Karl-Bruno Hänel

In Memoriam

Kurt Velmeke remembers a loyal and dedicated colleague – 
excerpt from the eulogy for Karl-Bruno Hänel

Karl-Bruno Hänel
September 3, 1934 – June 24, 2014

Karl-Bruno Hänel was associated with Hänel Office and Storage Systems from the company’s very beginning.

In 1957, Hänel was the first manufacturer in Europe to start series production of filing carousels based on the Ferris wheel principle. And Karl-Bruno Hänel played a key role in this development.

He was the Chief Plant Manager of the manufacturing facility in Bad Friedrichshall until his retirement in 2004. He experienced and contributed to the history of the company founded by his uncle, Gerhard Hänel.

The countless innovations developed by Gerhard Hänel were implemented and put into practice by Karl-Bruno Hänel. He collaborated with Gerhard Hänel on every major development.

We will gratefully remember Karl-Bruno Hänel for his many years of loyalty and dedication to our company. The Management and Staff of Hänel Office and Storage Systems

Dear Karl-Bruno,

You can be sure that your achievements in life will not be forgotten, and that the Hänel family will continue the business just as you would have done.

Thanks to your tireless efforts, Hänel today is a successful business enterprise based on a long tradition of innovation.

Knowing you personally truly enriched my life. I consider myself quite lucky in having had the privilege of working successfully with you, and having had such a trusted colleague and friend at my side.

I am extremely grateful to you, and all of Hänel’s employees are thankful for your achievements. You were quite unique and served as a genuine role model for us all. You will not be forgotten.

Kurt Velmeke

Having the privilege of delivering the eulogy for Karl-Bruno was a very emotional moment in my life.

“It is certainly much more difficult to respectfully honor someone who has passed away than to praise someone in person for many achievements in life. Karl-Bruno was always astute and attentive, so I am sure that he will listen very carefully from above to my remarks today.

Karl-Bruno and I met for the first time in the late 1960s. Even then he was a trusted consultant and confidant of Mr. Hänel Sr. and his dear wife. I was working as an assistant to the owner of a company that was a Hänel customer. During the course of our conversation, I had the impression that I had earned his trust.

This was the beginning of a wonderful professional and personal relationship spanning nearly 50 years. It may sound unbelievable, but during that time we never had any personal confrontations.

Of course, there were differences of opinion from time to time, especially when it came to technical matters, where his expertise was far superior to my know-how. Some of the product ideas I suggested just made him shake his head, but he would go off and then come back sometime later with just the right technical solution. He always made sure that manufacturing operations
were geared toward supporting the sale of Hänel products in the best way possible.

Mr. Hänel Sr. and Karl-Bruno had developed an advanced portfolio of products, but the next step involved marketing these innovations on a large scale. Thus the company presented its product line for the first time at the Hanover Fair in 1971, and Karl-Bruno was right there for a full week to give his support to all of us.

These were very exciting days, and as we worked together in promoting Hänel products and generating customer leads, both of us seemed to grow closer. Karl-Bruno contributed to the relaxed, friendly and often humorous atmosphere among the staff at the conclusion of each day in Hanover. But during the day, he was always very professional, serious and focused.

This was the era in which Karl-Bruno and Mr. Hänel Sr. realized countless technical innovations. Karl-Bruno never hesitated to find solutions to the challenges posed by promising ideas and feasible applications. Words cannot describe all that Karl-Bruno achieved for the company and its employees. 

He listened to what employees had to say, and was always ready to help in every way he could. Yes, at times he could lose his temper, but that was understandable in difficult situations. He was never vindictive and always remained open and honest.

Karl-Bruno was indeed one of a kind.”

Kurt Velmeke,
Sales Manager 1971 – 2011