Dr. Steffen Pankoke is the CEO of Wölfel. In a personal conversation with him, you can learn interesting facts about the economic strength and the potential of an innovative family-owned company, as well as much more about our shared future.

Listen to the entire interview in full length (only available in german)

Hello, Mr. Pankoke, let's jump, or rather swing, right into it. Why should people come to Wölfel, especially young people and qualified specialists?

Well, if you're a fan of dynamics and mechanics or of vibrations and acoustics, if you enjoyed these areas during your vocational training and if you are looking to work in a family-owned mid-market company, then there's no better place for you than with us. At Wölfel you can engage in what you love and what interests you every day, working on a variety of projects. Then the positive reinforcement sets in, something I'm truly convinced of: I enjoy what I do, so I do it well. What I do well, I enjoy doing, and so on... You'll meet colleagues who share the same mindset and who support and inspire each other as a team. If that resonates with you, then come to Wölfel in Höchberg!

I believe the most important advantage is related to our personnel philosophy which Professor Wölfel once articulated as: "We don't have positions to fill, we're looking for good people."

Of course, we have job profiles too, but if someone comes along who fits in with us and brings more than what we initially sought, we don't discard the surplus, as is done in large corporations. Instead, we work together to figure out how to harness and utilize those additional skills in a business-oriented way. Many of Wölfel's current areas of expertise were born this way – from what individuals can do and want to achieve. Equally important, I would say, is another advantage: our work climate.

We operate in a people-oriented, familial, and friendly environment. Respect and appreciation are integral components of our daily collaboration and naturally they shape the leadership style at Wölfel. This influence is not just internal; you can see it from the outside as well. At a recent trade fair, a customer commented: "You guys are the nice ones." And a colleague who used to work in a large corporation wondered, "Where are the cutthroat competitors, the loudmouths and the show-offs? I can't find them." Correct, we don't have them, and we don't need them. We work together, pulling in the same direction.

After high school I decided to study mechanical engineering at the Technical University of Darmstadt. In my fifth semester I took a mandatory subject, machine dynamics, and heard about vibrations. That’s when, somehow, I became fascinated with dynamics. I blame the professor who taught machine dynamics back then – Professor Wölfel. I delved deeper into structural dynamics during my studies and continued with a period of doctoral research at Professor Wölfel’s institute. When that time came to an end, Professor Wölfel asked me if I'd like to change employers but keep the boss. I said yes.

My first job was as project engineer and naturally I had brought some research topics from Darmstadt, which I then transformed into industrial applications at Wölfel – a good example of how transferring knowledge from research to industry works best through minds. In 2012, Professor Wölfel appointed me to the management board.

Yes, people want to live in a secure, comfortable future with as little disturbance as possible while preserving the planet's resources. In all these areas – structural safety, comfort, noise reduction, and resource conservation – our core competencies, that is, vibrations, structural mechanics, and acoustics, play a significant role in the success of future solutions.

At Wölfel, we contribute by providing our knowledge in the form of engineering services, that is, consulting services for our clients, or embodied in products that measure, evaluate, or reduce vibrations and sound. We do this across a wide range of industries, structured within our sectors: Civil Engineering for the construction industry, Plant Engineering for plant and power station construction, Mechanical Engineering for mechanical engineering, Environmental Engineering for sound and noise protection, and, of course, Wind Engineering, our newest and currently highest-grossing industry, which contributes to the energy transition.

At Wölfel, we use AI for some of our internal processes – the trend is rising – as well as an element and feature of our products and services. However, for our services, we always follow the strategy of using our natural intelligence first. By that I mean applying the laws of physics, especially mechanics. Then, so to speak, we ignite AI as an afterburner to extract the final percentages, for instance, in terms of prediction accuracy. AI doesn't replace natural intelligence, it complements it.


The world of tomorrow is undoubtedly more demanding and challenging than the world of today, and certainly more so than the world of yesterday. That means what you do has to be done exceptionally well to succeed in competition.

What we at Wölfel do especially well, and have done for more than half a century, are our core competencies: vibrations, structural dynamics, and acoustics. That's our world and our professional home. Everything we do today and everything we'll do tomorrow revolves around these core competencies. That's our focus.

What we need for that are individuals who share the enthusiasm for "our" vibrations and excel in this field. And by that, I don't just mean mechanical vibrations but also interpersonal vibrations or “good vibrations," where resonance means that I tackle my tasks with enthusiasm every morning and solve them alongside my colleagues. We are fortunate to have many such individuals at Wölfel – more than 140 at the moment. And we're very successful at finding and inspiring more people to come work with us, for us, and alongside us.

Well, that was a long answer to a short question. A shorter response would have been: Yes, we're definitely on the right path.

This answer will be very brief: yes, definitely, and yes, every day. It's incredibly enjoyable to tackle things every day with this fantastic team.