Electrical engineer Interview with Robert Holfelder

First, Robert Holfelder trained as a mechatronics fitter at Daimler. After successfully completing his apprenticeship, he took a leave from his job in order to study mechatronics full-time. Today he is back in the company working as a development engineer for bus and communication system networks. We spoke with him about why he chose Daimler as his employer and how Daimler helped him with his reentry after his studies.

Hello Mr. Holfelder, please introduce yourself briefly to our readers.

My name is Robert Holfelder. I studied mechatronics/electrical engineering with a minor in automotive electronics at the technical Esslingen University of Applied Sciences.
Since April 2015, I am employed as development engineer for bus and communication system networks at the Sindelfingen plant.

Why did you choose Daimler as your employer?

I decided for Daimler as my employer of choice because I always wanted to work in a large company with global operations and had already done my apprenticeship at Daimler. The different areas of the company offer individual development possibilities for each employee.
I am fascinated by the great number of concomitant development projects, in which I am involved as an engineer. Another exciting aspect is that our developments are later incorporated in our model series.
What excited me during the apprenticeship and is still fascinating to me is the work collaboration across locations and countries.
The independent work and the friendly and professional work climate are also great. Here every employee is individually promoted and challenged.

Please describe your career at Daimler – from the first day in the company until today.

After getting my secondary school certificate in 2007, I decided to train as a mechatronics fitter at Daimler AG in the Sindelfingen plant because of my great interest in mechanics and electrical engineering. During the training I took part in various mechanical and electrical training courses, collected my initial programming experience and obtained the international welding license. I was able to get my first international experience during my training in the Kecskemét plant in Hungary, where I provided technical support for the local setting up process in several short assignments together with another fellow trainee. I am still fascinated by mechatronics. The combination of electrical engineering, mechanics and informatics yields broadly diversified, technically sound knowledge.
After completing the training, I took a leave from my job in order to study what I had already learned in greater depth.
I completed a one-year full-time vocational college program from which I obtained an advanced technical college certificate.
Subsequently, I studied mechatronics and electrical engineering at the Göppingen location of Esslingen University of Applied Sciences and chose automotive electronics as an added area of specialization.
I wrote my bachelor's thesis in the area of board networks at the Sindelfingen location.
After obtaining my degree, since April 2015 I have been active as development engineer in the area of bus and communication systems networks at the Sindelfingen location.

Please tell us more about your team and your current position.

The team I have been working in since April 2015 is responsible for the bus layout across all model series. Among other things, we support the LIN-, CAN-Bus, Flex Ray and Ethernet. We also take part in the work on future network architectures and perform and evaluate simulations. Another aspect of our work is to make and evaluate measurements directly at the vehicles.
My work area is the CAN physical layer. The physical layer defines the mechanical, electrical and functional attributes of a bus system. I am currently supporting five model series and one network project.
The interesting thing about the work is that no two working days are alike. Since connectivity is an interface topic I am involved in many different activities. For example, it can happen that I mainly attend meetings on different topics one day, carry out measurements directly at the vehicle on the next day and perform and evaluate different simulations on the third day. In this way, the work is always extremely varied.

After completing your vocational training, you took a leave from your job in order to study mechatronics full-time. When did you know that you would continue working for Daimler after your studies? How did Daimler support you in preparing your reentry?

During my training I came to know Daimler as a globally operating company with many different interesting activity areas.
Since I was determined to continue working for Daimler AG after my studies, I took a leave from my job before the end of my training. I was given a re-employment confirmation for my "target station", in other words, for the job I would get after completing my training.
Daimler also gave me the chance to keep in touch during my studies. I could take part in various training measures, which prepared me very well for my reentry into the company. In addition, during the training I got to know the other students and was able to build up contacts among them. On top of that, I was assigned a personal HR advisor, who provided me with active support in my search for an appropriate degree thesis during my studies and for preparing my reentry afterwards.

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