From Purchasing to Application Consultant
Michael has been with Brainlab for over 17 years, starting out in Purchasing and later transferring to the Events & Exhibits, before moving on to becoming an Application Consultant to find true professional fulfillment. From Munich to Chicago and back again, he is living proof of the movement that is possible at Brainlab, both geographically and career-wise! Read his story below.
Prior to Brainlab, I worked at an advertising agency. During that time, a friend of mine (and Brainlab employee) contacted me with a job offer. At that point, I was happy at the agency and declined the offer with thanks. About 4 months later, however, the situation changed. I contacted my friend and, lucky for me, Brainlab still needed help.
My friend put me in contact with HR and the same week I had my interview for a position managing RT and computer hardware within the purchasing department. I realized very quickly that Brainlab was a perfect fit. The Director of Operations and HR must have thought so too because they offered me the position even though my background was marketing-focused.
While working in the purchasing department for roughly 18 months, I not only saved costs and introduced a new reporting workflow, but also furthered my knowledge of Brainlab. Even though I liked working in the Purchasing department, as soon as I heard about an opening in the Exhibits department, I had my eye on it.
After a couple of interviews with the Events & Exhibits department, I met with Stefan Vilsmeier, our President and CEO. At the end of our conversation, he asked me what could make him believe that I had the technical and organizational skills for the job. My response was simple: I pointed out the window to a vintage Italian scooter and explained how I imported, rebuilt and got TÜV certification for it… all in 6 weeks. That is how everything started for me as Exhibit Coordinator in the Events & Exhibits department.
After a couple of days in my new position, I went to my first tradeshow. I had butterflies in my stomach, feeling the challenge of orchestrating and being responsible for a project of that scope. I knew immediately, however, that this was the best decision of my career so far. I loved it. Three months later at the next tradeshow, I was doing the exhibit work myself!
To manage our tradeshows in the US, Brainlab eventually decided to open an Events & Exhibits team located in our North American headquarters outside Chicago. I jumped at the opportunity to move abroad and have an American experience for what I thought was only going to be 3 years. I led a new team, had the opportunity to build some of our largest tradeshow booths, and made countless lifelong friends.
After several contract extensions, 3 years turned into 7 and I got married and had a son. Chicago is an incredible city, but I was longing to return to my hometown with my new family. I applied and was accepted for an Application Trainer position at Brainlab HQ that would allow me to utilize one of my best skills – sharing my knowledge. That position took me all over the world – to Australia, Siberia, Dubai, Italy – to install new Brainlab equipment and to train clinicians on how to best use it.
After 2 years as an Application Trainer, there was an internal restructuring and I landed in the role of Application Consultant in Munich. Every day I am in the O.R. with clinicians ensuring our equipment is working properly and helping them with the technology during surgeries. Having the opportunity to work hands-on with our products, to simplify clinicians’ workflows and, most importantly, to see how our innovations can improve patient outcomes are what I love most about my current role.
The true success story here is how Brainlab enabled me to follow my own personal and career goals throughout my time at the company.