(From left) Andreas Torell, Manfred Hahn and Matt Noll inspect product as it comes off the assembly line at the Bosch Rexroth plant in Bethlehem.
(From left) Andreas Torell, Manfred Hahn and Matt Noll inspect product as it comes off the assembly line at the Bosch Rexroth plant in Bethlehem.

When Dave Link says he is going to Disney World, it’s not exactly for a relaxing vacation.

The 36-year employee of Bethlehem-based Bosch Rexroth has traveled to Florida to make other people’s dreams come true.

Link says he is appreciative of a company that not only has provided him a good job but has afforded him the opportunity for work travel to such destinations as Disney World and the Panama Canal to install hydraulic equipment on park rides and the gates that operate the canal locks.

Bosch Rexroth, a Bethlehem-based manufacturer of hydraulic equipment, was recently recognized as a Jobs First recipient of a Governor’s ImPAct award, an initiative that was co-founded and co-sponsored by Team Pennsylvania Foundation.

“It is wonderful to work here,” Link said. “The company is always encouraging employees to better themselves. If you apply yourself, the sky really is the limit.”

While long-term employees like Link may be an anomaly at many companies, it is quite the norm at Bosch Rexroth, according to Andreas Torell, Vice President, Commercial Plant Manager.  Numerous employees have been with the company 10, 20 and even over 30 years with the German-owned manufacturer.

“People tend to stick with the company,” Torell said. “We have employees who not only have been with Bosch Rexroth since the company came to Bethlehem, but they have spent their entire careers here.”

From employee involvement to recruitment and retention, Bosch Rexroth takes a diverse approach to ensure its employees are engaged and that the company continues to grow its operations.

“It’s a win-win approach of integrating the workforce into the continuous and sustainable improvement processes where we have our associates, who work in the day-to-day operations, come up with ideas to continually improve our efficiency,” Torell said. “We promote bright ideas at Bosch Rexroth. It engages the employees and lets them know that they can contribute to our company.”

WHO of Bosch Rexroth operates robotic machinery at the Bethlehem plant.
Zach Schrearer of Bosch Rexroth operates robotic machinery at the Bethlehem plant.

Manfred Hahn, Vice President & General Manager, said the company actively engages in promoting the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) disciplines and tech school training to showcase to young people the bountiful career opportunities in manufacturing.

“We have skilled labor partnerships with local tech schools and we have seen great outcomes from these relationships where we have people still around and developing into first line management leadership positions,” Hahn said. “But you have to be active and you have to work your way through the system.”

“When you can engage a student with a company at an early stage, whether it is through an internship program or with a corporation like us that works with our technical schools so students can see what we are all about, you find you don’t have to recruit as much,” Torell said. “We engage students and promote programs through our schools to see if there is a good fit for the employee and employer.”

The company has sponsored school students in the World in Motion robotics program, where the participants built a wind-powered race car for the competition, and hosted women in the global studies course at nearby Cedar Crest College so they could learn more about an international company with a presence in 80 countries.

“It was astonishing and remarkable the questions they asked,” Torell said. “Afterwards, they said they felt very engaged and very motivated. It’s a fun thing for us to do and it’s a fun thing for the students to have that experience.”

Located in the United States since 1968, Bosch Rexroth employs approximately 2,200 workers in the U.S., including over 700 at several locations in Bethlehem. The company offers its customers hydraulics, electric drives and controls, pneumatics, gear technology, and linear motion and assembly technology.

As it looks toward the future, the company is firmly committed to making a difference in the world today. Hahn said the company has set a worldwide goal to reduce its carbon emissions by 25 percent by the year 2020.

“We’re exceeding them here in Pennsylvania already, but we have plans to reduce them by 25 percent compared to the baseline 2007 standards,” Hahn said. “Not only is Bosch Rexroth a good employer, but a good corporate citizen.”

Torell said the company’s approach to emphasizing safety first, acting as a responsible corporate citizen – including a $100,000 donation to the United Way following Hurricane Sandy – and focusing its efforts on employee satisfaction are all part of the company’s long-term vision.

“Our slogan for the entire Bosch Group is, ‘Invented for Life’,” Torell said. “I think that statement says it all.”