Bud Conlin is a very curious person. We meet him after a visit to a production facility in Germany. In almost 17 years of working for Sennheiser, this is not Bud’s first visit, but he is just as curious as he was the very first time. Everyone thinks technologists like him are only interested in the software or the hardware itself. He laughs as he says: “No, I’m more interested in how and why people do what they do. That has always fascinated me more than the purely mechanical processes.”
Bud lives in Connecticut, not far from the Sennheiser site, which everyone in the company refers to as SEC, short for the Sennheiser Electronic Corporation. Many of his closest friends work at Sennheiser. “It’s actually really easy to describe our company, because everyone who visits us, regardless of whether they are contractual partners or customers, always tells us how surprised they are. They notice how curious we are about people. How well we take care of them.” And it’s true, visitors to SEC are always very quickly made to feel at home. It starts with a friendly chat at reception and carries on even after the visit is over.
But let’s get back to the curiosity. There is no other company that, by pure chance, has been lucky enough to hire so many curious and empathetic people. People who, even outside of work, would be willing to drop everything for long periods of time, for example to help a colleague who has had a serious accident. How is that possible? How did such a culture come about? Bud is visibly moved when he tells us about his former colleague Jeff Alexander. “Jeff was a role model in many ways. He helped us to become this loyal community that supports its customers as well as its colleagues. He was someone who looked after people and made them part of an extended family.”
Jeff Alexander passed away two years ago from long-standing injuries sustained in a tragic accident. His colleagues commemorated his passing with pictures and truly emotional remembrances that showed just how much he meant to the SEC crew. Yet his legacy lives on. He helped to create a corporate culture where employees truly trust their colleagues and where empathy was visible. And today, more than ever before, this culture is appreciated by anyone who comes into contact with Sennheiser, whether they are attending a trade fair, having a discussion with the sales team or visiting the Sennheiser Electronic Corporation building on the seashore in Connecticut.