Armed with smartphones and fitness armbands, many young people nowadays monitor their diet, exercise and sleep in minute detail. This exaggerated drive for self-improvement immediately occurs to me when Jan Niklas Rotzek tells me that his day-to-day job is "to optimize". However I quickly banish these negative thoughts from my mind – because I want to talk to Jan Niklas about another, very important area of optimization, namely our energy consumption.
Jan Niklas Rotzek is studying for a doctorate at EvoBus GmbH in the Mannheim plant, with a dissertation on the "strategic importance of industrial energy efficiency". "At last, a doctoral thesis you can immediately understand," I think to myself. And indeed, Jan Niklas knows how to explain complicated technical processes in simple terms. You immediately notice one thing: for him energy efficiency is not a meaningless general term, but rather something he is completely dedicated to. This is confirmed to me by one of his colleagues whom I happen to meet in his office: "Jan Niklas is fascinated with the subject of energy management, and a real asset to the team."
Indeed he has already proved this on several occasions. He once noticed that the planned lighting routine in the bodyshop at the Mannheim plant showed irregularities: every evening all the lights in the bodyshop were once again being switched on fully after the lighting system had been shut down – consuming a great deal of energy. Jan Niklas started to investigate why, and found out that a forklift truck driver made another delivery every night, after working hours. He reacted immediately and organized a control system for the lighting with the specialist department concerned, so that only the necessary aisles are illuminated. That saves costs and resources.
Finding a way to solve a problem, and independently approaching and addressing areas of concern, are things at which Jan Niklas Rotzek excels. His colleague also praises his good social skills and dependability: "Jan Niklas is someone you can rely on, someone you enjoy working together with." Not least because of his humor. "I have no problem with laughing at myself," Jan Niklas remarks with a grin.
The energy consumption in the Mannheim bodyshop is just one of many examples in the production network of EvoBus GmbH that show the contribution made by our colleagues in energy management, and their efforts to make our production more sustainable. Although I am aware that he could tell me more for hours on end, I want to find out what sustainability means to him personally.
"Sustainability is very important to me, and for me it means as a society acting in such a way that future generations can also live well." Accordingly he also tries to act on this principle outside his professional life. "As far as possible I try to realize a sharing economy, for example I like to use carsharing arrangements." When shopping he pays attention to regional produce and compliance with ethical standards. My general impression of Jan Niklas is that he is a person with firm values and convictions who always has his eyes on the big picture.
Jan Niklas doesn't like things done by halves either in his professional or private life. He pursues everything he undertakes with high personal standards. Fit-looking and relaxed in manner, he likes to go running and has successfully completed a marathon or two. "What I like about running is that you have to stay on the ball. Otherwise it doesn't work." Self-discipline, ambition and an inner drive to get the best out of himself are what I hear as he speaks. He usually puts on his running shoes three to five times each week. "But sometimes not at all," he admits.
Otherwise this native of Lower Saxony who grew up in the Saale-Holzland area of Thuringia is no couch potato either. "I am very active in my spare time. On Saturdays I usually go and train, go on an excursion or meet up with friends. Only Sundays are usually a little quieter."
He also feels right at home in his chosen city of Mannheim. "I live right in the middle of the Quadraten estate. I get on very well with the other people in the building. There is a courtyard and a studio where we have created a peaceful little island of our own." But commuting is also part of the daily routine – for example trips to Dresden, where his PhD supervisor is located, or to see his parents and friends. But for him, home does not mean any particular place: "Home is where my heart is, and where my friends are. No particular place, but rather a feeling. You just have to have the feeling that you belong there," he adds. Jan Niklas Rotzek already learned to adapt to different environments during his childhood and youth. He always traveled a great deal with his parents, and moved house a few times. Accordingly he learned at an early age how to approach people and quickly make new acquaintances.
As a child Jan Niklas always wanted to work in the postal service, and later be a professional musician, he tells me. Life as a post office official would be too rigid for the industrial engineer now, as he dislikes fixed structures. Music, on the other hand, is still one of his great passions. In his youth Jan Niklas played the double-bass, now electric bass. "Nowadays I have to say that I see my future in an industrial company rather than in a rock band," he laughs.
Jan Niklas has never regretted his career choices. It is obvious that he enjoys his job at EvoBus and the work for his doctorate. I am impressed at the enthusiasm of his approach to energy management, and I am happy to know that people as prudent and committed as Jan Niklas Rotzek are working at EvoBus to ensure that our production is more sustainable.
For the sake of the environment, we put our buses on the road in a way that is environmentally friendly and shows awareness of finite resources. – that is the slogan expressing our responsibility in production. But, what does this actually mean? For us at Daimler Buses, responsible production means that we invest in production and processing technologies that are kind to the environment. Over and above certification of our environmental management systems according to ISO 14001, the German production locations in Neu-Ulm and Mannheim voluntarily take part in the European Eco Audit System (EMAS). Improving our energy efficiency has a special importance to which Jan Niklas Rotzek contributes with his energy management activities at the Mannheim plant.