Inquired – Interview with André Reichow-Prehn,
Head of Cyber Programs Department at
Rheinmetall Electronics GmbH in Bremen.
Whom do you look for? What do you expect from new members of your team?
I look for engineers, technicians, and software developers who bring experience and, above all, huge interest in every topic related to IT and information security. On my team, I need outstanding talent who can develop secure software quickly, professionally, and efficiently, but who can also find gaps in existing software and devise solutions to them. I need technicians who can read networks, that is, analyze them and locate weaknesses – and who possess the skills to eliminate them. Anyone who can produce these results and also explain them to demanding customers and who has an unconditional willingness to travel should fill out an application.
Furthermore, I am looking for staff members who can prepare and edit research papers like studies and IT security plans in English and German. In short, I am looking for hackers in every sense of the word: people who want to understand technology from the ground up and make it better.
I expect members of my team to work hard, take responsibility, and produce results. That is because we are primarily involved in important projects for law enforcement and military forces around the world. Our team is growing, but each person on it is expressly expected to handle tasks outside their comfort zone. Performance is measured by results.
When you consider your area of responsibility, what makes the cyber department especially interesting to potential applicants?
Because the issues we work on and the customers we work for are confidential, I can only say that we develop products and execute projects in an amazingly exciting environment. Our customers include law enforcement authorities, military, and the industrial sector.
Among other things, we develop a network security product based on a concept that has, thus far, only been published as part of basic research. Our partners are renowned leaders in the field of information security. Our department in particular is very close to start-ups from the industry. We provide those companies with the opportunity to bring their ideas to market.
What fascinating challenges and projects do you expect for 2019?
In 2019, we will further expand our market position. We have major tasks ahead of us: studies, security plans, and product developments. To name one example, we are hoping to present one of our ideas to the Agency for Disruptive Innovation in the Field of Cybersecurity – ADIC for short – in the coming year.
How would you describe Bremen as a place to live and work? What makes the location especially attractive?
Above all, Bremen is historically interesting. I advise everybody interested in the history of defense technology to examine the history of Rheinmetall Electronics in Bremen and the companies that came before it. The site in Bremen is where the development of electronics for Rheinmetall’s Defence Division is concentrated. Even though my life revolves around Lüneburg, I find that the historic old town in Bremen is always worth seeing again.
Please introduce yourself. How long have you been working for the Rheinmetall Group, and what path has your career taken?
My name is André Reichow-Prehn. I am 39 years old, married, and have two children. I live in Lüneburg. I hold a Master’s degree in engineering, I am a trained computer scientist, and I have a business degree.
I have been with Rheinmetall since 2013. I started as a project manager in live simulation and spent several years there overseeing acquisition for two major projects in the MENA region. We landed contracts for both projects in 2016. That same year, I changed positions, becoming project manager in the IT Communications Division, now called Cyber Solutions. There, I took over a major project in the Arabian region and made progress expanding Rheinmetall’s new Cyber Solutions business section. Since late last year, I have been head of the ‘Programme Cyber’ department.
How has Rheinmetall supported you personally in your career development?
I was already a manager before I joined Rheinmetall and was allowed to assume responsibility for major projects from the very beginning. From the outset, I was given the chance to earn certification as an internationally recognized senior project manager, IPMA Level B.
There are many opportunities for professional development at Rheinmetall. They make it possible for people to specialize in areas that they are especially good at and to prepare to take on management positions. The Rheinmetall Academy offers many courses to support these career paths.
In 2015, the Rheinmetall group offered every employee the chance to submit innovative business ideas and develop a business case as part of its Intrapreneur awards. That opportunity ultimately proved to be a milestone for me because it put me in contact with my current department, where I have been able to contribute and realize my ideas since that time.
How would you describe your approach to work? What makes you tick, and what do you love about your job?
You can describe my approach to work with a start-up’s motto of “move fast and break things.” I burn for topics that I can drive forward, and I love to turn things into reality. I can deal with risky and difficult projects as well as handle demanding customers quite well.
Projects in the MENA region have a special attraction for me because I find the culture in that region extremely exciting. I like the fact that, at Rheinmetall thus far, I have always been given the leeway I need when I have successes to show for it.
I find the ability to take responsibility very important. The same goes for the ability to make decisions, even you have to do so with a high degree of uncertainty. I like that I have met a lot of interesting people over the past several years and that the issues I have worked on were always exciting. There is also a certain attraction in constantly facing major challenges.