Company & Culture - Apr 20, 2021

Everything but ordinary – From financial services to beekeeping.

Stefan Tensing has been working as head of the treasury and insurance department at Bechtle Gaildorf for eight years, but Bechtle also has a role to play in his personal life. It was around five years ago that his employer introduced him to his new hobby—beekeeping. His passion to do everything he can to prevent bees from dying out makes him a person who is anything but ordinary. We sat down with Stefan to find out a bit more about more about both aspects of his life.

Stefan, what can you tell us about your job as head of the treasury and insurance department?

Stefan Tensing: In my position, I’m responsible for group-wide cash and liquidity management as well as for taking out and managing insurance policies. The aim is to ensure the company’s liquidity. Reasons for financing could be, for example, acquiring companies and for real estate purchases, but green finance has really taken off in the last few years.

How and when did your Bechtle career start?

I was on a bike tour when I noticed the Bechtle building in Gaildorf. When I got home, I immediately did some digging into the company and was lucky enough to find a position in the treasury and insurance department. I applied and I’ve been at the company for eight years now.

What makes your job unique?

First of all, the job is unique because I play a central role and there’s only one of me in the entire Bechtle Group. I also have a lot of freedom and responsibility in a wide range of tasks, but it’s the diversity of the work that makes the job so interesting. Whether it’s foreign currency transactions, financial reporting, property financing or new cash management systems, there are always new challenges and technologies for me to get my teeth into.

You discovered beekeeping five years ago. How did that come about?

Although there isn’t an obvious connection, it was the job that got me interested in beekeeping. As part of the Bechtle Group’s sustainability strategy, it was my job to take care of the beehives located at the Gaildorf site. From the very start as a colleague and I set up the hives, I wanted to know more about them.

As fate would have it, a short time later at a fest back home, I won half a hive, but I discovered from more experienced beekeepers that this alone wasn’t viable. They very kindly helped my hive get through its first winter and in the spring, I signed up to a beekeeping course. Since then, my small hive has multiplied and I know have a total of 10, which equates to between 5,000 - 10,000 bees per hive depending on the season.

What are a beekeeper’s tasks?

That depends on the time of year. The season starts in August when I have to feed my bees sugar water. I also have to treat them for the Varroa mite otherwise they could be at risk of dying out. The hives are then left in peace until December, and then from January to April, they are fed and treated once again. From April on, I check the hives every seven to ten days to try and prevent the colonies from swarming, which happens when the queen leaves the hive. At the end of July, I can start collecting the honey. 

Beekeepers are challenged with preventing bees from dying out and, even those who do it as a hobby need to be aware of that and have someone experienced on hand to help you carry out the work required correctly.

Have you been faced with any particularly challenging situations?

When I first started, I noticed that the queen bee was swarming while I was at work. As a beekeeper, it’s my job to prevent swarming because if I lose the bees, they’ll die. That meant the queen needed to be caught as quickly as possible. That’s not really possible by yourself, so I asked a colleague for help and out we went, suited and booted, and climbed up a tree to catch the swarm. It wasn’t easy, but together we managed to pull it off.

Do you sell your honey? If so, do you have some regular customers?

Well first off, my own consumption has increased quite a bit, but I sell honey to my friends and acquaintances and also to colleagues at Bechtle Gaildorf. I’ve managed to harvest a large amount of honey from the ten hives this year, so I’m planning to sell that at the Neckarsulm site as well.

If you could wish for anything in the world, what would it be?

My wish for my bees is that they get through the winter unscathed again.

Thank you, Stefan, for giving us such an interesting look behind the scenes of your work and your hobby.

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This post was published on Apr 20, 2021.