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Wind Industry Profile of

This week: Interview with Mr. Bernd Hömberg, Grad. Engineer, Head of Department Wind Energy at Haus der Technik (HDT)

Windfair: What does the Haus der Technik (HDT) stand for?

Bernd Hömberg: As a registered association, the Haus der Technik [House of Technology] is an external institute of the renowned RWTH Aachen University that has successfully been offering advanced training for over eighty years. Seventy bright minds contribute to HDT’s self-sustaining business, this makes HDT completely independent of any third-party interests. The customer defines the offer, as it not only comprises the technology field in its entirety but also in the areas of economy, law and management. For the past three years, HDT successfully offers an extra-occupational Master Degree program in “Energy Economics” and “Logistics”. The former is always fully booked. In the near future, HDT will be offering the Bachelor Degree program “Energy Technology”.
HDT boasts their annual number of participants at approximately 17,000 – and counting! This is surely only achievable by keeping our customers satisfied.
You’ll find all of HDT’s offers at www.hdt-essen.de

Windfair: How did wind energy become a topic for the HDT?

Bernd Hömberg: About ten years ago, HDT recognized the wind energy industry as an important market for our seminars and conferences. We were proven right at a very early stage as the demand for events in this field strongly increased. In this phase, particularly the industry’s strong network came to our assistance. Many companies became involved in the wind energy industry. Based on this comprehensive network, we were almost immediately connected to the right contacts. In the past years, the events taking place in the field of wind energy have been continuously expanded. In the meantime, HDT’s offer comprises ca. 35 different seminars and conferences, which in turn are often frequently repeated during the course of a year. During the economic crisis in 2009, and for the first time, more people attended the wind energy seminars and conferences than those events covering the field of automotive engineering.
Meanwhile, more than 5,000 participants have taken advantage of our events covering wind energy. You can directly access these events via our website at www.windenergie-info.de.

Windfair: How do you differ from other providers?

Bernd Hömberg: We know what really counts, which subjects are in demand and how to engage the best course instructors for HDT. Our years of experience, excellent feedback system and first-rate contacts in the industry and universities help us to be the best. We listen very closely to what the customer likes and dislikes and where their problems lie. We can only for these reasons exist on the market on a long-term basis. Our success proves us right. Company presentations are a no-go during our events, which by the way, are often found with other providers. Expert knowledge, ideas and solutions are in demand. The industry is still very young; many things must be tried and tested and one should also mind the great number of career changers.

Another distinctive feature is the bilingual orientation of our major wind energy conferences (“Towers and Foundations”, “Drivelines in Wind Power Installations” as well as “Rotor Blades”). Conducting our conferences bilingually enables our customers to competently train their foreign-based employees as well. The share of students from abroad lies at approx. 15-20% and for this reason alone we created the website www.my-windenergy.com.

Another great distinction is the cooperation held with renowned partners. In our opinion, established individual providers within the market should take their good ideas and collaborate with one another. The advanced training market is crowded and strongly subdivided; therefore it stands to reason to seek partners and create mutual offers. HDT has done just that after finding the “ForWind-Academy”, a very well-networked partner. In their seminar offer, ForWind-Academy combines practical questions from the wind energy industry with current scientific findings. Industry experts present an up-to-date level of knowledge and exemplify interfaces to practical experience and research. ForWind-Academy and HDT are continuously expanding their joint offer and, besides offshore foundation, technical operational management, project management in wind energy as well as wind energy for non-technicians, will be offering further mutual seminars in 2012 as well (e.g. Offshore-Meteorology).

Windfair: Do you only offer events in Essen, Germany?

Bernd Hömberg: Our headquarters are located in Essen, where we have forty seminar and conference rooms at our disposal, which by the way, can also be rented out. The largest hall can accommodate up to 650 people. Our premises are located directly across from Essen’s main train station and the Düsseldorf-Airport is just 25 driving minutes away. HDT sites can also be found in Munich and Berlin. Based on demand voiced, Hamburg is the upcoming location for wind energy events. As of 2012 and also in Northern Germany, in Walsrode to be exact, we will be offering “The Authorized Electrician for Specified Activities in and on Wind Turbines”. Were you aware of the fact that, according to law, a wind turbine is defined as a “closed electrical operating site”? Those service employees responsible for turning turbines on and off are required to be at least certified as an “authorized electrician for specified activities in and on wind turbines”. HDT now offers the courses required to fulfill this standard. Industrial safety standards will be progressively moving in to the field of wind energy.

Windfair: From your point of view, what role does the price of an advanced training event play?

Bernd Hömberg: For sure, start-ups and small companies are often not capable of paying the normal fees for a conference. We always find a solution for them. Our “two attendees for the price of one” offer that usually applies for many events in the field of wind energy, has served many of our customers well. Consequently, our two-day wind energy conference price lies at approx. 450-650 EUR per attendee, where each individual becomes their money’s worth. The most efficient and economical way to get a topic down pat quickly or to acquire special knowledge is by personally participating in a conference or seminar. Why do so many bosses choose this path for their employees? Because these employees, as they listen to other experts speak about their experiences and practice and receive necessary information in a compact manner, are then capable of solving their own problems. In addition, the attendees always make great contacts within the industry. Many important contacts were made and contracts closed in informal talks at the major HDT-conferences. Customers often underestimate the marketing effort for individual events. We put a lot of time, effort and work into our online-portal and website. By the way, our website will soon be launched with a brand new look. Our customers can then check out industry-specific topics in detail. (www.hdt-essen.de).
Windfair Editorial Team

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