From Vacant to Vibrant

From Vacant to Vibrant

Ute Hahn-Klimroth, HR Director at uib GmbH, has been with opsi as long as the client management has been around. You could say she was there when opsi was born. Now, after 24 years, as opsi comes of age, Ute is stepping into a well-earned retirement come early June. A trained model carpenter with a master’s degree in Cultural Studies, Journalism, and Art History, Ute joins me to look back over the last quarter-century.

Interview with Ute Hahn-Klimroth

Ute Hahn-Klimroth

Heike: Ute, you’ve been with uib and opsi for 24 years. That must have been quite a journey. What was it like in the beginning?

Ute: I was part of the team that set up our office in 2000 when we moved from Wiesbaden to Mainz. At the time, the partners were scouting for office spaces in Mainz and needed someone to lead the office operations. I was essentially the management’s right-hand person

Heike: What was the size of the team back then?

Ute: We started with just 13 of us, including freelancers. Most of the team was still in Wiesbaden, so I found myself quite alone in Mainz initially. Picture this: 170 square meters of just empty floor space, except for a fitted kitchen. My first task? Outfitting the office. I bought everything from desks and paper to dishes and even a toilet brush.

Heike: How long were you holding down the fort by yourself?

Ute: Well, it did take a bit. Over time, more colleagues gradually moved from Wiesbaden to Mainz, and the office began to come to life.

Heike: And I suppose that changed your job quite a bit, didn’t it?

Ute: Absolutely, in the beginning, I handled all the organization: managing the office, drafting proposals and invoices, preparing tenders and contracts, taking care of the accounting, and running the switchboard… I was relieved when more staff joined and I could start delegating some of these tasks.

Heike: What does a typical workday look like for you now?

Ute: I answer questions from the team, like if someone wants to increase or reduce their hours. Is someone going on parental leave, needs special leave or educational leave? I’m the one to talk to. I also handle the internal timekeeping, take care of sickness reports, payroll, and I’m always available to listen to questions and problems.

Heike: Over the last 24 years, is there anything that particularly stands out in your memory?

Ute: Let me think, so much has happened… Sometimes I felt things weren’t moving fast enough, at other times, events just tumbled one after another. The company has continuously evolved, and now we’re nearly 30 people. That brought new challenges and issues that I had to familiarize myself with, which I’ve always really enjoyed.

Heike: What are your hopes for the future of uib GmbH?

Ute: I hope that we continue to attract many young people who enjoy working on the opsi project. I would be thrilled to see opsi not just survive but also evolve. And when I occasionally check the website or stop by the office, I want to see that it’s still thriving.

Heike: And what are your hopes for the coming years?

Ute: Lots and lots of free time and leisure! I’m looking forward to new challenges. I don’t know yet where I’m headed, but I’m sure I’ll find something delightful. I used to love restoring and sprucing up old furniture, maybe I’ll get back to that. And island hopping in Greece!

Heike: One last question: what do you prefer, starting or stopping?

Ute: Starting!

Heike: And if you have to stop, do you have a ritual for that?

Ute: Cheerful goodbye parties. ;)

Heike: Well, have fun and enjoy the celebrations! Thank you so much for your time and the lovely chat. All the best for the future!

uib: We want to thank Ute for her many years of professional and loyal cooperation. We wish her all the best in this new phase of her life and lots of luck on her new journey.

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