In the cool early morning hours of a Tuesday in mid-November 2009, I met with Ms. Suzanne Graham and Dr. Erich Buergel of Mentor Graphics Corporation (MGC) at 1001 Ridder Park Drive, San Jose CA. The purpose of this particular meeting was to assist in the preparation of this article on the progress of the MGC Mechanical Analysis Division (MAD) for IBSystems’ EDA Weekly on EDAcafe.com for December 7, 2009
Suzanne is the Senior PR Manager at MGC in Wilsonville, OR. Suzanne reports to Ryerson Schwark, Director of MGC Public Relations. She has been at MGC since 1996. Prior to MGC, Suzanne was Associate Director at Oregon’s Institute for Science, Engineering and Public Policy (ISEPP).
Erich is the new General Manager of the MGC Mechanical Analysis Division (MAD), formed after the acquisition of Flomerics plc by MGC in August 2008. Joining MAD in August 2009, Erich is based in the UK at Hampton Court, Surrey, KT8 9HH.
Erich Buergel reports to Henry Potts, VP & GM of the MGC Systems Design Division (SDD). Mr. Potts is headquartered in Longmont, CO.
The San Jose CA location of the November meeting with Suzanne and Erich was familiar territory to me, since I was once based precisely there as GM of MGC’s PCB Division in the early nineties. Formerly a mere 10 mile commute from my original California home in Fremont, 1001 Ridder Park Drive in San Jose is a more formidable 55 miles from my current Henke Associates’ office in Albany CA.
As it happens, the present MGC System Design Division is now the Longmont CO-based successor of the MGC PCB Division that was once headquartered in San Jose CA.
Suzanne and Erich were in San Jose as part of a week-long series of press meetings across the USA established to introduce MAD in general and Dr. Buergel in particular. The two travelers had already been to Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Ohio, Michigan, Minnesota, and New Mexico before ending their tour in California. Since we at IBSystems had chosen the topic for this EDA Weekly article some weeks before we found out that the MGC press tour would include San Jose on its itinerary, I decided to use the MGC press tour calendar to meet these two key MGC individuals in person.
(Director of SDD Systems Worldwide Market Development John Isaac was also a part of the week-long MGC press tour, but he missed the sessions in New Mexico & California on other business. John has been with MGC for most of the last 20 years and did a prior stint at IBM after earning his BSEE at Rensselaer).
Dr. Buergel’s Background:
Erich Buergel was born and grew up in the Würzburg area of Germany. Würzburg is situated near the northern tip of Bavaria, approximately 75 miles southeast of Frankfurt.
After finishing high school, Erich fulfilled his army service obligation and toiled for a year working in underground mines in two countries. In 1977 he entered the Technical University of Clausthal located in Clausthal-Zellerfeld, Germany, 60 miles south of Hannover. (TU Clausthal was founded in 1775). Erich earned a Mining Engineering Degree there in 1982 (equivalent to a Master’s Degree in the USA). Below is the TU Clausthal Institute of Mining.
Then from 1983 to 1987 Erich completed a PhD in Applied Mechanics/Fluid Mechanics at TU Clausthal, providing a technical background that would serve him well throughout his career to date, and most certainly in his new General Manager position at MGC MAD.
Upon receiving his doctorate, Erich was hired by the Structural Dynamics Research Corporation (SDRC) office in Wiesbaden, Germany, where he spent the next 13 years (till 2002), eventually helping build SDRC software & services revenues from that office alone from $40 million/year in 1987 to $67 million/year in 2001. (Coincidentally, I was the COO of the Ohio-headquartered SDRC (1972-1982), when we first sent our Wayne McClelland to Wiesbaden in 1980 to establish that Wiesbaden office, the third European office we had started with expatriates (others were London 1976 & Paris 1977)).
While at SDRC, Erich also managed to earn a BBA Degree from the Graduate School of Business Administration in Zürich, Switzerland during 1994-1995.
Erich chose to leave SDRC in 2002 (after EDS acquired SDRC). He next held several independent consulting and other positions inside Germany from 2002 to 2006:
2002 – 2004 PEOPLEPOWER.Net, Coach and Trainer within that partner network
Responsibility Selling and delivering transformation and training programs to sales and service organizations of IT companies in Europe and the US
Focus Selling and delivering of the TripleE method
Special Tasks Development of the new TripleE method creating emotional, economic and established value added with customers
Achievements Successful delivery at companies like EDS, UGS, CoCreate, Procad, StS
2004 – 2006 STEINHILBER SCHWEHR (StS) AG, Rottweil/Germany
A leading local system integrator for ERP, PDM and CAx solutions
Member of the Executive Management Team (Vorstand)
In 2006, Erich joined
MSC.Software Corporation Europe and spent the next four years there, ending up as VP/Automotive Industry for MSC Europe. (Again, there is a mild parallel here between Erich and me; I served on the MSC Board of Directors from 1995-96 while Dr. Richard MacNeal was still Chairman & CEO, and then I became a consultant to the new MSC CEO Mr. Tom Curry from 1996-97. (The latter was my first independent consulting gig after leaving the MGC in March 1996. Working as a liaison with MSC Europe was part of my MSC assignment for Tom)).
Erich’s time at SDRC and MSC are particularly significant to his new position at MGC. For it was during those SDRC and MSC assignments that Erich skillfully leveraged his engineering mechanics education and successfully refined his approach to effective customer implementation of software and services in “concurrent or simultaneous engineering” initially fostered by SDRC in the 70’s and 80’s. This concurrent approach is pivotal to Erich’s ongoing customer-oriented philosophy at MAD, as we’ll see in the sequel.
As implied earlier, the Mechanical Analysis Division (MAD) of MGC today consists essentially of the intact firm of Flomerics, Inc., originally founded in
1988 in Europe by
Messrs. David Tatchell and
Harvey Rosten. After MGC completed the acquisition of Flomerics in 2008, MGC began to supply only the corporate service functions of finance, legal, HR, PR, etc., leaving the rest of the Flomerics’ worldwide organization in place.
The two founders of Flomerics had worked together in the seventies pioneering the commercial availability of what are now widely known as Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) technologies. Seeing a possible market opportunity, they decided to form a company in ’88 to develop software to simulate the thermal behavior of electronic systems before actual hardware prototypes are built. Mr. Tatchell became CEO and served in that capacity till 2006. Mr. Rosten drove the initial software development effort, but sadly he passed away prematurely in 1997 of a brain tumor.
Since then, several other CFD software vendors have also emerged around the world, but as recently as 2008, Flomerics’ first thermal analysis software product FloTHERM (released in 1989) enjoyed the leading worldwide market share with a 2008 client list that included virtually all the major electronics companies around the world.