Dr.-Ing. E. h. Martin Herrenknecht
Martin Herrenknecht was born in Lahr (Baden-Württemberg, Germany) on 24 June 1942. Whereas his older brother took over the family business (a saddlery) in their hometown Allmannsweier/Schwanau, Martin Herrenknecht graduated in mechanical engineering at Konstanz University of Applied Sciences. His professional career first took him to Switzerland, later to Canada, and then back to Germany. In 1971, Martin Herrenknecht became the Director of the mechanical engineering department of the Huttegg large-scale construction site where Seelisberg Tunnel (Switzerland) was being built over a length of 9 km using the world's (then) largest tunnel boring machine. Martin Herrenknecht later established his own business by opening an engineering office in 1975; two years later, he founded the limited liability company Herrenknecht GmbH in nearby Schwanau with DM 25,000 seed money his mother lent him. In 1988, Herrenknecht GmbH became an incorporated company whose CEO has been Martin Herrenknecht ever since its creation. Today, Herrenknecht AG employs approx. 5000 staff, trains more than 150 young people and had a total operating performance of EUR 1174 million in 2014. The family business is the world leader in the field of mechanical pipe jacking.
Herrenknecht is strongly committed to education and the support of young professionals in the technical and scientific fields. For many years, Herrenknecht and his company have been supporting educational institutions for natural and technical sciences in various ways; they also support initiatives for young professionals' development as well as programs for general technical training – at colleges and universities, but also at a local high school, the Max-Planck-Gymnasium, in Lahr or via an endowed professorship at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT).
Martin Herrenknecht has already been awarded numerous prizes and distinctions, including an honorary doctorate from the Technische Universität Braunschweig in 1998, the Federal Cross of Merit 1st order from the Federal Republic of Germany in 2007, and the German Gründerpreis (an award for entrepreneurs) in the category "Lifetime achievement".