New head of the Centre for Biotechnology and the Environment: In conversation with Axel Gutzmer, WISTA Management GmbH

30. April 2019

New head of the Centre for Biotechnology and the Environment

In conversation with Axel Gutzmer, WISTA Management GmbH

Axel Gutzmer © WISTA Management GmbH

Sporty in the spare time: Axel Gutzmer with his downhill bike. Credit: © WISTA Management GmbH

As a business founder, Axel Gutzmer almost landed in Adlershof himself. His idea was to use drones for technical inspection of real estate. For his master’s thesis last year, the facility manager flew over the technology park’s photonics centre and even discovered some sources of heat loss. After taking over management of two of Adlershof’s technology centres from the recently retired Heidrun Terytze in January 2019, Gutzmer has put the idea of founding his own company on the backburner. In this issue’s interview, the amateur climber tells us how he will support “his” tenants to reach the summit of their goals.

Adlershof Journal: How were your first 100 days as the head of the Centre for Biotechnology and the Environment (ZBU)?

Axel Gutzmer: They went by in no time. I had to plan and implement conversions for our tenants, organise additional space for growing companies, acquire new companies for recently vacated spaces, bring companies together, identify new trends in our technology field, and a ton of other things to support our tenants with their core business. When you have 80 companies with 940 employees, there is constant change. I made it my mission to meet all tenants in person by the end of the year.

You are a facility manager by trade. What was your professional connection with biotech and environmental topics?

Renewable energies played an important role in my course at university. Also, I’m a certified technician for heating, ventilation, and sanitary facilities. I worked as an apprentice for a few years, built solar installations and did drinking water testing. This helps me today when I’m talking to ZBU tenants working in water analytics. More importantly for the companies, I am familiar with the security levels in laboratories, understand which ventilation systems are needed, and how to store and dispose of hazardous materials.

You entertained the idea of becoming an entrepreneur yourself at one point?

Yes, that resulted from the topic of my master’s thesis when I was at the University for Applied Sciences (HTW) here in Berlin. The start-up was going to be called “Air FM Solutions”. My research showed that the use of drones could significantly improve technical maintenance of real estate, or hard-to-access areas such as poles. I had planned to draw up a business plan with an EXIST start-up grant, but the application didn’t go through because I lacked a partner. However, there will be another time. I’m still following up on the topic in my spare time.

When was the first time you were in Adlershof?

I was born in Köpenick. As a teenager, I went skating many times on the runway in the landscape park Johannisthal/Adlershof. I got to know the Technology Park when I went to the Long Night of the Sciences. In 2015, I worked as a student at WISTA.Service GmbH (previously Adlershof Facility Management GmbH). It took me a while to understand that WISTA is more than just a real estate company that we were also supporting new businesses, building networks, offering guided tours and event management. It’s really exciting to become more involved in all this.

What do you do in your spare time?

I go climbing once a week, mostly at the Ostbloc climbing centre or the Bouldergarten in Neukölln. My other athletic passion is downhill mountain biking, which is incredible on my Enduro Downhill bike. I also really love travelling around Europe.

What is important to you?

Honesty, treating people with respect, and team spirit. Reaching goals together and supporting people who are starting out, this is important in my own life, when I’m climbing, and on the job.

What is your dream?

I want to do a guided alp crossing next year.


Interview by Sylvia Nitschke for Adlershof Journal