Changes in management: Interview with founder Dr. Frank Bartels

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Mr. Bartels, today marks a big change for the company: Your role changes from CEO to the Technical Advisory Board. What made you decide that it is time to take this step?

The answer is quite simple. There are two main reasons for me to take this step:

First of all, I have now been working for 45 years, with the last 38 of those years actively in the microtechnology world. It was and still is fun for me, but a shift to some private activity is quite normal at my age.

Secondly: It is possible now! We have a wonderful, smart, enthusiastic and capable team. They are ready to take the next steps for the company into this growing market of microfluidic systems.


Monika Kremer, the current CFO, will fill your position as new CEO of Bartels Mikrotechnik. How did you conclude that she would be the best fit for the future of the company?

This question makes me smile. She has been with the company for 23 years now. First with being in charge of the financial topics and, meanwhile, fully trained in all aspects of our product portfolio – be it market, production or development. It is the most logical thing for her to take over as CEO. She is very well equipped and completely capable of leading the company into the future.


In the future, you will be our Technical Advisory Board (TAB). What will this role entail?

I was always interested in the evaluation of technology processes. I´m a fan of the innovation-hype cycle and how the Bartels Mikrotechnik market and technology is affected by that. I want to keep an eye on this…….and this is fun – not work.


Aside from being the CEO, you were also in charge of the engineering team. Who will be in charge of the engineering and development projects at Bartels Mikrotechnik in the future?

I already mentioned that we have a smart and enthusiastic team with different experts touching the necessary competences and – even more important – know how to work together. We also hired Alice Kasjanow to lead this amazing engineering team in the future.


27 years ago, you founded Bartels Mikrotechnik. Since then, there were ups and downs, many product developments and uncountable projects. Looking back, what were the most exciting things in the company’s history for you?

Two things come to mind.

The finding that the success and the use of the microtechnology is supported by all the other technologies like microelectronic, computing, IT, bio, Gen aso.

And the ability of the company to survive economical and social events like the breakdown of the 2000s new market, 9/11, the financial crisis in 2007/2008 or the Euro crisis in 2012/13.


These past decades, you were in the middle of many changes in the microtechnology and microfluidics industry. You saw the industry grow and shift. What do you think will the future of microfluidics look like?

I see a huge potential of our technology by merging our microfluidic world with bio/gen/AI/pattern-recognition world. This process will enable the hype cycle steps from slope of enlightenment to the plateau of productivity. Overall, this would result in a push for both industries.


And what will be Bartels Mikrotechnik’s role in this future?

We will be a part of it!


This is not just a big change for the company but also for you personally. What are your plans for the new free time you will have?

I’m sure all of this is very understandable: Time with my wife and family – kids and grandchild. Also, playing boule and chess with friends, travel with my camper, astronomic journey with my telescope…. and, of course, accompanying the strategic process at Bartels Mikrotechnik.


While being the CEO, you grew the company and, together with Monika Kremer, hired new employees. What are your wishes for the Bartels team going forward?

That each member of the team can realise their success in work and personal growth….and to have fun and passion in their work.