HARTING Technology Group

25. February 2009

Margrit and Dietmar Harting awarded the Federal Cross of Merit 1st Class of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany

Christa Thoben, Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy of North Rhine-Westphalia (5th left) awarded Margrit and Dietmar Harting the Federal Order of Merit 1st Class.

Entrepreneur couple actively engaged at regional, national and international levels.

German President Horst Köhler awarded husband and wife Dietmar and Margrit Harting the Federal Cross of Merit 1st Class of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany on February 16, 2009 on the recommendation of Minister President Jürgen Rüttgers.

It is not just at the HARTING Technology Group that social commitment has a high priority: for husband and wife entrepreneurs Dietmar and Margrit Harting, charity activities, particularly in the East Westphalia region, play an major role. The award ceremony, in which Espelkamp’s mayor Heinrich Vieker also took part, was organized by Christa Thoben, North Rhine-Westphalia’s Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy. The entrepreneurs had already been awarded the Cross of Merit on ribbon in July 1998.

In her encomium, minister Christa Thoben praised the outstanding commitment of Margrit and Dietmar Harting, who are actively involved in many different organizations in addition to their duties at the HARTING Technology Group. The activities of both entrepreneurs are focused on making a wide and varied contribution in the East Westphalia region and ensuring that this economically powerful region also offers an attractive living environment with regard to cultural and general social aspects. The dedication of Dietmar Harting, who is committed to standardization at both national and international levels, must likewise be lauded as a significant contribution to the development of the German economy.

Margrit Harting has held honorary posts since as long ago as 1973 and has rendered outstanding service to the East Westphalia region in many different ways. Since being appointed in 1979 to the board of trustees of the Westphalia-Lippe Bielefeld University Association, she has dedicated herself to relations between science and application, chairing the board from 2000 through 2002. In addition to this role, she has for many years financed one of the 13 prizes the University of Bielefeld awards annually for outstanding dissertations. Margrit Harting has also been a member of the board of trustees of Bielefeld University of Applied Sciences since 2002.

As a trustee of the East Westphalia-Lippe Philharmonic Society since 1993, and its chairperson since 1996, Margrit Harting has accomplished a great deal to advance and promote NWD, the Northwest German Philharmonia. It was her powers of persuasion that led to the NWD being retained as the region’s symphony orchestra. Her initiative is also the reason why the East Westphalia-Lippe Philharmonic Society is sponsoring the Detmold Summer Academy, which invites the winners of Germany’s “Jugend musiziert” competition for young musicians to Detmold and thereby enriches the region’s cultural landscape.

From 1993 through 2003 Margrit Harting chaired the Espelkamp Association of Culture and Theater. In this role she played a major part in ensuring the renovation of the New Theater in Espelkamp, while also contributing - together with her husband Dietmar Harting - to the finance for the redevelopment of the theater in the same amount as the Espelkamp authorities. In 2002, Espelkamp's council awarded her the Espelkamp Medal in recognition of her efforts. The Association appointed her honorary chairperson in 2003. In 2006, the German president praised this theater as an iconic image of Germany in his “Germany – Land of Ideas” campaign.

Margrit Harting is also a member of various bodies dedicated to furthering the economic position of the East Westphalia region. They include the East Westphalia Chamber of Industry and Commerce in Bielefeld, to whose full assembly she has belonged since 1996 and whose vice president she has been since 2006. She has also sat on the board of trustees of the Wirtschaftliche Gesellschaft für Westfalen und Lippe e.V. since 1999, a Münster-based business development organization in the Westphalia and Lippe regions. From 1993 through 2003 she chaired the Interessengemeinschaft Standortförderung für den Kreis Minden-Lübbecke, an interest group promoting the Minden-Lübbecke district as a business location, and has been an honorary chairperson since 2003. In 1996 she initiated the announcement of the “Leistung macht Laune” [Pride in Achievement] sponsorship prize of €10,000. The prize is awarded for an achievement that has helped to strengthen the sense of belonging in the region. Margrit Harting also supports the cultural interests of the region as a member of the board of trustees of the “Sparkasse Minden-Lübbecke Foundation for the Promotion of Art and Culture”.

As well as being president and partner of the HARTING Technology Group, Dietmar Harting also sits on the board of a large number of national and international organizations. His particular interest is in standardization.

Dietmar Harting has held honorary posts since the 1970s. Since 1990, his commitments have concentrated on the professional sphere in particular. From 1995 through 1998 he was a member of German chancellor Kohl’s Council for Research, Technology and Innovation. In addition to his active collaboration in the EECA (European Electronic Component Manufacturers Association), whose president he was from 1999 through 2001, he took over as chairman of the German Commission for Electrical, Electronics & Information Technologies (DKE) in 1998. The DKE is the organization in Germany that is responsible for drafting standards and safety regulations in this field. Dietmar Harting represents the interests of German manufacturers in CENELEC (European Committee for Electrotechnical Standardization), whose president he has been since 2007, and as vice chairman of the German Committee of the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC). From 1999 through 2004 Dietmar Harting led the German Electrical and Electronic Manufacturers’ Association (ZVEI) as president, having been an active member and held leadership posts in various technical associations since 1990. Here too, he was deeply involved in the development of electrotechnical standardization. The organization appointed him honorary president on his departure in 2004. In 2003 Dietmar Harting was elected president of the German Institute for Standardization e.V. (DIN).

In 2004 Dietmar Harting brought his specialist expertise as entrepreneur heading an SME to bear in the field of standardization in the “Partners for Innovation” initiative. The initiative aimed to write a further chapter in Germany’s success story of innovations. He was able to establish the recognition that norms and standards support the marketability of innovations and consequently their success on the markets. It was on his findings that Germany’s Ministry of Economic Affairs and Technology based its “Innovation with Norms and Standards” (INS) project, financed with an innovation sponsorship program. The aim of this project is to offer the optimal framework for innovations of the future and to enhance their marketability.

From 2000 through 2004 he sat on the board of the Förderkreis der Deutschen Industrie e.V., an organization that supports major community projects of German industry. In addition to the BDI, it supports the Institut der deutschen Wirtschaft [the German Economic Institute], the Forschungsinstitut für Wirtschaftsverfassung und Wettbewerb, a research institute for economic systems and competition, and the Gesellschaft zur Förderung des Unternehmernachwuchses, an organization sponsoring the entrepreneurs of tomorrow.

Dietmar Harting has been a member of the Supervisory Board of Deutsche Messe AG and chairman of the Exhibitors’ Advisory Board of Hannover Messe since November 1996. In 2004 Lower Saxony awarded Dietmar Harting the Cross of Merit 1st Class of the Order of Merit of Lower Saxony in recognition of his service. In 2008 he received the Gold Medal of Deutsche Messe AG for his particular commitment.

“We are absolutely delighted to be so honored by the President, and we would like to thank Minister Thoben for her warm and very personal words. For us this honor is not simply a recognition of our efforts, but rather an incentive to contribute what we can in the future also,” emphasized Margrit and Dietmar Harting at the ceremony in Düsseldorf.