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interviewed in October 2022

Richard Kühnel Porträt

Dr Richard Kühnel studied mechanical engineering in Freiberg, specialising in processing machines, construction technology, extraction and special civil engineering machines. He completed his doctorate directly after graduating in 2015. His dissertation was written in cooperation with the company Köppern Aufbereitungstechnik in the field of dry processing of iron ore. After the end of the project, he worked for almost three years as plant manager at GEOMIN Erzgebirgische Kalkwerke in Hermsdorf and Pockau-Lengefeld. Dr Richard Kühnel is currently Technical Director of the Eastern group of companies (ard Baustoffwerke, GEOMIN, SH Natursteine).

Question: You studied in Freiberg. What made you decide to study at the Bergakademie? 
First and foremost, the proximity to my home town. But also the family environment, both for studying and student life - you always meet a familiar face in a Freiberg pub.

Question: What lasting memories do you associate with your time at the TU Bergakademie Freiberg? 

I should mention the legendary parties in the Neue Mensa
& the Freshers' Week(s). I also have fond memories of the solidarity among my fellow students, the community. Whether it was doing sports, tutorials or lectures, as well as the parties in the evening - everything is always more fun in a group than alone. The good infrastructure is also worth mentioning, for example the KITAS run by the student union helped me to build a family alongside my (doctoral) studies.

Question: When you look back on your studies with the knowledge you have today: is there anything you would do differently or what you would pay attention to?
I would choose Freiberg as a university location again. A decisive factor for success is a study group/community of fellow students - you can never worry about having a close circle of friends too early. I can only recommend this to everyone. Just like being open to new friendships right from the start. These still last to this day.

Question: What advice would you like to give current students in Freiberg? 
Be open to new things right from the start: lectures, friends and parties. There is no better time for the latter in particular. I would also like to advise you to take advantage of voluntary internships at university or in your professional environment. This will help you immensely later on when applying for jobs or in everyday practice. And another tip: opt for accommodation in a shared flat. You'll get to know new people and also gain acceptance in everyday life. There's no such thing as boredom here!

Question: What do you find particularly interesting about your current job?
The variety! I never get bored. I have new tasks every day, which also comes from looking after seven production sites. Sometimes I'm in open-cast mining, other times I go underground into a mine. Then there are processing sites with white marble or washed sand and gravel aggregates. And last but not least, we have an extensive fleet of mobile equipment that needs to be maintained and regularly modernised. Who else moves vehicles with 800 HP under the bonnet and up to 100 tonnes of steel and stone at the same time? The industry itself is also a "stone in the stone", because raw materials determine our entire everyday life. Be it the crockery at the breakfast table, any means of transport or even the roof over our heads. Raw materials are needed everywhere.

Question: Do you still have professional or private contacts with TU Bergakademie Freiberg today?
Of course. Both in a private and professional context. Be it the connection to former fellow students or to various research groups at the TU BAF or the use of services that are offered for our professional obligations at the university. We also maintain close links with students - we regularly offer student work, student traineeships and, on request, excursions.

Finally, tell us your motto in life?
True to the motto, anyone can quit, only the ambitious can keep going. With this in mind: keep going.