How Everything Began: Our Founder, Doctor of Engineering Georg Spinner
As a child, Georg Spinner already had the desire to create things. He built his first radio at the young age of 11, and in his final year of secondary school presented an oscillograph he had assembled himself to his physics class. That was in 1939, on the eve of World War II. After the war Georg spent a year working for Rohde & Schwarz before enrolling to study electrical engineering at the Technical University of Munich in 1946.
Designing and creating new things and setting milestones: that was his major passion. Georg consistently fascinated others with the swiftness with which he was able to turn an idea into production-ready products. The basis for this was his encyclopedic knowledge of physics, radio-frequency technology, biomechanics, and state-of-the-art production technologies, backed by considerable hands-on experience.
During his first quarter at the Technical University of Munich, Georg founded his own company “Funktechnisches Büro” to pay for his studies.
1948 Georg developed Germany’s first postwar directional radio in Germany using unmanned relay stations, as Prof. Heinz Hölter later recounted at the ceremony for bestowing the Diesel Medal on Dr. Georg Spinner in 1993. The German Institute for Invention grants this distinction to outstanding inventors, pioneers, and discoverers in the fields of natural sciences and technology.
In 1949 Georg passed his final exams in electrical engineering with honors. From a very young age, he had been fascinated by radio-frequency technology. He was encouraged by his mentor, Prof. Meinke – and wound up devoting his entire life to this field. Dr. Spinner later founded a new award in his teacher’s honor that continues to be handed out each year for outstanding dissertations and scientific work at Munich Technical University.
In 1952, his company built and occupied its first factory hall in Linprunstrasse in Munich. By the mid-1950s, its staff had expanded to around 80. The business steadily grew and prospered, thanks to having Georg as its talented director and his wife Erika in charge of the multifaceted commercial side of the business.
In 1959 the company moved to a new factory complex in nearby Erzgiessereistrasse. Just a few years later, in 1963, Georg completed his doctorate in engineering, also with Prof. Meinke.
The steadily growing company soon outgrow its accommodations, making yet another expansion necessary. A new facility was therefore founded in the town of Westerham south of Munich. Additional construction projects in 1970, 1978, and 1985 enlarged it to its present size.
In 1990 SPINNER acquired Koaxialtechnik Lauenstein in Saxony, previously the “Dorfhain Nationally Owned Enterprise for Electronic Components” following lengthy negotiations with the Treuhandanstalt (“Trust Agency”) created by the government of the German Democratic Republic to (re-)privatize East German enterprises prior to German reunification. Dr. Spinner was so excited by the expertise and motivation of its staff that just a few months later today’s SPINNER Lauenstein plant was launched.
Dr. Spinner was honored by the Diesel Medal in Gold, the highest distinction that a German engineer can receive. The Diesel Medal – founded in 1953 by Eugen Diesel, the son of Rudolf Diesel – is bestowed on individuals and institutions for noteworthy achievements such as inventions and innovations. This accolade made him particularly proud, since it had previously only been conferred on about 200 other engineers. His long career as an outstanding inventor was also documented by around 250 patents and other achievements.
He also received the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany 1st Class, the Bavarian State Metal, which is bestowed for special achievements in a field of political, economic, cultural, intellectual or honorary endeavor, and other awards. Through it all, however, he always remained modest and true to himself.
Dr. Spinner devoted a great deal of his time to standardization work. Among other things, he spent roughly a decade as the secretary of the international standardization committee of the International Electrotechnical Commission for 46D RF connectors, was a founding member of the CECC, and cofounded and chaired Working Group 22 and DIN NEA 412.4. Dr. Spinner also spent many years heading the advisory council of Messe München, and was a founding member of Electronica, one of the world’s leading tradeshows.
Dr. Spinner spent 45 years working and living in and with the company, supporting and advising it right up until the end of his life. He passed away in 1996 just before the company’s 50th anniversary. Throughout his career, he was consistently available to advise and support his employees. His confidence in and close relationships with staff imbued him with authentic authority. Dr. Spinner was especially passionate about supporting trainees; since launching its vocational training program, the company has trained some 800 young people as specialists and hosted over 200 interns.
