“Nine-to-five” isn’t in Kevin Drieschner’s vocabulary. Engaged in community service since he was 14, the now 23-year-old SAP employee is combining that passion with software and social causes.
Although Kevin Drieschner’s most critical appointments never appear in his Outlook calendar and he sometimes arrives later than he would like to, his manager never ever complains about it. You see, Kevin is a volunteer fireman at the Walldorf Fire Department, only a few minutes from the company headquarters. When his personal alarm device sounds, you can observe Kevin dashing through the hallways and out the door to the next emergency.
In addition to his focus on helping people and saving lives in his free time, the 23-year old SAP employee is also probing ways to digitalize firefighting to optimize the rescue effort. Thanks to Kevin, when he and the other firemen converge on the firehouse, a monitor on the wall already shows the exact location and the fastest way to the emergency.
His creation helps his team save precious seconds and avoid potential errors. It could be a burning home or business or an automobile accident on a nearby Autobahn. The location finder at the firehouse is one result of Kevin’s combined engagement in software development and community service.
SAP and the fire department have both grown since the town became home to the company’s worldwide headquarters in 1977. So much so, that the story of the town is interwoven with the prosperity of the company over four decades. Indeed, many employees and their families have settled in close proximity to their workplace. Seven employees, including Kevin, are currently volunteer firefighters in Walldorf, and SAP is an official partner of the department. So when Kevin rushes out of a meeting to an emergency, he knows that he has the support of his manager and the entire company. On occasion, members of the SAP Board have even been known to pay a personal visit the firehouse.
All of this makes it that much easier for Kevin to balance his career with his passion for the fire department and community service. At 14 he joined the local fire company’s youth program, quickly learning the value of being part of a group with a common interest. “It is like a big family, and great to be a part of a team working together,” he says adding, “You need a team, you cannot do it alone.”
Kevin began working at SAP in 2011 as part of his work/study Bachelor curriculum in Business Information Technology. In October 2014 he joined SAP formally as a developer in procurement solutions for SAP S/4 HANA, the company’s next generation Business Suite based on the in-memory platform, SAP HANA.
During his short tenure, Kevin has already experienced the broad spectrum of opportunities SAP offers to its employees. While his core job involves helping simplify SAP’s solutions for customers by developing Fiori-based user interfaces, he is also a member of the Center of Expertise for Fiori Development and has the added responsibility for ensuring the security of the company’s procurement solutions.
As a so-called “early talent,” Kevin has already taken advantage of the opportunity to participate in a six-month fellowship with SAP’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) team. He was able to combine his passions for programming, soccer, and community service by organizing SAP-supported sports hackathons around the world (Kevin is also a soccer referee in the German amateur league). For the KickApp Cup, SAP employees and young soccer players/referees/coaches came together to improve the soccer experience in amateur soccer clubs and create IT solutions that harness the power of football for social change.
“The fellowship helped me improve my project management skills and expand my contacts and across all areas of the organization,” explains Kevin. He believes that every employee can profit from a fellowship by seeing and experiencing things that they can take back to their jobs. Kevin says he someday wants to serve on the board of a company.
Kevin approaches new experiences at work as he would approach a new situation with the fire department – as an opportunity to learn and expand his repertoire of abilities. Instead of fear, Kevin views new situations in terms of managed risk. “Being fireman has helped me to learn my own limits and help me work better together with others,” he adds.
And has he ever been taken to his personal limits? “Yes, when human life is at stake or children are involved,” he answers. But during such moments he thinks only about the task at hand and then simply puts his experience into action. Kevin is obviously the kind of person you want to have around you during emergencies, work-related or not.
The People Behind the Technology
// name: Kevin Drieschner
// job title: Web Developer
// team: Suite Engineering Procurement
// years at SAP: 4
// SAP lab: Walldorf, Germany
// passion: Helping people, applying software skills for social improvement
Video by Natalie Hauck and Alex Januschke, SAP Development University