Next up in our Meet the team blog series, we feature our Chief Technical Officer, Bernd Engist. Bernd is based in Switzerland, the home of Avantra. He has been a key part of Avantra for over 21 years. Read on to know more about Bernd.
Apart from being a seasoned technocrat, Bernd is also a sommelier and a music aficionado. Calm in his demeanor and quick on his wit, Bernd leads a team of passionate engineers and designers who contribute to the technological prowess of Avantra.
What's one professional skill you're currently working on?
I am working on the skill of balancing priorities. In the business of technology you are continually expected to factor in business and customer expectations while ensuring that the product you deliver is robust, resilient and properly tested. In the case of Avantra, as the product grows and its capabilities become more complex, especially the highly valued automations for SAP, the more important it becomes for us to make sure that it works under different environments while factoring in the inputs from the customer and internal teams. To balance this out is a challenge, so that in the end everyone is satisfied. Join my Avantra Summit session to learn more about the future of automation.
What's your go to productivity trick?
I rely on the "focus time" approach, which means turning off notifications to focus on a task. Otherwise, one does what I call "event driven work”, which is neither satisfying nor productive. This approach has helped me in my professional life and I would urge everyone to try it to see its benefits.
As I like to say, “Turn off distractions to turn on focus”.
What's one thing that surprised you about working at Avantra?
I have been with Avantra for over 21 years. When I look back, I am pleasantly surprised to see how far we have come. The journey has been full of highs and lows, but I still get surprised to recount how fast we grew and accelerated after getting new investors on board.
What would we most likely find you doing on the weekend?
I am an electrical engineer and love to see IT and electronics working together. On a weekend, I like to spend some time on my IT or home automation projects. I also love the outdoors and like spending time with my family, so weekends are usually a time for me to play some sport or watch my children’s football or basketball game. I also try to cook or dabble in some baking.
What is your hidden talent?
I know how to cultivate a vineyard and I am the proud owner of a vineyard in my native village. However, I have no time to cultivate it on my own right now. But I am reading as much as I can to perfect the art of viticulture.
What's your favorite music genre and artist - the one you've been listening to on repeat?
I like romantic classical music, and nordic jazz music. I do not have a favorite artist(s) because I think I like stuff from so many artists that I can’t choose one. But the classical piece I listen to the most is the Lohengrin overture by Wagner, and the jazz piece that I play on repeat is “March” , from the Norwegian jazz trumpet player Mathias Eick.
What's the best advice you were ever given?
I consider myself lucky to be surrounded by good advisors all my life. Their advice has helped me to improve my own social skills. I believe that seeking advice and then imbibing it properly is a true quality. The one advice that I always remember and truly live by is: "First seek to understand, before you want to be understood". Simple words, yet powerful, just like a line of code.