Dr.-Ing. E.h. Martin Herrenknecht accepted the Werner von Siemens Ring – a most prestigious technical engineering award – on Dec. 13, 2016 in the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities. The Werner von Siemens Ring Foundation highlighted Herrenknecht’s innovative efforts in the development of tunnel boring machines and mechanized tunneling. For the past 100 years, the Werner von Siemens Ring has been awarded to inventors and entrepreneurs for outstanding achievements who, like Werner von Siemens, have realized epoch-making technical innovations and guided them to success.
Prof. Dr. Joachim Ullrich, the Chairman of the Foundation Council and President of the Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt, presented Herrenknecht with his Werner von Siemens Ring. It is a unique item designed and produced by Michael Berger, a kinetic jewelry designer and renowned master goldsmith, who was commissioned by the Foundation.
Around 250 guests representing the areas of science, business and politics took part in the festive event at the historic Gendarmenmarkt, eager to witness the presentation of the prestigious prize. The official speech was given by Nobel prizewinner and chemist Prof. Dr. Stefan Hell. In the greeting of Sigmar Gabriel, Germany’s Vice-Chancellor and Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy, Herrenknecht’s achievements were also praised. “To ensure that we can also continue to set standards with innovative products in the future, we need strong research facilities, strong companies and lively exchange. As the manufacturer of the world’s largest tunnel boring machines, Dr. Martin Herrenknecht is an exemplary figure in these areas: he is an inventor and founder, a technical pioneer and an entrepreneur, and with the success displayed by his company, he is one of the representatives of this country’s economic strength.”
In a speech about the Herrenknecht, Prof. Dr.-Ing. E.h. Manfred Nußbaumer M. Sc., member of the Foundation Council at the Werner von Siemens Ring Foundation and former chairman of the Board at Ed. Züblin AG, lauded the particular technical courage and entrepreneurial pioneer spirit displayed by the entrepreneur and engineer from Baden-Württemberg. “You have repeatedly broken new ground. Every time we met, I was amazed at the energy with which you pursued your goals and the wide range of possible solutions at your disposal for excavating tunnels.
Herrenknecht received the award with particular pleasure: “I was surprised to receive this honor. Especially when I consider the impressive range of ring bearers to date. Without the substantial support given by my mother when establishing the company, without the untiring understanding of my family given to me as an entrepreneur, and without the fantastic commitment by my engineers and employees all over the world, I would most likely never have been considered for the Werner von Siemens Ring. Scientists, inventors and entrepreneurs have a special privilege and a genuine responsibility as we are capable of bringing beneficial progress to many key challenges. Although new tunnel infrastructures and tunneling technology are only a small excerpt thereof, this award means that they will also be attributed special acknowledgement by science.”
In almost 40 years of its corporate history, Herrenknecht AG has been involved with more than 3,100 tunnel projects in over 80 countries in close collaboration with its customers. These include projects large and small, with progress regularly marked by new records and milestones.