Dr. Thomas Sawitowski
What did you do before you joined ACTEGA Rhenania?
From starting at BYK in April 2003, I worked until July 2009 as Product Group Manager Nanotechnology. We developed nanotechnology-based products and also filed several patent applications for BYK in the field of nanotechnology. As Business Line Manager Coating Additives, I was responsible for the global sales of BYK coating additives, the associated end uses, and the training of the paint laboratory assistants in Wesel between July 2009 and September 2013.
I studied Chemistry at the University of Essen, after a chemical laboratory technician apprenticeship at Th. Goldschmidt AG, which is today part of EVONIK. I worked for many years here at Tego Chemie Service GmbH. After I completed my university education in 1999 with a PhD in Inorganic Chemistry, I was the managing partner of a start-up company which developed technologies for the functionalization of implant surfaces.
You have participated in a personnel development program at ALTANA. What kind of content have you been taught and how could you personally benefit from your participation?
One year after I started at ALTANA, I had the opportunity to participate in the Management Development Program (mdp), an international personnel development initiative. The training content was unique and the opportunity to develop an international network of contacts across ALTANA was unparalleled. The modules addressed important topics from the areas of personnel management, project management and also company performance. The application of these topics makes up a significant part of my daily work activities today.
How did ALTANA support your career progression?
During my previous internal move at BYK, I was supported by an external coaching program that lasted approximately one year. That made the transition considerably easier for me. The final move to ACTEGA Rhenania was made very easy due to the great openness and the support of my new colleagues.
How international were your positions you have held so far?
All my positions at ALTANA – product group management, the leadership role in the coating additives business line, and the managing director activities at ACTEGA Rhenania – are associated with international work. At its peak, 30 – 40 % of my work time was spent traveling, though today the figure is substantially lower. By and large, international work is both exhilarating and taxing at the same time, but, above all else, the contact with other cultures, viewpoints and ways of thinking makes this job extremely interesting.