If an era ends, a new one begins. I start my professional career in Switzerland with the former ABB Power Generation Ltd. in Baden. It is the first of November in 1999. One of my early tasks as Product Manager in Customer Service for Gas Turbines is to familiarize with the famous GT13E2. I receive a cross-section of the Thermal Block and have to indicate how the air takes it’s way from the air intake into the compressor, through the combusor and through the turbine to the outlet.
Soon I travel to my first on-site condition assessment. It’s at a customer in the Netherlands. After flying from Zurich to Amsterdam, I stand in front of an enourmous machine which is as tall as a familiy home. Looking at the drawing, I had expected it to be much smaller.
The future Joint-Venture between ABB and Alstom is in every mind since my first day. We discuss what this means for us as employees. But nobody anticipates that ABB will soon retreat from the power plant business with Gas Turbines. Under Alstom we implement state-of-the-art technology in the scope of R&D-projects and upgrades into the existing GT-fleet. Also the new GT36 is developed. Now comes GE into the game.
On this 2nd November 2015, after waiting more than one year, there will be a lot of chnge. This is obvious because the sign of Alstom with it’s blue letters and the red “o” at the Baden site is torn down and replaced by the grey GE monogram. ‘Day 1’ has arrived, finally!
Again, no one can tell us how the changes will look like in detail and what time frame we have to anticipate. But change seems to happen faster now. The commission of the European Union has decided that GE must divest the new plant business of Alstom for GT26 and GT36 as well as part of the related Thermal Services business to Ansaldo. This includes also the transfer of many colleagus to the Italian competitor.
The new GE Power Services decided to relocate the headquarters from USA to Baden in Switzerland. That’s a good indication for the site, which traditionally has always been the Service Center for BST, BBC, BBT, ABB, Alstom and other brands.
We do our job and adapt to the new situation. ‘Day 1’ is not much different to the day before. Some employees leave the company, others take up new challenges internally – and there are also those who return after a time-out.
I stay. For me there always have been career opportunities and I believe it will remain like this. I am loyal – to me, to my family and to my job. The environment changes but the water will continue to run down the narrow river Limmat in the small town Baden in tiny Switzerland. This is independant, no matter if a red ABB-, a blue/red Alstom-logo or a grey GE-monogram is shining at the top of the office buildings.