102 Years of Daimler – a Family Tradition The Heiss family has ties to the company spanning five generations

For the Heiss family, one topic stands out – and not only at family gatherings: working for Daimler. Since its foundation in 1915, the Heiss family has been closely linked to the Sindelfingen plant, and two generations are currently represented "under the star."

Also a W114 (see press photo year 1973 from archive) has been the employee´s car of the family.

Günter Heiss still remembers it quite clearly – as a little boy eagerly waiting each year alongside his two sisters and younger brother at the Viehweide, a district of Sindelfingen. They were waiting for their father to arrive home with the new Mercedes-Benz car bought under the company car purchase plan. That was in the 70s. Children, however, were not allowed to ride along until the car had undergone a "family friendly" retrofit to maintain its resale value. Homemade floor mats were laid inside, and the hub caps in body color were removed for their protection and replaced with chrome. Back then, an employee could buy a set of chrome hub caps for 24 DM. The seats were also "sealed" in protective covers and covered with horse blankets. Only then were they off. Eating and drinking in the car was strictly forbidden.

Global assignments

Today, Günter Heiss, 55, is a foreman in Sindelfingen's workshop equipment center, part of the Mercedes-Benz Technology Center. He has assignments all over the world, launching press dies for manufacturing components of various Mercedes-Benz passenger car models. These dies are produced in the toolmaker's shop and delivered to production sites in Germany and abroad. Over the course of his professional career, he has traveled to a number of countries to provide support, including Canada, India, Indonesia, South Korea, Spain and the U.S. Together with his team, Günter Heiss is responsible for ensuring safe delivery of the die and for integration of series production tools into the press lines around the world through the start of production. An organizational challenge, and not always an easy one.

Five generations of family Heiss working at Daimler: (from left to right) Alexander, Bruno, Günter, Annika und Jannik Heiss.

One family – one motto

But Günter Heiss is totally committed – and like most of his family, closely connected to Daimler. The Heiss family has a motto: A Heiss won't move anywhere the Sindelfingen plant signal horn can't be heard. Günter Heiss: "My great grandfather worked for Daimler ever since the plant was founded in 1915. My grandfather worked there, too, until he was drafted into the military, which was mandatory at that time."

Günter's father, Bruno Heiss, is proud that his sons, and now his grandson, too, work at Daimler. He began his training in 1953 and worked in the Sindelfingen paint shop as a foreman until 1993. He lived through the times after the war when employees had to be nursed back to health with sunlamps and nourishing soups. His brother, Alexander Heiss, started training to become a cartwright for the automotive industry in 1989 and now works in development: "The work is highly complex and a lot of fun. The collaboration between designers and construction engineers is interesting and really exciting." Günter's brother-in-law, Martin Horn (workshop equipment center, robotics and technologies), also works at the Sindelfingen site.

Sindelfingen plant, final assembly of the serial sports car Mercedes-Benz type 300 SL Coupé, 1954 - 1957.

Enthusiasm across the decades

The enthusiasm for cars and Daimler as an employer has now been passed down through the fifth generation. Even as a child, Günter's son Jannik Heiss already knew that he would work at Daimler one day. He often attended employee celebrations in the plant with his grandfather Bruno. His career started in 2011 with training as a toolmaker – just like his dad. Today he works hard for his father's partnership.

The position provides him with a versatile range of activities, extremely good working conditions and opportunities for advancement. "I have been in the Bremen plant on many occasions, and the collaboration with the colleagues on site was great," explains the 22 year old. Even Marco Leanza, 30 years old, the nephew of Günter Heiss, is also on board in the workshop equipment center. Following work experience in plant communications several years ago, Günter's 19-year old daughter Annika hopes to take on a training position at Daimler. But she has her eye on the commercial side of the business. She is currently working in Logistics as a temporary employee.

Generation management at Daimler

Today, the challenge of demographic transformation is dealt with through active generation management. Depending on the life situation, Daimler offers a number of different ways to contribute experiences, ideas and specialist knowledge in the many different careers. By supporting collaboration and the exchange of ideas, employees benefit in the different phases of life. With these measures, Daimler ensures that the workforce is well qualified and will continue to perform efficiently in the future, thus strengthening the company's competitiveness.

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