Der Firmengründer: Dr. Georg Spinner
Dr. Georg Spinner spricht auf der ELECTRONICA 86 in München. Er war Mitgründer der Messe im Jahre 1978 – heute eine der wichtigsten Fachmessen der Welt.
Dr.-Ing. Georg Spinner erhält das Bundesverdienstkreuz 1. Klasse. Links seine Frau Erika.
The 2nd Generation:
Stephanie Spinner-König, the older of Dr. Georg Spinner’s two daughters, took the company’s reins in 1990.
She was born in 1950. And since the family’s home and business occupied the same building, she literally grew up in the company.
In 1975, after completing a university degree in business administration and a one-year internship at Rohde & Schwarz, Stephanie went to work for the family company full-time.
In 1990, Dr. Spinner turned the role of CEO over to her. From then on, she piloted SPINNER GmbH with support from Dr.-Ing. Franz Pitschi and Ingo Schilling, two loyal employees in management roles who had already spent many years actively driving the company’s growth and expansion.
It was under Ms. Spinner-König’s leadership that SPINNER burgeoned into a globally active enterprise. Around the turn of the millennium, she inaugurated new manufacturing plants in Germany and elsewhere and opened a large number of sales offices in strategically important countries.
Ms. Spinner-König was awarded the Order of Merit of the state of Saxony on March 25, 2002. In 1991, as managing partner of SPINNER GmbH, she had acquired an electronic component factory in the town of Lauenstein from the Treuhandanstalt, the agency established by the East German government to reprivatize enterprises prior to German reunification. From the start, SPINNER Lauenstein had its own development and production operations and provided job security for a sizeable workforce in what was then an economically depressed area near the former inter-German border. From the start, Ms. Spinner-König involved local staff in planning and developing the operation, thus contributing to Germany’s reunification process.
In 2004, Stephanie was honored with the “State Medal for Special Services to the Bavarian Economy”.
For rendering outstanding services to the Bavarian constitution, Stephanie was awarded the Bavarian Constitution Medal in Silver. The president of the Bavarian Parliament presented this accolade to her in a special ceremony on December 1, 2011. It is conferred on a maximum of 50 persons each year.
A few weeks later, she also received the Citizens’ Medal of the town of Feldkirchen-Westerham within the scope of a New Year reception.
In 2018 Ms. Spinner-König switched from active management to the role of supervisory board chair.
In addition to her successful business activities in her own company, Stephanie Spinner-König took on other roles and is still involved in various business bodies today:
- Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Munich and Upper Bavaria: VP, Chair of the Foreign Trade Committee, member of the Industry and Innovation Committee, and Supervisory Board Chair for the chamber’s vocational training organization
- German Electrical and Electronic Manufacturers’ Association (ZVEI): member of the Executive Board and head of the Bavarian State Office
- Association of the Bavarian Economy (vbw): Vice President
- Munich University of Applied Sciences: Member of the Executive Board of the university’s Association of Friends; she has also played a major role in improving the university’s collaboration with the business sector
Stephanie Spinner-König led SPINNER as a member of the family’s second generation.
Stephanie Spinner-König receives the State Medal for Special Services to the Bavarian Economy in 2004
The 3rd Generation: Katharina König
In 2010 Stephanie Spinner-König’s daughter, Katharina König, took over the role of CEO. Since then, she has headed the company as a member of the family’s third generation.
After completing an MBA while focusing on strategic management and marketing, she entered the company’s marketing and corporate evolution departments in 2004.
In 2010, Ms. König joined top management and ran the company together with her mother until Ms. Spinner-König switched to the role of supervisory board chair in 2018.
At the same time, Torsten Smyk, who had spent many years successfully piloting the company’s subsidiary in China, returned to Munich to take a role on the executive board alongside Ms. König.
Mr. Smyk concentrates on strategically aligning the company and driving the further development of its business activities. After completing a degree in mechanical engineering, he launched his international career at Thyssen Henschel. In 2000 he switched to SPINNER, and ever since has been the managing director of the company’s production and sales organization in China, SPINNER Telecommunication Devices (Shanghai) Co., Ltd., a role that he also continues to play.
Katharina König has led the company since 2010.