12. October 2011

The first OWL culture award goes to HARTING

District Administrator Dr. Ralf Niermann (left) and the North-Rhine Westphalian Minister for Family, Children, Youth and Culture, Ute Schäfer (2nd from right), congratulate Dietmar and Margrit Harting on receiving the award.

The HARTING Technology Group has received the very first OWL Culture Award in the "Large Companies" category acknowledging its outstanding overall cultural involvement in Espelkamp and the surrounding region.

At the award ceremony held as part of a festive event at the Lippe Chamber of Industry and Commerce (IHK) in Detmold, the Director of the IHK East Westphalia Thomas Niehoff delivered a congratulatory speech in which he praised the wide-ranging cultural activities of the Technology Group and the entrepreneur couple Dietmar and Margrit Harting. "Awarding the prize to HARTING was a wise decision by the jury," said Niehoff, listing a number of examples for the exceptional services to cultural life made by the company such as its support for church music and the chamber choir of the church of St. Thomas, the donation of a sculpture in front of the church, a major contribution to financing the modernization and renovation of the "Neues Theater", enabling it to continue to operate as well as staging the highly regarded guest performances by the renowned Berlin Ensemble with its director Claus Peymann.

Niehoff pointed out that HARTING had twice hosted the literature and music festival "Wege durch das Land". He also noted that as the longstanding chairperson of the Philharmonic Society, Margrit Harting had provided outstanding service to the Northwest German Philharmonic with her "very personal dedication". The premises of the head office of HARTING Deutschland GmbH & Co. KG in Minden designed by star Swiss architect Mario Botta were said to have "successfully incorporated culture and aesthetics, in spite of being a business building", according to Niehoff. He went on to add that HARTING had provided "a groundbreaking example of corporate architecture in the 21st century." According to Niehoff, culture is part of HARTING's corporate philosophy, increasing the appeal of the company and promoting identification with the town in which it operates. "And all this is derived from a deep sense of social responsibility and great devotion to culture," said Niehoff.

Dietmar Harting, personally liable partner of the HARTING Technology Group, emphasized the importance of culture as a key factor. He said it contributed to the success of a company and increased the attractiveness of the company's location: "After all, we have to fight for the staff we need here to ensure our continued success." Senior Vice President of the family business Margrit Harting professed to a passionate dedication to culture ("That's just the way I am, I can't help it"), which had been so important in her family when she was growing up.

The OWL Culture Award was awarded for the first time: it involved 43 companies with a total of 48 projects. At the award ceremony in Detmold, also attended by District President Marianne Thomann-Stahl, the North-Rhine Westphalian Minister for Family, Children, Youth and Culture, Ute Schäfer, expressly thanked Mr. and Ms. Harting for their commitment. She said that the competition signaled the start a new brand in OWL for recognizing exceptional companies and encouraging others to follow suit. Schäfer said that provocation through art was important since it created space for innovation and was forward-looking. The fact that regional culture received major funding and support from companies was a good sign of a "very strong cultural landscape" in the OWL region, according to the minister.