50 jähriges Jubiläum
Speech of Günter Cordes on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of Ehlbeck & Cordes
Ladies and gentlemen,
being the senior manager and cofounder of this trading company that was founded 50 years ago I would like to cordially welcome you. I would like to thank the VR-Bank for their willingness to let us meet here.
In autumn 1956 my class and musician mate Manfred Ehlbeck and I decided to found a trade business in order to increase our monthly salary.
No one has waited for us when we founded it and it was a jump into cold water being an entrepreneur with little saved fund as well as an old FORD M 12 (already after a few deliveries the roof of the M 12 was dented). Also in 1957 forwarders were good business people and too expensive for young businessmen like us.
At the beginning the operational turnovers were made by many type of trades such as coffee from the province in middle America, timber from Scandinavia, furniture from international European markets, water-processing units from Lower Saxony for oversea’s markets, gemstones from Columbia, electrical machines from German origin, textiles and season items made of bast and straw from Hong Kong. These goods were traded as import, export and wholesale items.
According to the conditions at that time the business development was satisfying so that the company was commercially registered at the district court in Hamburg in 1959.
Due to family reasons Mr Ehlbeck had to withdraw in 1961 and the company Ehlbeck & Cordes was carried on solely on my weak shoulders.
Churchill has once said:" Some people regard private enterprise as a predatory tiger to be shot. Others look on it as a cow they can milk. Not enough people see it as a healthy horse, pulling a sturdy wagon."
Now the hackney was Günter Cordes.
The company Ehlbeck & Cordes was lucky. Either the employees were employed with us for 2-3 weeks but most of them for up to 20 years respectively until their retirement or even longer.
I may mention that my wife has been working as a proxy for Ehlback & Cordes for almost 43 years being the soul of the business and the mother of the company.
During these 50 years Ehlbeck & Cordes got to know and to appreciate a lot of employees. Our whole team has been working for us many years, some of them for 2 and 3 decades. The beamer shows you more of our employees. I would like to cordially thank all of them for their longterm friendly cooperation.
Our son Claus who has been a co-owner since January 1st, 2007 has also been working for us for one decade. The two brothers Jens and Claus support each other to solve special tasks.
Through her commitment our youngest daughter Susann - you recognize her as today´s photographer - has implemented several technical simplifications in our accounting. Our oldest daughter Margrit will tell you something personally later on.
A family business like Ehlbeck & Cordes stands for tradtion and the permanent willingness to break new grounds. In a variety of our business practices you recognize our efforts to keep up with globalization.
An entrepreneur needs an orientation and an objective for the team which are partly personal ideas or market conditions. Should the goals in a small family operated business not be clearly marked the own families, the employees as well as the customers and suppliers will notice it.
Often the public's image of an entrepreneur is negative and characterised by capitalism criticism. Unlike a family business is appreciated in several settings and can be regarded as a positive transmitter of the free market economy.
In general the family-run companies enjoy a high degree of reputation in the atmosphere of their work and are positively rated not only by their employees.
Our customer base which is established in trade reflects this by longterm business relationships with Ehlbeck & Cordes. In the timber trade we have customers with whom we have been dealing for 4 generations now.
In cooperation with the nationwide foreign trade export of wooden materials, timber and wooden finished produtcs as well as exportable furnishings have been and will be done.
A design department which was managed by our proxy enabled the whole trade and the export of complicated high-quality furnishings also in the medical area.
The according to the customer satisfying execution of these businesses was possible due to the close cooperation of my sons Jens Cordes who is a qualified carpenter and Claus Cordes who is a computer freak in cooperation with further craftsmen from Schenefeld.
Also in the premises of this VR-Bank our technical marks have been left. Until today we have not received a claim from the VR-Bank.
Our recent turnovers as an import and export trading agency have been characterised by longterm relationships with the Scandinavian countries, the Baltic region, Southeast Europe and the German saw and planing mills as well as the producers of wooden materials.
These connections to the established timber trade inter alia let us hope that the Hanseatic timber import and export trading company Ehlbeck & Cordes which is now managed by the MBA Claus Cordes may find it's successful position in the international market for many more decades. The whole family will still support Ehlbeck & Cordes.
For more than 47 years a membership with the trade association for trade brokerage and distribution (CDH) with their experienced lawyers has helped to solve a lot of legal problems and to navigate safely through stormy waters. Our thanks to the CDH Hamburg and Berlin.
Ladies and gentlemen - I wish you and your families a healthy, successful and happy year 2007 and thank you for your attendance.