Heiko Stuhl has decades of experience as our PPG colleague and so many responsibilities that your head would explode from it. His day-to-day activities go lightyears beyond his official position of director of industrial segment operations manufacturing coatings EMEA. How does Heiko juggle around his duties, while also being a devoted father and husband to his family? We'll leave the explaining part to him.
Home Is Where the Heart Is
Heiko Stuhl, a local of Wuppertal, oversees several of our sites in Germany. Given his extensive responsibilities, it's hard for him to describe his role in just one sentence.
As the operations director of the Industrial Segment, Heiko is responsible for sites in Weingarten, Zuffenhausen, Ditzingen, as well as the three facilities of PPG Hemmelrath located in Klingenberg, Erlenbach, and Elsenfeld. At these facilities, Heiko holds the position of plant manager.
Finally, he also acts as the business liaison between supply chain operations and the business lead in the EMEA (Europe, Middle East, and Africa) region. As Heiko confirms, a lot of parallel jobs lie on his shoulders, bringing significant responsibility. But he is undaunted, as PPG is in his blood.
Heiko has had a strong presence of PPG in his life since the very beginning, as already his father built a long career in our company. As a boy, he often visited his dad at work.
Heiko's father on the very right with his PPG colleagues back in 1989
Growing Together with His Company
During many years in our company, Heiko witnessed a lot of changes, including the acquisitions and closures of sites. He started his career at the Wuppertal site in the operations department.
What I valued the most about working here was the immense growth potential. If you're willing to work on yourself, PPG will give you the opportunity and space to do so.
Heiko grew at the automotive site in Wuppertal as a supply chain team leader, planning team leader, and supply chain manager. Later on, he took the chance to move on to our Industrial Coatings business!
"That was a big step out of my comfort zone. I worked as the supply chain leader in EMEA, and two years later, I returned to my home plant of Wuppertal as its manager."
Heiko's first huge career challenge was the closure of the Wuppertal plant. He had been close to this place since his early years, and many people he had known for a long time were still working there.
"We had to figure out how to not lose some of the key players who had already invested a lot of their life and skill at the Wuppertal plant. And I am very happy that many of them stayed with us as colleagues in different functions."
On the other hand, during Heiko's career, our company has also made some significant acquisitions. Heiko explains that these are not only key to broadening the portfolio of our possibilities as a company but also that acquiring new brands is an opportunity to "bring diversity, new ideas and energy, and a different way of working."
To ensure a bright future for his field of work, Heiko is currently engaged in making the paint and chemical industry more attractive to young people.
A lot of the experienced people in our facilities will be retiring in the upcoming years. We need to be prepared, so we are developing programs and internships for young talents.
The Three T's that Lead to Success
As one gets immersed in Heiko's story, one question naturally emerges: how does he manage all this? Apparently, Heiko's background in sports has given him a significant life lesson that he leverages to this day.
"Just like in handball, we are only successful if we work as a team. We need to be perfectly organized, disciplined, and respect each other."
A key ingredient to success is also trust—this is the motor of enthusiasm and faith even in challenging situations. "One of the core values of our company is that we can make it happen together as a team. And a team without trust just cannot work."
Heiko had to learn not just to manage the teams he was a part of, but also to ensure that the communication between departments around him was on point. To achieve this, he had to grow as a person and realize that asking for help when you need it is perfectly fine, and that it can often lead you to success.
This dedication to improvement extends beyond his professional life. Balancing an intense career with personal life demands utmost discipline and time management.
Devoting an hour daily solely to myself has been crucial. Exercise and recharging in the mornings became non-negotiable. My career often tempted me to burn the midnight oil, neglecting family time.
Heiko acknowledges the pivotal role of his family, particularly his supportive wife, Jessica, and two boys, in his life's trajectory. Their limited time together spurred Heiko to cultivate a healthier schedule, grounding him in the realization that his family is the driving force behind his endeavors.