On 03.07.2015, Renate Pilz, Chair of the Board of Pilz GmbH & Co. KG, was awarded the Staufer Gold Medal. The Prime Minister of Baden-Württemberg Winfried Kretschmann presented the medal at a ceremony in Stuttgart. The Staufer Medal is a special, personal honour awarded by the Prime Minister for services to the State of Baden-Württemberg and its people.
Staufer Gold Medal for Renate Pilz – Prime Minister Kretschmann: Model family business that creates values by living its values
Press office of the federal government
No. 131/2015 3. July 2015
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Staufer Gold Medal for Renate Pilz
Prime Minister Kretschmann: Model family business that creates values by living its values
"No law in the world can enact the business culture shaped by Renate Pilz – where economic success and human cooperation go hand in hand. Such a culture needs role models: people who live it, people who radiate it and so impress others. Role models like Renate Pilz", said Prime Minister Winfried Kretschmann when presenting Renate Pilz with the Gold Medal on Friday (3 July 2015) in Stuttgart.
After the tragic death of her husband, entrepreneur Peter Pilz, Renate Pilz was suddenly left alone with two small children. She had not studied and she had no technical or economic knowledge, let alone a clear concept of automation technology. "Nonetheless, against the advice of her confidants, she decided not to sell the company Pilz – out of a sense of duty, as she herself says", said the Prime Minister. Initially she limited her involvement to chairing the company's advisory board and used her child-rearing years as a period of intense learning, before taking full control of the company in 1994.
"Her husband's vision was to develop the company, which then employed 200 people, into an international technology leader and Renate Pilz has implemented this vision step by step, in impressive fashion", said Kretschmann. Since then the Ostfildern-based company has grown to employ 1,900 staff, with 31 subsidiaries on all continents. In the past year Pilz also set a new sales record, with the share of exports rising to 70 per cent. "There is no doubt that Renate Pilz's company is one of the showcase medium-sized enterprises in our State: innovative, at home on the world markets and yet deeply rooted within the region", underlined Prime Minister Kretschmann.
Care, precision and attention to detail are needed in order to stay that vital step ahead of the competition. At the same time, in an industry such as safety technology, the well-worked detail can even save someone's life in extreme cases. "When I visited the company last year I was able to see for myself how complex the issue of 'factory safety' has become, for example, in the age of digitalisation and Industry 4.0", said the Prime Minister. Intelligent sensors and other solutions are needed to ensure that man and machine do not get in each other's way.
However, care and attention would not only characterise the way technology is handled at Pilz, but would be deemed equally important in maintaining a good working atmosphere. "Renate Pilz always tries to have a sympathetic ear for her staff's personal problems because, even as a global player, she is keen to preserve the 'family' aspect of the family business", says Kretschmann. "Pilz is a company that creates values by living its values."
Research and development are crucial components at Pilz, along with training and continuing education. So Renate Pilz also promotes the issue of education in political discourse, as part of her involvement with the Association of Catholic Entrepreneurs, for example. "As an entrepreneur operating worldwide, she also assumes real responsibility when it comes to improving educational opportunities worldwide" said Kretschmann. For example, after visiting southern India she worked with an Indian priest to launch an aid project to provide better access to education for disadvantaged children from low castes.
"Renate Pilz is characterised by courage and an entrepreneurial spirit, diligence and a sense of duty, enthusiasm for technology and innovation, along with strong family values, social responsibility and firm roots in the Catholic faith", said Prime Minister Kretschmann.
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