The sound of metal

At his day job, he ensures that medium-wide steel strip coils are always ready for loading in Hagen. But when Konrad “Bobby” Schottkowski goes on tour with his band, the world-famous heavy metal drummer shows the audience what thrash is really all about.

Actually I wound up at Hoesch Hohenlimburg by chance. I finished my vocational diploma in Dortmund in the mid-1980s, and I was looking for a summer job to earn a little cash. I was lucky. They hired me in shipping in Hagen right away. I figured I would just temp there for a while and see what would come next. But then I said to myself, “Why not stick around for a bit?” And, well, I’m still here today, 31 years later. Still in the same department, too. In shipping. What can I say? I really love my job.

I started out as a simple loader. Today, I’m a foreman responsible for 50 employees – those two jobs are obviously worlds apart. My job requires responsibility, and it offers a lot of variety. Every day is different. Still, everything has to run smoothly, in the truest sense of the word, and that’s my responsibility. I’m a fast thinker, and I’m good at
getting things done in a practical way. But I get out a lot, too. I’m in constant contact with the employees. You might say I have the last word before our material leaves the plant on trains or trucks.

"I operate best when I’m challenged, focused, and get along well with my coworkers."

KONRAD SCHOTTKOWSKI, foreman at thyssenkrupp Hoesch Hohenlimburg

Laid-back, but demanding

Everyone knows my expectations: All our products have to be flawless, in terms of both quality and safety, when they’re shipped out to the customer. I’m a laid-back guy. I’m always willing to listen, and I’m usually pretty understanding when there’s an issue. But when it comes to safety, I’m really no-nonsense. I want all my coworkers to get home in one piece every night, and I don’t want anyone on the street getting hit by a coil rolling off a truck, either – that would be unacceptable.

I spend at least half of my work day at the computer – coordinating, verifying, and organizing are all important parts of my job. At the moment, I’m a key user for the
implementation of SAP in our department, and I’m ­responsible for training my employees. I was destined for this kind of work, though. I’ve always been kind of a
nerd at heart. I mean, I enjoy reading books and newspapers, but working with computers is something that I really love. This is also tied to my hobby, because computers provide musicians with unlimited possibilities for composition and arrangement.

Drumming has been my passion since I was 13 years old. I spend all of my free time pursuing that passion, and I’ve been a metalhead since the early days of the scene. I’m self-taught, so I worked hard for my success, and I’m pretty well known in the metal world. I’ve played with a lot of famous bands in the genre, and I’ve performed around the world. At the moment, I’m the drummer for the British band Tank.

A real team player

I’ve always saved up all my yearly vacation days for my live tours; I’ve been around the world at least five times on tour, and I’ve seen so many incredible things that have had a real impact on me. I’ve played Wacken, 70,000 Tons of Metal, and shows for thousands of fans in South America, New Zealand, Japan, Europe – that’s what my life outside of work is all about. I operate best when I’m challenged, focused, and get along well with my coworkers; that’s true on the stage and at work. I’m a real team player. Good communication and networking are important to me. If I have those things, I’m not easily rattled.

It’s true that I sometimes live in two different worlds – my work, and my music. But that’s what defines me. The discipline and normalcy of the working world keep me grounded, while music inspires me. I wouldn’t want to do without either one.