Two Anniversaries, One Success Story
KIRCHHOFF Automotive in Portugal’s plants in Ovar and Cucujães celebrated their 60th anniversary and 30 years of affiliation with KIRCHHOFF Automotive.
Time to celebrate
About 400 employees and 900 family members came to the event with their families to celebrate in summer weather, with good food and accompanied by great music and activities. On the agenda were: speeches by the Kirchhoff family and managing directors, an Excellence Award and jubilee ceremony, a “moment of talent” with a special performance by colleague Eugénio Leite (tooling technician in Ovar) who sang some songs such as the hymn of Ovar, a raffle for five KONECT program gift baskets, and a birthday cake and performance of the Tribal Samba School. On 20 tables, food and drinks were served, prepared, decorated, and managed by our employees from different departments.
"We’re thankful for being here with everyone, for wearing the KA jersey with pride, and above all, enjoying the day. The day is 100% for you!" said managing directors Hugo Ferreira and Armindo Jales.
Arndt G. Kirchhoff, chairman of the advisory board of the KIRCHHOFF Group said, “We are really happy and proud that we can be with you, my brother Wolfgang, our wives, and a big team from Germany that was able to celebrate with you. Thank you all for your day to day effort, attitude, and cooperation. We are really happy that you are here today with your families.“
CEO J. Wolfgang added, "I‘m also really happy to be here with you and really grateful that I could see the great operations that you are running here in Portugal. At the end of the day, you made it happen like a team. We have the latest technologies here in Portugal such as transfer presses, hot forming, and all kinds of latest joining technologies, such as laser welding. You are at the top of the technologies. Even better is how you are running these technologies. So once again, a big, big thank you!“
This success story began in 1963, when there was no automotive industry in Portugal. A group of Portuguese industrialists from the light metal construction sector then decided to set up a company for the production of forming tools and founded Gametal - Metalúrgica da Gandarinha, Lda on June 12, 1963. From the 1970s onwards, the company expanded its product range and also manufactured forming parts for the automotive industry.
The importance of a name
The Portuguese plants have now been part of KIRCHHOFF Automotive for 30 years - but they have only been allowed to call themselves that since 2014. While every new plant has had the word KIRCHHOFF in its name from the very beginning, the Portuguese plants were denied this until 2014. "When the international expansion of the KIRCHHOFF Group began with the acquisition of Gametal - Metalúrgica da Gandarinha, Lda, there was already a Portuguese company called "Kirchhoff Electric Repairs." According to Portuguese law, two companies cannot have the same name," explain Armindo Jales and Hugo Ferreira. "The other company then got into financial difficulties, and after some discussions we were allowed to call ourselves 100% KIRCHHOFF Automotive as of December 19, 2014."
Thanks for many years of employment
The longest-serving employee at the Portuguese plant is Jorge Ribeiro with 20 years. He was specially honored as part of the celebrations. “Congratulations and thank you for all the dedication year after year!” said the managing directors.
One of the highlights was the Excellence Award 2022 ceremony. The following employees were distinguished: Cristiano Andrade from the tool shop in Cucujães, Joana Araujo from the accounting department in Ovar, José Valente from the metrology department in Ovar, and Rosa Pinho from the welding department in Ovar. "We appreciate the effort, commitment, responsibility, ambition, and particularly, the remarkable dedication to the common goal of all of us – organizational success! We address to the nominated colleagues, their teams, and their leaders, the most sincere congratulations for the distinction received!" said the HR team.
A commemorative publication on the anniversary of the Portuguese sites can be found here: https://www.kirchhoff-automotive.com/de/medien/downloads