We recognize that strong communities are advantageous for growth and prosperity. Worldwide, our employees look for ways to give back, strengthen community programs and support worthwhile causes.
Editor’s Note: People Power is about recognizing our employees for their selfless service and dedication to being a part of something bigger than themselves by giving back to their communities. We are happy to highlight in this issue three examples of the passionate efforts of our employees and how they’re playing a role in making their communities a better place to live and work.
Duisburg’s Turbo Bikers Conquer Challenging Circuit to Raise Money for Local Charities
For the last eight years, the Turbo Bikers team at Siemens Duisburg, Germany location has participated in Europe’s largest non-stop 24-hour mountain bike race. Held in Duisburg, this annual event attracts approximately 2,400 cyclists. The winner is the team that bikes the most rounds; each round is 5.3 miles, or 8.5 kilometers.
In August, 450 teams (consisting of one to eight people) competed on the 262 foot (80 meter) elevation gain Landschaftspark Nord circuit. The Landschaftspark public park in Duisburg was designed in the early 1990s as a tribute to the area’s industrial past as a coal and steel production plant.
“You really need a mountain bike to conquer the track because there is no street and part of this circuit involves going through the old plant,” says Peter Bongartz, the Turbo Biker’s lead organizer responsible for Services Sales and Marketing for the Americas at Siemens. “And because we bike 24 hours non-stop – as many as 373 miles (600 km) per team – sleep is an elusive luxury for a while,” Bongartz added.
About six weeks prior to the race, the Turbo Bikers begin soliciting colleagues, friends and family for either a fixed donation or an agreement to pay a specific amount for each mile (km) biked – typically between one USD cent, or 0,01 euro and USD 1.65, or 1.50 euro per mile / km.
Last year, the Turbo Biker teams (two teams of eight and six teams of four) biked approximately 373 miles (600 km) in a 24-hour time period and raised nearly USD 15,400 (14,000 euros). Proceeds, including race entry fees, were donated to the Bunter Kreis organization that supports families with premature infants, disabled children and children with chronic illness or disabilities and the VKM organization that provides consultation, training and school inclusion services to people with handicaps.
“Since the team’s inception we have raised approximately USD 93,000 (85,500 euro) to help local organizations,” says Bongartz. “We are well aware that help is needed worldwide, but we choose to donate to organizations close to home and ensure that 100 percent of the donations go directly toward helping these children and their families.”
Further information and photos can be found at: www.turbo-biker.de.
Employees Ride to Raise Money for National Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Society
It began as a few D-R business employees from Houston’s Latin America Services team gathering informally after work to bike together a few times a month. By April 2015, this small team grew by word of mouth into an organized cycling team of 17 colleagues who signed up for the BP MS 150 in April 2015.
The BP MS 150 is a two-day fundraising bike ride organized by the National MS Society South Central Region. It is the largest of 100 bike events in the United States with 13,000 cyclists, 3,500 volunteers and countless spectators. The 180-mile ride begins in Houston and finishes in Austin, Texas.
In 2015, the first day of the race was cancelled due to heavy rain the week prior which flooded the campground at LaGrange where the teams were staying. Refusing to let the weather stop them, the D-R team rode to Fayetteville (close to LaGrange) on Saturday and then car-pooled back to Houston. On Sunday, the team car-pooled back to Fayetteville at 4:00 am to complete day two of the race.
This year, the MS Society raised approximately $20 million, of which the Dresser-Rand business team collected more than $12,000. Six D-R business employees volunteered their time to help make the event a success.
Reynaldo Guerra was failing math classes during his junior year of high school and was kicked off the basketball team as a result of his poor grades. Motivated by his desire to continue to play the game he loved, Guerra began working on his math skills just as intensely as he practiced basketball.
Before long, Guerra realized he actually enjoyed math.
Guerra graduated from the University of Houston’s (UH) Cullen College of Engineering in 2003 with a BSME degree. During his time there, Guerra was part of the Mexican American Engineers and Scientists (MAES) organization that coordinated fun, hands-on projects with K-12 students at Houston-area schools to inspire them to pursue degrees in STEM.
Following college graduation, Guerra and some of his former class mates formed Camp STEMovation, a nonprofit organization that brings science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics (STEAM) workshops and activities into Houston-area schools in low-income neighborhoods.
In March 2015, Camp STEMovation held a STEAM Extravaganza event at Rick Schneider Middle School where the students participated in hands-on, super hero-themed STEAM workshops. The workshop Guerra taught began by teaching students basic engineering principles. He then challenged the students to build super hero lairs using just strips of card stock paper and tape. The lairs were then subjected to three tests: Guerra dropped the lair to the floor; he then stood on the lair with one foot; and finally, he simultaneously dropped two large college-sized textbooks onto the lair.
Students were awarded points based on how well the lair survived all three tests, the aesthetics of the lairs and how many materials were used to build it. The student awarded the most points won science kits and a trophy.
“You can see the lightbulbs going off in their heads,” Guerra said of the students who partook in the event. Suddenly they go from having never even heard the word ‘engineering’ to this becoming an option for them.”
Source: University of Houston Cullen College of Engineering