Motto: “If you don't go forwards you go backwards.”
Date: 31.08.2017 | ID: PI170857 | Download: Motto: “If you don't go forwards you go backwards.” PI170857 (PDF) | Author(s): Jürgen Benitz-Wildenburg
Window professor Ulrich Sieberath turns 60
Based on his motto: “If you don't go forwards you go backwards.” “Window Professor” Ulrich Sieberath celebrates his 60th birthday still full of energy and new ideas for the window industry. After a carpentry apprenticeship in Essen and the study of wood technology in Rosenheim, his thirst for knowledge led him to the Institut für Fenstertechnik in 1982. For the past 35 years, he characterizes the ift Rosenheim as internationally recognized window expert and has contributed significantly with his spirit of research and the sense for partical solutions to the vision and success of ift Rosenheim. Since 2004, he is head of the institute and runs together with Dr. Jochen Peichl the business. In this time, the number of employees as well as the turnover have nearly tripled. For the next years, Prof. Sieberath wants to stand up for the strengthening of the international positioning of ift Rosenheim and the coaching of the junior staff. We wish him success, fun and healthiness.
Prof. Ulrich Sieberath was born in Essen in 1957. His father ran a flourishing window manufacturing company that he should take over. Therefore, the career and the apprenticeship as carpenter were almost determined. After a time as Journeyman, in 1978, his thirst for knowledge moved him for the study of wood technology to Rosenheim, the “Mecca” of window technology. After obtaining the diploma with the thesis “Inspection of different ventilation devices without mechanical drive” at ift Rosenheim, the career decision had to be made:
Either taking over the family business or commitment to the complete window industry at ift Rosenheim. Besides his desire to discover and explore something new, the love has induced him to stay in Bavaria.
As usual at ift Rosenheim, the new graduate engineer Ulrich Sieberath quickly assumed responsibility. He was head of the department doors. In this role, he devoted himself from the beginning to the new subject “burglar resistance”. In addition to lectures and seminars on burglar resistance and security, he participated with his expertise in standardization committees and in the “Fox-Club”. His scientific curiosity led to a number of research projects that served as profound basis for the first “burglar standards”. Therefore, Prof. Ulrich Sieberath can be called with a good conscience the father of the modern burglary protection. Within the next few years, he worked in all test areas of the former ift Rosenheim and acquired, also with many research projects, a vast knowledge that still enables him nowadays a holistic assessment and a practical solutions of problems – such as questions regarding standardization and testing or even in the development of new technologies and products.
Consequently, the former Director of Institute Prof. Josef Schmid assigned him the job to develop an entirely new and modern European product standard for windows and external doors with the EN 14351-1. As long-time chairman of the standards committee TC 33 WG1, he still ensures that the performance principle is in the foreground. Thus, a dynamic development was initiated, where the performance characteristics and the quality of windows and doors were constantly improved with new designs.
So, we are at another “hobbyhorse” of Prof. Sieberath: the improvement of the quality and serviceability. In 1995, he took over the development and management of the ift certification body. Not only legally required surveillances were organised, but also the certification and surveillance of quality management systems according to ISO 9001ff. In addition, ift product certifications were developed at an early stage to support committed manufacturer in improving the product quality and to monitor these as an independent body. These activities are the basis that the name and the logo of ift Rosenheim are considered as trademark for reliable and practicable quality. The “window professor” Ulrich Sieberath stood and stands always for quality with a sense of perspective that considers the concerns of consumers and manufacturers alike resulting in a level of quality that is also affordable.
Since 1989, he shares his extensive and profound knowledge in the subjects materials science and window/facade technology to the students of the Rosenheim University of Applied Sciences – first as a lecturer and since 2012 as a professor. Along with countless lectures, guest lectures and seminars as well as expert talks on the topics windows, facades, glass, doors and gates. This lively and intensive exchange with people from different cultures, professional background and age was certainly a reason that he has obtained his fresh and unprejudiced view. This allows him, as a long-standing member of the IHK-examination board (Chamber of Industry and Commerce), a realistic assessment of the technical and human competence of aspirants to sworn specialists. He gladly gives young colleagues practical tips, like: “Face the critical judgement of your wife!” or “If there are no butterflies in your stomach, the lecture will not be successful – don’t worry, you’ll make it!”
In 2004, Ulrich Sieberath and Dr. Jochen Peichl assumed the management of the ift Rosenheim as commercial manager. As long-time head of department, head of certification body and finally as assistant director of institute, the “window whisperer” was well prepared for this big challenge. Due to the acquisition of the fire testing business from LGA in Nuremberg, the consequent internationalisation and development of further test and service areas, ift Rosenheim has been continually growing and generates today over 21 million Euro in sales with nearly 200 full-time jobs. The new technology center has been added as the youngest "child" and offers with its modern testing and logistics concept for large-sized building elements the basis for the further expansion of the ift Rosenheim.
Ulrich Sieberath is not only esteemed by colleagues, customers and in standardisation circles because of his experience and expertise, but also due to his open and creative way as well as his steadfast optimism. Many times, he can already be seen in the morning strolling through the ift laboratories to chat with the ift experts about new technologies, technical issues and problems of clients. This is definitely one reason why employees and clients are gladly seeking advice of the second “window pope” and are curious about his proposed solutions, even if they may appear to be sometimes unconventional at the first glance.
Sieberath is also known for his practical, dynamic and open nature in private. His passion is his family and sports, like sailing, cycling and golf, as well as “expeditions” that led him to all continents and in many countries. He was not only interested in the country and its people, but of course also the respective building technology – from historical windows to modern facade systems. It was very important for Ulrich Sieberath that his family was always present by travel and sport. His wife Claudia is working as PR consultant and a valued advisor for all questions. He often says about him, “I gladly accept the criticism of my wife and trust her opinion”.
There is still much to tell, but there is not enough time and space here. Perhaps, interested and engaged students or contemporaries are found that want to write the story of the modern window under the direction of Prof. Sieberath. In the end, the window industry and we can only wish: “Uli, stay just as you are and keep your cool spirit and drive for common projects, whether in research, teaching, job or in private.”