106 Years at WACKER - Wacker Chemie AG


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106 Years at WACKER

It doesn’t get any more WACKER than this: between them, the great-grandfather, grandfather, father and son of one family from Burghausen have achieved a total of 106 years of service to the company. It all started in 1922 with Franz-Xaver Graf, who at that time took over the canteen he would manage for 23 years. Every year he invited disadvantaged children to the Christmas dinner.

The Gregory family has been with WACKER for four generations, three of which are represented here: Dr. Xaver Gregory (left), his son Frank (right) – and on the historical photo on the far right wearing a white shirt is Franz-Xaver Graf, who started the family succession at WACKER in 1922.

Franz-Xaver Graf demonstrated how close to his heart WACKER was during the second World War: with English bombers flying over Burghausen, the air-raid siren blaring and everyone running for the air-raid shelter - only the canteen manager remained alone in the kitchen preparing the food for the rest of the staff. One of the canteen manager’s daughters later married the electrician Karl Gregory,

who led the construction of the first 100,000 volt substation and was part of the WACKER workforce for 40 years. The family lived in an attic apartment in what is now personnel building LP 27. It was here on November 18, 1935, that the company doctor delivered a baby boy who would later go down in WACKER’s history as the “Lord of the Powder Towers”: Xaver Gregory. As a child, the long walk from the plant grounds to school in historic downtown Burghausen used to vex him - and the thought that he might one day work at WACKER never crossed his mind.

However, he was fascinated by chemistry and he chose it as an optional extra subject when he went to high school. He later studied and obtained his doctorate from the Technical University in Munich while working for WACKER as a student employee at the same time. “I was always busy in different labs,” he recalls, “and that was something I really enjoyed. After graduating from university, there were a whole range of reasons for deciding on WACKER - of course I knew the plant and the people.” In 1962 he started as a chemist but in time he went on to head eight different departments.

He celebrated his greatest success in the area of dispersible polymer powders - through innovations in processing techniques, he helped establish WACKER’s position as a global technological leader in the manufacture of dispersible polymer powders. Xaver Gregory retired in 1997 - but today there is still a lecture hall named after him in the WACKER ACADEMY.

Dr. Xaver Gregory (left) was born in 1935 in an attic apartment in what is now the personnel building (the decorative historical building in the background). Standing on his right, his son Frank Gregory, Marketing Manager of the WACKER POLYMERS Eastern Europe team.

Xaver Gregory’s son, Frank, was born in 1969. Chemistry was not one of his favorite subjects at school. But many different roads lead to WACKER. After the canteen manager, the electrician and the chemist, the fourth generation produced an industrial sales manager. Frank did his apprenticeship from 1991 to 1993 - and his memories of that time are not all good. He liked the company and his training, but it was really annoying whenever as a trainee, he would call up different WACKER plants to inquire about the progress of the filling orders. Because then he would often be asked whether he was “the” Doctor Gregory and why he was asking about the filling orders - a trainee’s job. “Yes”, Frank Gregory would reply before adding, “I’m only the son.”

After his apprenticeship, Frank studied business administration. “I had no intention of carrying on the family tradition,” he says. After studying, he worked in a small business for ten years. Then he wanted a change and so applied to several different companies. The best offer came from WACKER, not just financially but also in terms of what the work would involve. He has been continuing the family tradition since 2008 as the marketing manager for the WACKER POLYMERS Eastern Europe team.

In November last year, Frank Gregory’s son, Daniel, was born - a fifth-generation WACKER employee? “Children should grow up and develop freely”, argues Frank Gregory, “if my father had pushed me, I would never have gone to WACKER.” So there will be no gentle encouragement in the direction of WACKER. And if the youngest Gregory does end up at WACKER after all, then it will only be for the same reason as the four generations before him - based on his own conviction.