A Look Back, A Look Forward
Dr. Christian Pychlau has been Managing Partner of PTW since 1996.
Upon his retirement, he takes a personal look back at his time with the medical technology company, but also looks forward into the future.
After 30 years as managing director of PTW, I am passing the baton to new management. I am very grateful that I was able to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the company in 2022. PTW proved one thing: you can celebrate a family anniversary and an unforgettable one with 800 people!
The last 30 years have been an exciting and challenging time for me.
When I started working in the company in 1992, PTW was basically a company in Germany for Germany. We sold 80% of our products in Germany at the time. Today, we sell more than 80% of our products outside of Germany and focus on the global market. I still remember well how we founded our first subsidiary in the USA in 1995 with the nice address: PTW New York, Park Avenue. Unfortunately, it wasn't the Park Avenue. The PTW family now has more than 400 employees at twelve locations and supplies high-tech dosimetry to over 160 countries worldwide. The internationalization of PTW has always had a human component. In our subsidiaries, which we have gradually founded across the globe, there are often people with whom we had previously worked closely. For me, these are the most beautiful success stories, namely those with people.
Dr. Christian Pychlau has been managing partner of PTW since 1996. He retired at the end of January.
But not only PTW, but also the working world of medical physics has changed significantly in recent decades. Regulations have become stricter and make it more difficult to put new ideas and insights into practice. Until the 1990s, PTW manufactured special devices according to customer requirements. Such “off label” applications are now almost inconceivable. For the future, I hope that medical physicists and medical physics experts will not be discouraged despite these challenges and continue to work on visionary ideas, because that is what medical physics is all about.
And there is another word that I have always associated with PTW from the very beginning: family. On the one hand, because I have always understood and perceived PTW as a large family. This is part of our corporate culture, our DNA. People with different strengths and knowledge have a common goal in mind; they share their knowledge and support each other. Like in a family. On the other hand, I have been closely connected to PTW since my childhood. I grew up in the house just behind the company premises. When my grandfather was managing director, I often played on the premises and built the most amazing toys out of the metal waste that was stored in a large box. This is how my own story started at PTW, long before I was allowed to lead PTW in the third generation after my grandfather and my father had done so.
I also see the inventive spirit at PTW. Even if a task seemed excessively complicated or unsolvable in the past, together we managed to do it again and again. This always reminds me of our first linear array. At that time, we were looking for a solution to measure the dose precisely when using virtual wedge filters. One developer approached my father, a physicist who was managing director at the time, with his idea of developing an array. My father was skeptical and said that the idea could not work for physical reasons. But the developer was not discouraged. We then built this linear array, it worked, and we sold it with great success for many years. This example shows with what passion PTW was and is looking for solutions. This is what distinguishes PTW to this day. If I were to set up a motto for PTW, then it would be: Keep up the good work! Carefully, but also courageously. It takes courage to take responsibility in a company and to break new ground again and again. And this applies not only to the management, but also to each individual in the team. I had the honor of experiencing this corporate culture at PTW time and time again, and I am sure that it will remain so in the future.