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April 19, 2016

3 Min Read
Engel Group announces deaths of senior directors Irene and Georg Schwarz

Senior directors Irene and Georg Schwarz of the Engel Group, who together laid the foundations for the worldwide success of the Austrian injection molding machine manufacturer, have passed away within only a few days of each other at the ages of 86 and 88. For decades, they jointly managed the business; both followed the development of the company with great interest until the end.

Born in 1929, Irene Schwarz was involved with the company that her father, Ludwig Engel, founded in 1945, for over 70 years.  She worked at Engel from the very beginning, taking on the tasks of bookkeeper, financial director, controller and director of human resources, all at the same time. Her husband, Georg Schwarz, joined the company after their marriage in 1951.

After the sudden death of Ludwig Engel in 1965, Irene and Georg Schwarz took over the management of the company. Displaying courage combined with a remarkable nose for industrial trends and promising markets, they guided the company onto a path of growth that continues today. They expanded abroad, establishing foreign subsidiaries and opening two production plants in North America, while at the same time setting the course for the system solutions business in the 1980s with the development and production of the company's own robots.

They worked together well: Georg Schwarz had a passion for sales, but above for production. His aim was to build injection molding machines that would open up production possibilities that no one else could offer. He was a decisive factor in advancing the development of the first tie-bar-less injection molding machine worldwide. Thanks to continuous development and consequence in securing patents, the tie-bar-less technology has remained a unique selling proposition for Engel until today. Irene Schwarz was the one who understood how to connect entrepreneurial vision with the practical details. Economy and modesty were her guiding philosophy, and the financial security of the company was her top priority.

The couple transferred the daily management of the business to the third generation in 1997, but continued to remain actively involved in the business well beyond their 80th birthdays. At the start of the new millennium, they oversaw the step into Asia with the founding of the production plants in Korea and China, and when flooding destroyed the production facilities at the headquarters in Schwertberg in 2002, they also joined in actively tackling the task of rebuilding. They also played a part in the recent transition of the company's operating management to the fourth generation. 

Irene and Georg Schwarz were highly respected for their accomplishments in the plastics machinery industry. They received the Decoration of Honor in Gold from the government of Upper Austria for their contribution to the plastics industry and their exemplary service to the company and the region. Georg Schwarz was inducted into the Plastics Hall of Fame at the University of Massachusetts in Lowell, USA, in 2009, which is the highest honor awarded in the international plastics industry.  Irene Schwarz was appointed Honorary Senator of the University of Leoben in 2006, the first woman in the history of the university.

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