More Sad News

Not a good day for folks in automation. This news has just come in.

Dr Georg H Endress has passed away at the age of 84

The Endress+Hauser Group is mourning their founder Dr. Georg H Endress. The entrepreneur died on 14 December 2008 after a brief, grave illness a few weeks before his 85th birthday, surrounded by his family in Arlesheim, Switzerland. He is survived by his wife Alice Endress-Vogt and the couple's large family.

[img_assist|nid=2596|title=Georg Endress|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=284|height=284]The core of Georg H Endress life's work is the establishment of the Endress+Hauser Group. From small beginnings, the Group developed into an international company for industrial measurement and automation engineering with over 8,300 employees worldwide. “I wanted to prove to myself, my family and the world that I could carry an idea through to success,” Georg H Endress once stated in reply to the question of why he became an entrepreneur. And with his unique sense of humor, he added: “When we were expecting our third child, my wife challenged me to do something – so I became an entrepreneur.”

Georg Herbert Endress was born in Freiburg, Germany, on 9 January 1924. His father was the director of a factory there. Seven years later the family moved to Zagreb, Croatia, where Georg H Endress started school. He completed further schooling in Basel, Switzerland. He took an apprenticeship as a mechanic and finally studied engineering in Zurich. After working for several companies in Switzerland, Endress moved to England, to a company which manufactured a new type of electronic level  measurement device.

In 1953 the young Swiss engineer founded L Hauser KG together with the experienced banker Ludwig Hauser. Based in the German town of Lörrach, the new company was a distributor of those very same new electronic level measurement devices. The two contrasting characters complemented   each other perfectly: Endress’ far-sightedness and Hauser’s prudence formed the basis of the success. The 1956 saw the launch of the first own measurement devices. New sales markets and business areas were
opened up step by step. Georg H Endress recognized the potential for growth outside Europe at an early stage. In 1970 he founded subsidiaries in the USA and Japan, quickly followed by the move into China in the 1980s.

Georg H Endress saw his business success as an obligation to take on social responsibilities. One concern of his was cooperation in the German-French-Swiss region of the Upper Rhine, in which half of all the employees of the company still work today: following the dismantling of the geographic borders in Europe, the mental barriers should also fall. Georg H Endress initiated the tri-national apprenticeship and engineers’ training, as well as the BioValley Initiative, a network in the field of life science. He was active in the Wirtschaftsverband Industrieller Unternehmen Badens (WVIB), an economic association of industrial businesses, and the ‘Regio­Gesellschaft Schwarzwald–Oberrhein’. Both of these associations nominated him as Honorary President.

In addition to numerous other honors, Georg H Endress 1984 was awarded the Bundesverdienstkreuz 1st Class (Federal Service Cross) in 1984. In 1990 he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of the University of Basel. In 1994 he became Honorary Senator of the University of Freiburg and holder of the medal for services to the Land Baden-Württemberg (Verdienstmedaille des Landes Baden-Württemberg). In 2000 he was distinguished with the French insignia of Chevalier de la Légion
d’Honneur. He received this honor, the highest award given by the French state, for his contribution to international understanding and his services to the economic development of Alsace. He is also an Honorary Citizen of the city of Indianapolis, United States, and the German municipality of Maulburg.

Georg H Endress leaves behind a well-ordered legacy. He had withdrawnfrom business operations back in 1995, handing the leadership of the company group to his second oldest son, Klaus Endress. Nevertheless, as a member of the Supervisory Board, he played an active part in the successful development of Endress+Hauser until shortly before his death. In spite of his enormous business and voluntary commitments, the family always held a key position for Georg H Endress. He had been married to Alice Vogt since 1946. Eight children issued from the marriage. All four sons and one daughter are actively employed in the company today.