William Nehring has been the CEO of thyssenkrupp Elevator UK Ltd. since 2014, prior to which he was the chief operating officer of thyssenkrupp Elevator’s global escalator business, and director for mergers and acquisitions for the company’s Southern Europe, Africa, and Middle East (SEAME) region.
William has been with the company for nearly a decade, and has worked in areas including business development, portfolio management, strategy, and the escalators business. He previously worked in the automotive industry and in marketing and strategy consulting.
He attended the London School of Economics, from where he holds a Master of Science degree in management. He also holds a Master’s degree in mechanical engineering and a Ph.D. in economics from the Technical University of Berlin.
How did you become involved in the Smart Buildings industry?
For me, involvement in the Smart Buildings industry is a natural extension of the elevator industry. Technology changes constantly, influencing the way we live and move and as our cities get denser and our buildings get taller, elevators have an increasingly important role to play. For example, in addition to solutions like Destination Selection Control (DSC), thyssenkrupp’s MAX technology takes us further into the smart building space, using Cloud-based predictive analytics to make getting stuck in a lift a thing of the past.
What excites you about the Smart Buildings industry?
The potential of combining data to enhance users’ experiences – e.g. through geo tagging, connecting with peoples’ personal preferences, etc. In the future, this use of data could mean that as soon as you enter the building the lift knows who you are and where you need to go, coordinating lift journey times with meetings scheduled in your outlook calendar. It’s exciting to consider the future possibilities that we haven’t even thought about yet!
Are there any particular technologies that we should be aware of, but are currently under the radar?
I think virtual reality solutions will have a huge part to play in training and service delivery in our industry – this has already begun in a small way, but there are so many further applications with great potential that are still unexplored.
What services does your company offer?
thyssenkrupp Elevator has an extremely broad service and product portfolio. In the UK, we specialize in bespoke escalator and elevator products, where the focus is on providing quality and value for specific customer requirements. The majority of our business is in new installations and maintenance services, and we also do retrofit and modernisation projects.
Our strength is also in constant innovation – looking to where the future of urban mobility lies. For instance, we have the ready to market ACCEL transportation system. In airports, where time is always of the essence, ACCEL can reduce connection times between gates by up to 70%! MAX, our Cloud-based predictive-maintenance platform is focused on maximizing elevator uptime while MULTI, the world’s first rope-less elevator system enables multiple elevator cabins to operate in the same shaft and move both horizontally and vertically. Innovations such as these really challenge the existing norms in urban mobility and make thyssenkrupp an exciting place to be right now.
Are people aware of the regulations that they will need to comply with in the near future?
At the moment I’d say awareness is at about 50/50. Most people in the industry certainly know what’s coming while others rely on experts to predict the next big regulations.
What are the benefits of a smart building?
Besides improved performance in energy efficiency and people productivity, there are also significant advantages with regard to costs reductions in running the building.
Who has been the biggest influence in your career?
My first boss at thyssenkrupp, Dr. Olaf Berlien. I found him to be a very passionate leader and highly focused on technologies and future trends.
What is the question you are most often asked in your business life?
“When will you go to market with the latest innovation?” This is a good question to be asked as it means people know what we’re doing and are excited about it!
What are the best/worst things about your job?
The best thing is the excitement of developing technologies for the future, and I also love working with a great team. In honesty, there isn’t really a bad thing about my job.
What advice would you give to someone starting out in the industry?
Enjoy what you’re doing and always be open to new ways of thinking.
What living person do you admire and why?
My father; he taught me what is essential in life and he was always there when I needed him.
Where would you most like to live?
I am already here - London.
What is your favourite book?
City of Thieves, by David Benioff.
How do you relax?
I relax by spending time with my family, listening to music and reading books.
What sports team do you support?
What is your desert island disk?
Goldberg Variations from J.S. Bach.
What is your ideal holiday?
Going to Greece, enjoying the sun and long dinners with friends and family.