Anton Nagy builds testing facilities for customers from the chemical industry and is fascinated by Berlin
Berlin in the 1990s: “Really awesome!” His successful application as a PhD student at the Fritz-Haber-Institute and the collegiality back then: “Really awesome.” When you meet Anton Nagy, you experience a person who is enthusiastic for a lot of things. For example, for punk and techno: “I go to Berghain at least once a month.” For the Berlin Philharmonic: “I love music.” For good food: “I am a passionate cook.” For nature and the lakes surrounding Berlin. Finally, for the science that supports him as an entrepreneur: technical chemistry.
Nagy is managing director and is co-owner of the company Integrated Lab Solutions (ILS), for which he currently holds 55% of shares. The company and its 30 employees produce tailored testing facilities for customers from the chemical, petrochemical and pharmaceutical industry. The company’s mainstays include testing facilities for exhaust measurement and pollutant analysis, energy storage, and environmentally-friendly technologies.
Nagy started out with 50,000 Euro capital in a shared office behind a mosque at Kottbusser Tor, where he rented a desk for 80 euros next to a Turkish tax advisor, a Turkish family consultant, and an internet company in 2003. The money had been saved up by his Croatian grandmother, who worked as a housekeeper in Chicago. Nagy started off working alone on the development of his facilities and took care of sales. Production was done in Switzerland and the Netherlands. He moved from Kottbusser Tor – “people broke in all the time” - to Oranienstraße in Kreuzberg. In 2013, his enthusiasm was awoken by a new place once again: the Adlershof site with its many opportunities. The company and its 15 employees soon moved to Max-Planck-Straße. Nagy decided to move production to Berlin a year later. He quickly found a suitable space: “Adlershof was really important to us.”
Anton Nagy is a US citizen, a son of refugees. He never forgot. His grandfather fought on the wrong side during the Second World War, his widow managed to get away to Austria with her young son and eventually found herself in Chicago. Which is where her grandson Anton was born 46 years ago, and where he first went to university to become a chemical engineer. He didn’t stay there long. His “gateway drug” to Europe was a three-month trip to Delft as a student in 1993. He soon returned to the Netherlands, first as an intern, then as a researcher for Shell in Amsterdam. He speaks the language fluently and with almost no trace of an accent. He also got his doctorate in the Netherlands after German bureaucracy did not accept his master’s degree. However, Nagy “instantly fell in love”, as he says, when he arrived in Berlin for the first time as a PhD student in 1995. He still remembers the smell of brown coal, the “punctured houses”, the punk and techno joints: “It is my favourite city by far.” Still is.
By Winfried Dolderer for Adlershof Journal