Arne joined IFOK in 2012. In his position as Senior Consultant he is responsible for projects with a focus on infrastructure and energy issues.
What brought you to IFOK?
A research project at the University of Hohenheim focusing on “Stuttgart 21”, the rail infrastructure project which was the subject of massive citizen protests, in fact. We analysed the mediation process being implemented by Heiner Geissler and examined how it changed the positions and the atmosphere between the advocates and critics of the Stuttgart 21 project. The city of Stuttgart at that time was a madhouse – but also fascinating. Out of all this I decided that I would like to accompany such issues in practice and not just from my desk. And that’s how I came to IFOK. My first major project was then the tunnel filter dialogue in Schwäbisch Gmünd – a genuinely unique project with, also in retrospect, an exciting outcome.
What did you do before IFOK?
I worked as a communications expert at the University of Hohenheim. Many years ago I also completed an apprenticeship as a logistics and freight forwarding manager, moving pallets through the city port of Essen. Then I embarked on the so-called “second-chance education system”, enabling me to build on my schooling and apprenticeship to graduate from high school and study at university.
What do you particularly like about your work at IFOK? What makes you happy?
It is incredibly varied and you are in the thick of highly political projects. There are some tough nuts to crack – and that almost every week! The best moments are when a dialogue round or event ends with reliable, constructive outcomes. It is good when our work helps break down barriers, thaw conflicts and enables people to move from entrenched positions.
Through which project did you learn the most?
The learning curve is always steepest at the beginning – so in my first project, the tunnel filter dialogue in the town of Schwäbisch Gmünd I mentioned. On behalf of the Federal Ministry for Education and Research we developed a participation process to a controversial road project in the town. It was tough – a conflict laden situation – but in the end we actually achieved a consensus. But one must also said: The variety of topics and different situations mean that in this job you never finish learning!
What spurns you on?
Good results and satisfied customers, nice colleagues and work which I can relate to.
And finally: What would you like to share with our applicants / prospective colleagues? What advice would you give them?
Anyone interested in current social and political issues, who is willing to learn something new every day and who is convinced that many a conflict would benefit from good communications – this is the place for them.