Schwing GmbH

About 20 miles west of Dortmund lies Herne, a dull working class town. It's not a very exciting bike ride getting here and the ensuing miserable reception at Schwing pretty much makes it a wasted trip.

Schwing manufacturers cement truck mixers, mixing plants and trucks mounted with pumps for pouring concrete. Founded in 1934 by Friedrich Wilhelm Schwing, it was this company which built the world's first cement truck mixer. Current CEO Gerhard Friedrich Schwing took over in 1980. So I guess it's fitting for company which makes these big macho machines to be located in a no-frills, industrial part of town.
The five-story head office building stands in front of what looks to be a large manufacturing plant in the rear. The security guard manning the entrance doesn't speak English and he quickly waves me through. The lobby isn't anything fancy but it lets visitors know they're visiting a company associated with construction. It's not the seven bushy plants in the lobby but, the seven toy trucks, four large rocks and cement mixer on display which give it away.

The secretary to CEO Gerhard Schwing is called and I get referred to John Keenan from Public Relations. I talk to Keenan via the lobby phone and the guy spends 10 minutes talking about how he hasn't time for me. I explain about the great distance traveled to get here and how this is a one-time visit but it doesn't stop Keenan from brushing me off. I then have the receptionist again call up Schwing's secretary and ask if there's someone else available to meet with me because Keenan says he's too busy. After a few minutes the receptionist informs me that Keenan will be down to speak with me. Boy, this should be interesting. Keenan soon arrives in the lobby and says he's on a deadline to finish a project he's working on and he hasn't any time for me. "Not even a quick 10 minutes?", I ask. "No", he answers. Jeez, I get a feeling this guy isn't going anywhere in the PR world. Then of course as if to make things complete it starts pouring rain as I ride off.