May 2019 Motivate

ACEL Young Professionals: Matthias Pieplak


Written By: STAFF

1. What do you like most about living in Gainesville?

Gainesville offers everything you would find in a mega city, like nightlife, interest groups for everything, a great art community and a growing job market. On top of that, it welcomes newcomers with open arms, has an incredibly dedicated and engaged community and is close to amazing escapes: seacoasts, refreshing springs, fascinating parks and trails.

2. Tell me about your job or area of study.

I am a project manager from Germany with more than four years of experience, and I have a bachelor’s from Reutlingen University in Germany. I work as a freelancer consultant for startups located in Innovation Hub.

Before moving to Gainesville, I worked for a German engineering company, managing their operations, manufacturing and service projects in Germany and Switzerland. The job required lots of organizing, engaging with clients and contractors and the occasional travel to construction sites. My degree in international project engineering definitely prepared me for this role. I played an active role in streamlining our bureaucracy and financial reporting tools.

I started out as operations specialist at Schneider Kessel, a German engineering company headquartered in Berlin, and later took over the company’s manufacturing and service projects in Germany and Switzerland as head of operations. As a student, before writing my thesis on “Economics of Product Development,” I interned at Fraunhofer USA in Boston. Before that, I was a student worker at Bosch for nearly two years.

3. What are some of the biggest challenges you have encountered as a young professional?

Being put in charge of very experienced workers was very humbling. You have to accept that all the theoretical knowledge can at best compliment their years of practical experience. In the end, it was a fun and a rich learning experience for both sides. I was open to learning. I treated my workers with equality and honesty. This gained me their respect and willingness to be directed by somebody as young as me.

4. What is the best piece of advice you’ve received? 

If you want to succeed at leading people, you have to win their hearts and their minds. People are at the heart of every company. Only when they love what they do, will they will do their best. Have your business on your mind, but your friends in your heart, and they will appreciate you and their work.

5. Outside of your job, what other activities are you involved in?

I follow the news about the transformation of the energy sector, attend some of the many networking events at the local bars and breweries and design my own tiny houses.

6. What do you do for fun in Gainesville?

Visit the alligators in Paynes Prairie, run and bike the Hawthorne Trail, stay in touch and make new friends at Gainesville Language Exchange (GLX) and work on my 1974 orange Pugeaut at the Freewheel Project. I also meet weekly to play Ultimate Frisbee.

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