A Journey Through Innovation and Sustainability in Refrigeration Technology

Interview with Holger Eckert, CEO of Kälte Eckert GmbH

Kälte Eckert Headquarters in Markgröningen

In the complex structure of the corporate world, the story of Kälte Eckert GmbH tells of innovation, sustainability, and visionary leadership. From modest beginnings in the 1960s, the company has developed into a national technology leader in refrigeration and air conditioning technology. In an interview with Wirtschaftsforum, Holger Eckert, CEO, describes how striving to be a role model, especially in the field of natural refrigerants, has led to success.

Economic Forum: Mr. Eckert, can you guide us through the most significant milestones in the development of Eckert Refrigeration?

Holger Eckert: Our journey began in 1966, when my father, Horst Eckert, laid the foundation as a one-man operation. Over the years, we expanded our offerings, established a GmbH in 1986, and secured significant contracts from giants like IBM, Daimler, Mercedes, Lufthansa, and Novartis. In 1995, we established as an extended workbench of EM Polar led by my brother Michael Eckert in Czech Republic. Our early focus on natural refrigerants in the 1990s was a testament to our environmental responsibility.

Holger Eckert, CEO of Kälte Eckert GmbH
Holger Eckert, CEO of Kälte Eckert GmbH

Starting in 2000, my brother and I took over the management, and in 2017, the Kälte Eckert Group was established as a technological leader in Southern Germany. From 2022, we developed the idea and structure of a holding brand to be present as a technological leader throughout Germany.

Economic Forum: Behind every successful company are successful people. What does continuity and cooperation at Kälte Eckert look like?

Holger Eckert: At Kälte Eckert, we see continuity as one of the keys to our success. The 'successful' minds include not just those in management but all employees. From the beginning, we have focused on constant training and further education, with our own academy as the backbone. The vision of my father, supported by our mother Irmgard Eckert in accounting, forms the basis. We have not only impressive personalities in management but at all levels of the company. Openness, respect, and dedication are not just empty words for us but principles lived daily, which is also reflected outside of work in events like the Kälte Eckert Cup.

Cold Eckert Installation
In accordance with the company motto 'Naturally. Better. Together.' Cold Eckert aims for technical leadership in environmentally friendly natural refrigerants

Economic Forum: What are today's outstanding achievements of Kälte Eckert and what can we expect in the future?

Holger Eckert: While many providers can supply technically simple cooling and air conditioning systems, we always strive to be better. Not just technically, but also in the service mindset and in full service with sustainable after-sales support and the highest quality standards. Before we act, we first listen – to both the customer and our partners. In line with our motto ‘Naturally. Better. Together.’, we build highly efficient systems and are technology leaders in natural refrigerants. In the future, consulting services will become increasingly important, especially in the context of the new F-gases regulation. Full service for technically sophisticated systems, customer-specific solutions, and the further development of natural refrigerants are also focuses.

Economic Forum: What values does your company stand for?

Holger Eckert: Our corporate culture is characterized by trust, respect, curiosity, and joy in what we do. These values are not just guidelines but are lived daily. Our doors are always open to our employees and their concerns. We offer individual solutions, focus on inclusion, flexible working models, and promote employees through training and career opportunities. Our commitment to social projects and environmental protection also reflects our values.

Eckert Refrigeration Plant
Eckert Refrigeration plans and installs refrigeration systems of any size and with various technologies
Eckert Cooling System
The strength of Eckert Cooling lies in the realization of both economical and environmentally friendly systems through the use of natural and environmentally friendly refrigerants

Economic Forum: What main topics characterize the coming years and what goals do you want to achieve?

Holger Eckert: The coming years will be marked by growth, integration of new companies, the F-gases regulation, and the accelerated digital transformation. The focus is on knowledge transfer and ensuring uniform technological standards within the corporate group. The goal is to be the reference and competence center for natural refrigerants, to establish Kälte Eckert as a leading brand in this area, and to become a role model for the industry.

Economic Forum: What personally motivates you?

Holger Eckert: Perhaps a certain gratitude for the opportunities that this role as managing director in our company offers me. Being an active 'doer' and driving the growth of the group are personal concerns. It's not just about leading a company, but about shaping the industry as environmentally friendly as possible - for the next generations.