Two branch managers at AGRAVIS Technik BvL GmbH

Vera Etmann and Ursula Röttger have a few things in common: they are both women, both have a passion for agricultural machinery agricultural machinery and both have been branch managers since 01 January 2016 for a location of AGRAVIS Technik BvL GmbH AGRAVIS Technik BvL GmbH. That brings us to a total of three women who are managing branches in the agricultural machinery field.

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Vera Etmann (left) and Ursula RöttgerTwo branch managers at AGRAVIS Technik BvL GmbH
Vera Etmann (left) and Ursula Röttger

Women in management positions – nowadays that is no longer something out of the ordinary but the everyday life in many branches. The agricultural machinery division is perhaps not at the forefront, but generally many AGRAVIS companies do not want to forgo girl-power. "I am in it with my heart and soul," said Ursula Röttger, who in the meantime has been in her role at the Gronau-Epe location for more than half a year. The 42 year old, known by everyone as "Ulla", began her apprenticeship apprenticeship as an office clerk in 1990 at the predecessor company, Raiffeisen Central Cooperative.

Career after apprenticeship

"Back then it was not common for women to train as wholesale and export trade merchants, that is what I would have liked to do," she reminisces. After her training she was taken on, after her three children were born she worked part-time at the then AGRAVIS Technik Ahaus-Borken GmbH and later again half-days. "I was predominantly responsible for office duties, however I was always the girl who did a bit of everything," she described. Then in light of the re-structuring of AGARVIS Technik companies that took place last autumn she received a phone call from Frank Fohrmann, then still employed by AGARVIS Technik Münsterland GmbH.

Only woman at the location in a managerial role

The same structure was to be implemented at every location and a branch manager provided per location. The selection in Gronau-Epe fell on Ursula Röttger. "My boss said to me, you need a good reason to decline," said the location manager in retrospect. She discussed it with her family, consulted her colleagues and subsequently received momentum and great support from all sides. Ursula Röttger, who is the only woman at the Gronau-Epe location, is respected and accepted by her colleagues.

Good togetherness is important

"We are a small location and therefore a good cohesiveness within the team is important above anything else," she said. The new role initially took some getting used to. "Prior to this I was already taking care of a lot and I am used to assuming responsibility. The technical bits I did not understand, I read up about in the evenings on the sofa." Ulla Röttger's first big challenge was managing the conversion of the office section and the showroom to set-up the Gronau-Epe location for its future as the new AGRAVIS Technik BvL GmbH branch. "That is now done. And now our general procedures have levelled out so that we are able to direct the view of the future," she said excitedly.

In the midst of the farm machinery business

In Meppen, where Vera Etmann has been employed since 2005, the re-structuring of AGRAVIS Techniken has likewise changed a lot. "We now have three companies in one location," said the branch manager of AGRAVIS Technik BvL GmbH, which has 46 employees. The 28 year old has been in the agricultural machinery business since her apprenticeship began as a wholesale and export trade merchant. The development within the spare parts business was initially the focus, then the entire trade execution for second used farm machinery followed in conjunction with the international agricultural machinery auction in Meppen.

Re-structuring was an intensive process

The surprise was also big for her when she was asked by her boss mid 2015 whether she could envisage herself in the role as branch manager. "It was immediately clear to me that I wanted to do it," was one of her first thoughts. Nevertheless, the re-structuring of the location in Meppen was an intensive process which demanded a lot of everyone. After her first eight months, Vera Etmann has likewise settled well into the job and she feels that her colleagues have accepted her well as their boss "we have clear responsibilities that ensure clarity," she said of her experience.

Sensitivity and calm

Both women are in agreement that for those who would like to become management should bring with them a good portion of resilience and assertiveness alongside decisiveness and resistance to stress. There are definitely advantages to being a woman in the job and in the male characterised field: "With all the expertise in agricultural machinery we gained through everyday working life, women simply have a good sensitivity and sometimes simply more calm, for example when dealing with upset customers.

Both would like to "still do more"

Both branch managers recommend nowadays to hold the reigns on-site. "It is an important target to implement and experience the new structure in our agricultural machinery field, that affects the teams on-site and naturally the customers for whom the contact persons or the locations are also new." Vera Etmann and Ursula Röttger regularly share their experiences with other branch managers of the other locations of the AGRAVIS Technik BvL GmbH. And they are both in agreement on one thing: "We are pleased with the trust that management place in us. As branch managers, we now feel more responsible for procedures on-site than before and would like to still do a bit more."

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