What started with his grandfather after the Second World War, continued Andreas Schumacher starting at HARTMANN in 1996. For him, the term “family business” has its own distinct meaning.
His late grandfather served as head of HARTMANN’s Scientific Department from 1948 to 1978, and for more than two decades now, Andreas Schumacher himself has called the company home. Andreas’s own HARTMANN history spans three cities, three languages, and two generations.
What is your earliest memory of HARTMANN?
Andreas: I learned to walk at HARTMANN. My grandparents lived in the white building to the left of the main entrance at the company’s Heidenheim headquarters, which is the Human Resources building today. I took my first steps there and grew up in Heidenheim, where my parents still live today. And my first job, right before college, was at the Volksbank Credit Union in Heidenheim.
I guess you could say, HARTMANN was in your blood?
Andreas: I grew up in a family of doctors and pharmacists, so the conversations at our house would always have something to do with healthcare. So yes, you can say that the healthcare industry is in my blood, and so it was a great fit working at HARTMANN right out of college. In January of 1996, I had my first position as Area Sales Manager at the central office, basically 18 years after my grandfather had retired from the company in 1978.
Can you tell us more about your grandfather?
Andreas: His name was Erwin Riedel and he was born in 1906. After the Second World War, he came home and began his life-long career with the company. He had two doctoral degrees, one in pharmacy and one in chemistry, and became head of the Scientific Department in Heidenheim. He was a co-author of one of the early HARTMANN publications, entitled: “Verbandstoff-Fibel: Herstellung, Beschaffenheit und Anwendung der Verbandstoffe” (“Dressing material primer: production, condition and application of dressings.”). He participated in the European Medical Encyclopedia, and was sent to Strasbourg by the Foreign Ministry to work on the chapter about wound dressings. He was part of the “Oberrat” – the council – as a scientist and industry representative, and though he retired at age 65 in 1971, he still had an office and continued to consult HARTMANN until 1978.
And his story continues with you?
Andreas: Yes, it continued on 20 years later with me starting in 1996 in Heidenheim. When the US business took off three years later, I was sent to Chicago, then when HARTMANN acquired Conco-Medical in 2001, I moved to Rock Hill, South Carolina. That is where I am today, working as Director of Corporate Accounts. I handle the large distribution channels in the United States and am still heavily involved in international sales. It has been quite the ride with many different job descriptions and experiences in sales and marketing!
So now that we know what you do, can we “talk shop” for a second? What are some of the trends you are seeing in the US healthcare sector?
Andreas: The aging population and advances in medicine will continue to increase the cost of healthcare. Both private and government insurance companies are working to slow down such cost increases by keeping reimbursement levels under control. Providers depend on reimbursement, yet they are also held accountable for outcomes and quality of care for the patient. So, they seek to take advantage of innovative new therapies, while at the same time trying to control costs. They are looking to the industry for savings and for ways of doing more with less.
What do you like best about working for HARTMANN USA?
Andreas: I like that in the US organization I basically know everybody. This means I can always count on colleagues to help me with information or for quick support with tasks. It’s advantageous for us in the market, when we can turn around customer requests quickly. Also, we still have a great sense of opportunity in the organization.
How many languages do you speak?
Andreas: I speak German, Spanish and English. I very much like that HARTMANN is a healthcare company offering international opportunities. That’s something that attracted me, because I have always been good with languages and always wanted to be involved in international business.
What did you learn from your grandfather that you still carry with you today?
Andreas: I think his work ethic, as he was a very, very hard worker. Also, he taught me about speaking your mind, even if it’s not convenient. It isn’t always easy, but that’s what we learned from him.
If your grandfather could see you at HARTMANN today, what do you think he would say?
Andreas: I think he would be proud that I followed his example by joining HARTMANN, because he was very dedicated and fiercely loyal to the company. I believe that he would encourage me to give my very best, each and every day, and to make my opinion heard for the benefit of the company.
2018 marks HARTMANN’s 200-year anniversary.
To commemorate this milestone, we have put together this series of articles. In it we show how our employees and partners contribute to advancing healthcare, as well as discussing trends and issues that affect the healthcare systems we serve.