I have been a member of the Association of German Engineers (VDI) since studying at the University of Stuttgart. As a member, I received the VDI’s news journal along with two other technical journals free of charge and had the opportunity to attend conferences at a discount. Even back then, I was very interested by the discussion this facilitated. After completing my studies and through my job at the University of Stuttgart’s Institute of Energy Economics and Rational Energy Use, I became the institute’s representative in the VDI’s Working Group on Energy and Environmental Management. The working group is supervised by full-time staff of the VDI, but the main input is provided by the members of the working groups on a voluntary basis.

What does a working group do, and what do you personally get out of being involved in one?

Representatives from industry, research, associations and standardization institutes are active in the working groups and develop guidelines, status reports and statements on the relevant specialist topics dealt with by those working groups. They also organize conferences. This affords you the opportunity to actively contribute yourself, but also to benefit from the vast experience of the other members. Along the way, I have gained not only allies, but also new friends.

All in all, I have now been active in the VDI for over 16 years. Initially I was a member of the Working Group on Energy and Environmental Management, then chairman of a guidelines committee, and for several years I have been the head of the Working Group on Energy and Environmental Management. In late 2020, I was elected to serve as chairman of the VDI Society for Energy and Environment (VDI GEU) (VDI Society for Energy and Environment | VDI) for the next three years by its advisory board, thus becoming the successor to Prof. Harald Bradke from the Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research ISI.

Over the years, I have been able – through this involvement in the VDI – to actively participate in current discussions and papers and to contribute not only my own experience, but also the knowledge of my colleagues. I would like to thank both the University of Stuttgart and Fichtner for supporting and also enabling my involvement in the VDI.

Presently the VDI’s emphasis is on the focus topic ‘1.5° – Innovations.Energy.Climate’ (Energy and Environment: the 1.5-degree target | VDI). It is precisely on this subject that Fichtner can make a significant contribution to the current discussions, and I encourage those who are also interested in this to contact me.