Jochen Rewitzer – project controls in engineering at Roche

Developing new projects, encouraging innovation and the ongoing generation of new solutions – as the head of project controls, Jochen Rewitzer is the contact and manager of various interfaces that come together in a project.

In this interview he talks about some of his experiences as an engineer at Roche.

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Jochen, you work as the head of project controls in engineering. What do these terms mean and what are your main responsibilities?

Project controls are a range of services employed in project management. In engineering we develop investment projects such as new buildings and production facilities. These are investments amounting to more than CHF1 million and we manage them in project form.

The engineering division consists of various departments such as construction and building engineering, process engineering, qualification or project management. Our project managers and project controllers are responsible for ensuring that previously specified project goals, such as scheduled costs, deadlines and quality levels are adhered to. Good project control is characterized by its management skills. Which means all the resources required for the project must be deployed as purposefully as possible to prevent the fewest disruptions from occurring. Ultimately, this saves us time, money and worry. 

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Jochen Rewitzer, Head of Project Controls in Engineering, Roche Diagnostics GmbH, Mannheim.

After studying civil engineering, he worked among other things as a project manager in the building industry in the construction of turnkey projects, until he joined Roche as a project controller about four years ago. At present, Jochen is the head of the project controls department and will be appointed head of the construction services engineering department in the near future. 

What challenges do you have to face in your everyday work?

As we often manage very large projects, the challenge is to do live up to the ever-changing requirements that are imposed on projects. Of course, it sometimes happens that not everything goes according to plan. That’s when we have to respond quickly and develop new solutions, which may result in a possible realignment of the project.

What motivates you in your work?

The nice thing about engineering projects is that they always produce something tangible, whether it’s a new building or a complete production facility. You see your project grow physically, which is incredibly motivating. But more than anything, a project isn’t created singlehandedly but jointly with a first-class team. As such, we all pull together to achieve the planned objectives collectively. With the newly created production facilities and buildings, new products can be manufactured in turn, which will ultimately benefit people.

What was your most exciting project so far?

I always find very complex projects interesting. This is either due to new and innovative technology or to the stakeholders who are involved in the project. For example, the highly complex Modular Production Building project, on which I worked as a project controller myself, was very interesting indeed. In the process, a new building was constructed with integrated production facilities.

What fields does an engineer expect to work in at Roche, in engineering for example?

When new production facilities are built, all the experts in engineering are required, such as automators, architects, qualifiers, project controllers, etc. Our engineers have been outstandingly trained in their particular discipline. In addition, they are also always project managers, as we often engage in planning with external specialists, who have to be guided and managed.

What is so special about Roche?  

The engineering division may not be the direct or main focus of a health care company but we make the core business feasible. The healthcare industry is incredibly innovative and is always coming up with new technologies and products. Due to the diversity in the engineering field, we constantly have to deal with new challenges. Every project always requires a new approach, in terms of technology as well as methodology. I believe all this variety is unique and always creates enthusiasm for our work.

What can future engineers at Roche look forward to?

As well as a team with very motivated and highly qualified co-workers, he can expect an environment in which he can work self-reliantly and has a lot of freedom to be innovative. It’s important to us that we don’t always tackle things in a familiar way but we look for new solutions every time.

If you are interested in a position in project control, click here.

Tags: Germany, Career Blog