Mechanical engineering instead of teaching – A dream job by chance
They research electromobility, design huge industrial plants, develop software that enables production plants to communicate with each other, and even work in the most remote places in the world: engineers ensure progress - and hardly any job is as multifaceted as theirs. During the official "Engineers Week" we focus on their pioneering spirit and showcase the various fields of our engineers’ work. For example Britta Mehring: She had once considered becoming a teacher, then discovered her passion for construction.
Her career began with a working student position at the Occupational Safety and Health department at thyssenkrupp and continued with a master’s thesis at the Additive Manufacturing Center. Britta Mehring then went on to work as a mechanical development engineer for MULTI, the ropeless elevator. We talked to her about her passion for mechanical construction, her fascination for ropeless elevators and her very own journey towards her dream job.
She has her heart set on construction, a fact that quickly becomes clear during the conversation. Analyzing and questioning products has a fascination of its own for Britta Mehring. “I’ve always wanted to understand how everything fits together. What is connected, how does it work and what can still be improved? These questions are part of my everyday work and I have the chance to explore them daily now,” summarizes the mechanical development engineer. For more than four months now, she has been working for thyssenkrupp Elevator on the MULTI – the world’s first ropeless elevator that moves horizontally and vertically.
Sometimes plan B proves to be the right solution
She discovered her passion for large machines by accident. “Just like many others, I considered becoming a teacher. However, the interest in that job was huge. Therefore, I decided to look for something else. Eventually, I ended up in a company for large gears,” explains the 26-year-old. This experience sparked her passion for large machines. A 180-degree turnaround, which the young engineer does not regret. After her internship, it was clear to her that she was going to study mechanical engineering. No sooner said than done. She started studying at the Ruhr University in Bochum with a focus on construction and automation technology, and then by another lucky circumstance she joined thyssenkrupp.
Via augmented reality to thyssenkrupp
“I wrote my bachelor thesis on Augmented and Virtual Reality with a big automotive company. The Occupational Health and Safety department of thyssenkrupp Elevator planned a project using this technology. With my experience I was able to help them on this project and got offered a working student position,” explains Mehring. After a year and a half, however, she moved on to another area. She completed her master’s thesis in the field of additive manufacturing at the TechCenter in Mülheim. “The project was mainly about the product development process using additive manufacturing, 3D printing. Of course, this was very exciting, because this field is very new and innovative.” After completing her studies, Mehring pursued her career at thyssenkrupp. “After my studies, I knew that I wanted to go back to construction and mechanical engineering. I simply wanted to do something for development again, where you get to work on products.”
Hence, it is not surprising that the engineer was finally drawn to MULTI, one of thyssenkrupp Elevators’ most innovative products. “The MULTI is in itself very fascinating because it revolutionizes the concept of the conventional elevator. For me, as an engineer, it is particularly exciting that the product is still in the development phase. This allows me to learn a lot, but also to contribute my knowledge.” In her team, she has several opportunities to do so, because she is not only dealing with the product in theory but especially in practice.
Flat hierarchies and much diversity
“What I appreciate about the MULTI team is that you can try things out even though you don’t have as much experience as other colleagues. You are taken seriously and you are appreciated for your fresh view”, adds Mehring. When asked whether she is something exceptional as a woman in the MULTI team, she just waves it away with a laugh – this is standard here. Diversity and flat hierarchies are a part of working here.” In our team, it does not matter whether you are a man or a woman, or what country you come from. I believe that mixed groups, not only in terms of gender but also in terms of different cultures, are generally much more productive”.
In the meantime, around 50 people work on the MULTI in Sielmingen and Essen. “The team spirit here is of course incredibly great. We are working on a vision, on a product that will revolutionize the mobility of the future. That naturally brings people together,” sums up the 26-year-old. Only one small shortcoming remains. “If you grew up in the middle of the Ruhr area, you will naturally miss it. Stuttgart is beautiful, of course, especially nature. Nevertheless, the Ruhr area has its charm.