What could you not live without?
Sascha Sonntag: My family, particularly my 10-year-old daughter. I started working 20 years ago. At the time, my wife and I decided that she would put her career on hold, so we could start a family. That gave me security, of course, both at work and at home.
What made you choose the job you do today?
Well, you set yourself some goals in life, don’t you, and immediately after I completed my training, I had the opportunity to work on a construction site in Switzerland. I was born in East Germany before the wall came down, so Switzerland seemed a long way away to me, real freedom! Before then, I’d only ever commuted between Aschersleben, just across the former border, and Braunschweig. My next job was as a site supervisor for a company specialising in conveying systems, so I was posted abroad to a range of locations. Later, the company put us on furlough, the situation was uncertain, and, because of the financial situation, some agreements weren’t kept. A colleague told me about BMA and that he’d applied there. So I tried to find out a bit about BMA, thinking: "I’ve worked in the salt, gravel and cereal industries, so I should be able to do sugar." And I got the job.
Initial training was really good, and when you work on a long-term construction site, you have time to get to know the country. On site, you’re the customer’s first contact – and sometimes also an entertainer. That has helped me hone my intercultural skills – definitely a positive effect.
Through travelling, I’ve become far more open-minded, but also more grounded. Domestic and foreign policies, education, or social issues – when those topics crop up at family gatherings, I often have to bite my tongue. Problems? I have clean running water, electricity, food, and a roof over my head.
What will your next project be?
Since February 2020, I’ve been heading the Field Service Project Products team, and I mostly work in the office now. I’d also like to do a part-time course to qualify as a state-certified technical engineer. In my new job, I’ll be able to help my wife better with looking after our daughter. Of course I’ve been told "You’re away a lot of the time". It’ll be a learning curve for my wife to let someone else be in charge.
What career did your parents have in mind for you?
My brother and I both went into vocational training after we finished school. That was very important to my parents, especially after the wall came down. I would’ve actually quite liked to be a radio presenter.
And you could certainly have done that, Sascha – but we’re very glad to have you at BMA. Thank you!