’ lives was difficult. BSH Home Appliances started at the same location where Bosch left, so I applied for a job. And here I am.
What do you gain from your involvement in AHAM?
I gained a lot of knowledge about the appliance industry. During the HRF-1 standard development, I toured UL, CSA and ETL test labs, learning a lot about appliance testing from other AHAM members. Also, participating in the technical committees and the Special Engineering Task Force gave me deeper insight into the appliance world. But above all, the working relationship with other AHAM members was always very professional, respecting each other as competitors without sacrificing the personal relationships. I wish we could also get to that in our political environment, respecting different viewpoints without destroying personal relationships.
Outside of the appliance industry, what would be your dream job?
I like the outdoors and animals, so I have actually two dream jobs: One would be a tour guide, meeting people and showing them nice places. The other would be a farmer. But wait, there would not be any off-time, no vacation, no sleeping in…I think I will drop the farmer job. My new dream job will actually be retiree.