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Hi, my name is Tobias and I’m a test engineer in the field of Durability & Wear Outdoor for Continental in Hanover. I have to admit that 5 years ago I didn’t expect that I would be responsible for running tire tests in countries like India or China, or even end up anywhere near the tire or automotive industry. My diploma studies in energy technologies were entering the final stage with only the diploma thesis left to write. That’s when I first came in contact with Continental, simulating temperature fields in next-generation curing presses. I wasn’t particularly interested in tires but my first impression of the Continental working culture and my future colleagues was very positive and I decided to apply for the R&D Trainee Pool.
It turned out to be a very fruitful decision! I learned step by step all the basics about tires and testing, was involved in projects from very different business areas and maybe most important had a lot of fun with great colleagues. When it was time for our job placement an interesting opportunity arose with an open position in one of our testing departments.
I liked (still do!) the idea of combining an engineer’s office work with hands-on tasks and field testing and decided to apply for the position.
That’s how I started at Durability & Wear Outdoor (DWO) as a test engineer. It should also become the start of a very adventurous time. While I am also supporting with the local tasks in Hanover-Stöcken, my main business is to manage the external companies that support us with wear testing worldwide. This includes developing new test routes tailored to meet our tire developers need for application relevant testing in the local market.
I was barely a year into the job when I got a request to design a route in India and to evaluate a local company for a potential partnership. Since I never travelled to Asia before this was quite an adventure. Arriving in a mega-city like Mumbai, driving through the lush green Indian back country and exploring the wide variety of Indian cuisine was a truly memorable experience.
The cities of Shanghai and Hefei were not less impressive than Mumbai. However, the language barrier in China caused me to be a little bit lost in translation (which I could overcome with the support of my helpful Chinese colleague). Comin from China to Finland, which doesn’t feature these huge cities, but offers beautiful lakes, landscapes and wildlife. I traveled to the Inari region to find a suitable location north of the arctic circle which allows for winter tire testing in summer. The two months in Texas featured thankfully much warmer temperatures than Finland. Here I supported our DWO team in Uvalde, where I explored the vast landscapes of the US most southern state (of course in a pick-up truck!).
Despite the exciting destinations it’s always nice to return to Hanover-Stöcken, where I am part of great and supportive team that stems a huge amount of wear and durability tests every year. When not at work you might find me on my mountain bike or road bike as our team is also eager to “test” their limits at local races like the Pro-Am.