Heinz Sodeikat erstwhile ERTICO Chairman and Honorary Chairman of ITS Network Germany reflects back on past achievements… and future roles.

Do you consider yourself an “architect” of ERTICO?

Heinz Sodeikat: In a certain sense yes. At my time we worked out the basic structure of today’s ERTICO and during my following ERTICO chairmanship 1995-1998 we implemented  it. The excellent cooperation of the Board and the ERTICO management was a key factor to success. By the way during this period Supervisory Board meetings were full day meetings and were held almost every month. The amount of work was huge.

Was there a particularly exciting moment during your ERTICO career?

Heinz Sodeikat: In fact there was. When the Japanese Imperial Crown Prince Akishimo welcomed me Chairman of ERTICO at the occasion of the 2nd ITS World Congress Yokohama 1995 (see picture below).

One of the success stories during your ERTICO chairmanship was the ITS World Congress in Berlin1997 why?

Heinz Sodeikat: First of all the selection of the city. Promotion and advocacy was not as professional as today;it was based on the effort of dedicated people. I convinced the majority of the Supervisory Board members including  the French who voted  en bloc in favour of Berlin. By that time the Berlin authorities were fully engulfed in the German reunification problems and had almost no ear for an ITS world congress. But perseverance won and some modest support was obtained. In her opening speech the Swedish Minister of Transport Ines Uusman presented for the first time the revolutionary Zero Vision which meant not a single fatality in road transport. Her speech may be considered as one of the ignition sparks of the European Commission road safety initiative.

Thanks to the successful congress ERTICO achieved the necessary credibility and visibility to get a steep rise in membership. Membership has more than doubled since. Definitely this also consolidated ERTICO’s former precarious financial situation.

Attendees commended on your speech at the opening session of the ITS Congress what did you say?

Heinz SodeikatExcellent question! But I am convinced that people who commended on my speech did not remember a single word. They were just impressed by the fact that I not only welcomed as usual the dignitaries but also addressed the three European ITS World Congresses cities Paris Berlin and Turin in their native tongues French German and Italian.

During your chairmanship the Supervisory Board introduced the 3 year principle i.e. Board Members should not hold a position for more than 3 years. Was this the end of your ERTICO involvement?

Heinz Sodeikat: Not at all. I served for another 3 years as ERTICO President & Spokesman followed by a period of 3 years  as Adviser to the Board. This was beneficial for ERTICO. Board members had changed in the meantime and problems which had been solved in the past were put forward as new ones. Sometimes it was helpful to point out solutions adopted in the past and the reasons why.

Taking into account your ERTICO experience did you co-found and / or chair other ITS organisations? If yes what were the specific challenges?

Heinz Sodeikat: In 2001 I co-founded ITS Munich Germany the first German local ITS organisation and chaired it for seven years. The challenge was to give it a respectable profile and visibility with very little money and no active support from the public sector. Thanks to personal dedication and generous in-kind sponsoring of our members we succeeded within a few years.

In 2007 I co-founded on behalf of ITS Munich Germany the nationwide German ITS umbrella organisation ITS Network Germany and chaired it until October 2011. The challenge was to make it a living association since no companies but only member based organisations are liable to become a member of this German network. They are mainly local/regional German ITS organisations. This reflects the federal structure of Germany. This year’s ITS Forum Berlin raised ITS Network Germany to the indispensable degree of national importance and visibility.

How about ITS Nationals?
As co-founder of ITS Nationals on behalf of ITS Munich Germany in 2004 I put a lot of effort in giving advice to make it a success story. I think that the real value of ITS Nationals  is the unique possibility for SME’s and other organisations not represented in ERTICO to meet create partnerships and at the end of the day do business together. This goal is beginning to be reached.

Do you think ERTICO is a good benchmark for other ITS  organisations?

Heinz Sodeikat: It is the best benchmark I know! Furthermore I do consider ERTICO a well working integrated little Europe without any national boundaries. This is absolutely outstanding.

What are you intending to do next?

Heinz Sodeikat: Well after having served terms on European local and national level and having overcome all kinds of hindrances and obstacles I think  I’d better relax now and observe the evolution of the three ITS organisations  ERTICO ITS Munich Germany and ITS Network Germany. Speaking of ERTICO I am very pleased to see how solidly it is evolving and how professionally it is managed. Just continue! And if observation is not enough I could still to do some consultancy work for my own one man company AHS Management Consulting.

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Original Publication Date: Mon 17 Oct 2011