Close to rocks


Klaus Hentschel - From tunneling to quarrying

In 2007, Klaus Hentschel began his Bachelor's degree in Georesources Management (GRM) in Aachen. Like many other students, Klaus came across the GRM degree program rather by chance. After graduating from high school, he first looked into the mechanical engineering program because it offered good career prospects. However, since he was particularly interested in the topics of raw materials and energy, the study programs "Georesources Management" in Aachen and "Energy Systems Engineering" in Clausthal remained on the shortlist. Partly because of the better connections, Klaus finally decided to study at RWTH Aachen.

In his Master's degree, Klaus switched to the Applied Geosciences (AGW) program, as the business and legal subjects in his Bachelor's degree seemed less interesting to him than the geoscientific subjects. Klaus wrote his Master's thesis in 2012 at the Chair of Engineering Geology and Hydrogeology with Prof. Azzam on the topic of sensor fusion in a wireless sensor network.

After graduation, Klaus started working for an engineering company initially as an intern in Aachen. After the two-month practical internship, he moved to the company's new headquarters in Weinheim, Baden-Württemberg, where he worked as an in-house geologist preparing geotechnical reports for a tunnel construction site abroad and assisting in various planning projects. Since 2014, Klaus has been assigned to tunnel construction sites in Stuttgart. For a short time, he also took over the supervision of a tunnel construction site in Tel Aviv. In the projects, he advised the client on the choice of driving classes and played a key role in technical coordination between the client, contractor and surveyors. He supervised the explorations and sampling of the excavations in the swellable rock, wrote reports and statements and took over the technical construction supervision of injections in the anhydrite.

In 2020, the opportunity arose to take up a position close to home as operations manager of a quarry in Steffenberg. The quarry supplies a stationary crushing and classifying plant for the production of high-grade chippings, which are mainly used in road construction. The group of companies utilizes the high-grade chippings in three of its own asphalt mixing plants. As plant manager, he is the person responsible for the quarry in accordance with the BBergG (German Mining Act) and manages the quarrying and operations in accordance with the operating plans and is responsible for safety and order in the plant. In day-to-day business, he is responsible for personnel planning, coordinating blasting operations, equipment deployment, maintenance and repairs. The drafting of applications in accordance with the Federal Immission Control Act (BImSchG) and the Federal Mining Act (BBergG) are also part of his duties, as are their implementation (e.g. construction measures, reforestation, nature conservation).

The specialist knowledge acquired in the course of studies was a good basis for the technical entry into the profession and the expansion of one's own knowledge and competencies. Especially the ability to understand geological reports, to compare them with the situation on site and to derive practical measures, e.g. from the fracturing of the rock, have often proved valuable. In the interdisciplinary environment of a construction site, geologists can fill an important gap. In current employment, moreover, the training and experience makes it easier to deal with the permitting authorities and to use the available expert opinions with regard to the structure of the deposit and the mining method. 

Klaus has fond memories of his student days: Aachen is a pleasant student city with an appropriate and compact infrastructure. The rural environment provides a good contrast to the city. Above all, he thinks of the good times he had with his fellow students. For the start into professional life, Klaus would recommend students to become aware of their own interests and priorities at an early stage in order to make decisions during their studies that are sustainable in the long term and do not turn out to be wrong within the probationary period.